Rice University has named Reginald DesRoches as the first African American Provost in its 107 years history.

On Friday, the University announced the appointment of DesRoches, who has been the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering since 2017.

DesRoches is an expert on earthquake resilience and a well-known figure in the black community nationwide.

“Serving as dean of engineering for the past 2 1/2 years has been among the most rewarding times in my career,” he said.

“It is an absolute privilege to serve as the next provost and I look forward to working with President (David) Leebron, the faculty and staff to enhance the university’s stellar reputation.”

During his tenure as the dean, he worked on various inter-university collaborations and expanded the engineering faculty by nearly 20 percent. He is also credited for establishing a Master of Computer Science online program and leading several international initiatives in China and India to bolster research and recruiting efforts.

“He is an accomplished scholar and a proven academic leader. During his years as dean of engineering at Rice, he has demonstrated in numerous ways that he shares the high aspirations and values of the university,” Rice President David Leebron said.

DesRoches is the recipient of various awards that includes Distinguished Arnold Kerr Lecturer Award in 2019, the John A. Blume Distinguished Lecturer award in 2018 and the 2018 Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Distinguished Lecturer Award among others.

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