111th Commencement

Students at the 111th Commencement

Welcome to Rice University’s 111th Commencement.

I am Reginald DesRoches, president of Rice University. Many of you in cap and gown know me as “Reggie.”

To begin, I want to thank the many people here tonight who have helped our graduates reach this monumental point in their lives.

Graduates, during your time at Rice, our faculty and our staff have dedicated themselves to nurturing the potential in each of you, and I want to take this moment to thank them for their continuous support and encouragement

Your accomplishments are also due, in part, to the dedication, to the loving encouragement, and to the extraordinary support of your family members and friends who have championed you. Many of them are likely here today.

To thank them for their support, I would like for all of our graduating students to rise — if you are able — and acknowledge what others have done for you.

Students at the 111th Commencement

I will forever have a special connection to this class, the Class of 2024. While you were starting as freshmen at Rice, I was starting as your new provost and chief academic officer. You started pursuing your Rice degree during a pandemic that shook the way we and the world operated; you undoubtedly were robbed of precious moments to engage in person with others on campus. You also have been at Rice during an unbelievable time of transition. New leadership; new ways of teaching and learning born out of the pandemic; new buildings, and yes a new Academic Quad. This class is the first to see the new space, which you did a few minutes ago. You were also in college during what many consider the most complicated time in modern history.

Yet, here you are today, more resilient and adaptive than ever and ready to face life with the firsthand knowledge that change and challenges are not meant to be feared but to be hurdled and overcome.

So as you stand on the brink of a new chapter in your lives, it’s important to reflect not just on the academic knowledge you’ve gained from your Rice degree but also on the profound lessons you’ve learned beyond the textbooks and outside of the lecture halls.

Throughout your time here, you’ve embarked on a journey far greater than simply acquiring knowledge; you’ve learned invaluable lessons about life itself and hopefully about yourself.

You’ve encountered a myriad of situations that have tested your resolve, set you back, challenged your perceptions and pushed you beyond your comfort zones. Whether it was tackling a difficult assignment, navigating through personal struggles or grappling with uncertainty, each hurdle has been a lesson in resilience, adaptability and perseverance.

You also have been exposed to a rich tapestry of cultures, perspectives, experiences, backgrounds and beliefs. You’ve had the privilege of interacting with people from all walks of life, broadening your understanding of the world and fostering empathy and compassion. It is my hope that these experiences have shown you the value of inclusivity, respect and the power of dialogue in bridging divides and fostering meaningful connections.

As you step out into the world beyond these familiar walls, I challenge you to cherish these lessons and never stop learning, never stop growing, never underestimate the power that you have to change the world. And, don’t forget the importance of being respectful to others and grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given.

Student at the 111th Commencement

All of us at Rice are thrilled to be a part of your celebration. We applaud your persistence, your incredible talent, your achievements and your aspirations. I know that I speak for my fellow faculty and staff when saying that you inspire us and give us hope.

We share our best wishes as you embark upon what lies ahead, and we hope it will bring you back to this campus many times.

Remember, Owls are never alone. Our more than 64,000 living alumni around the world are now a part of your extended family. Like you, they share immense pride in Rice and the accomplishments of all its graduates — you now included.

We look forward to welcoming you when you return, and we say, to the great Class of 2024, congratulations! May your future be filled with success, fulfillment and an unwavering commitment to making a positive difference in the world.

Campus Location

Allen Center, Suite 440
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

Mailing Address

Office of the President–MS 1
Rice University
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892

Contact Information