The First African American Provost at Rice University in Houston, Texas

Reginald DesRoches was appointed provost at Rice University in Houston Texas. He is the first African American to serve in this post.

William Marsh Rice was an oil and cotton tycoon, who when he died was said to be the richest man in Texas. He left the bulk of his estate to establish the Rice Institute for Literature. His will stipulated that only White students were allowed to enroll. From its founding in 1912 to 1965, no Black student was permitted to enroll. Today, African Americans make up 7 percent of the undergraduate student body.

Since 2017, Dr. DesRoches has been the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering at Rice University. Previously, he served as chair of the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Professor DesRoches’ research focuses on building structures resilient to earthquakes.

Dr. DesRoches was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and grew up in Queens, New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in civil engineering, and a Ph.D. in structural engineering at the University of California, Berkeley,

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