Nominations sought for inaugural Marjorie Corcoran Award

President David Leebron and Provost Marie Lynn Miranda are seeking nominations for the first Marjorie Corcoran Award.

Photo of Marjorie Corcoran

Marjorie Corcoran

The annual award will be given to a Rice faculty member who has made major contributions to the advancement of women or underrepresented minorities in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — fields, either in support of students at Rice or through local, state or national programs, with a particular commitment to engaged mentoring.

Corcoran, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice, was killed Feb. 3, 2017, in a train-cyclist accident near the university.

In their announcement of the award, Leebron and Miranda lauded Corcoran for how she “modeled the way for so many — inspiring by example, offering encouragement and contributing in many ways to the progress of women and underrepresented minorities within STEM fields.”

“She was a highly recognized scientist who served in many leadership roles nationally and internationally in particle physics,” they said. “A much-admired professor, she worked tirelessly on behalf of her students, STEM education and Rice, including a term as department chair and as inaugural speaker of the faculty senate.”

Corcoran came to Rice in 1980 and spent 37 years on the faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where she studied experimental particle physics to better understand the most elementary constituents of matter. An advocate for women in science, Corcoran supervised a number of Rice graduate students’ theses and dissertations. In January 2015 the American Physical Society named her “Woman Physicist of the Month” and noted that she was “a leader in the particle physics community and a great role model for women in physics.” In 2017 she organized the Rice-hosted APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics and was active in the annual Quarknet High School teachers training program for many years.

“Rice is truly privileged to establish and introduce this award in Marj’s honor,” Leebron and Miranda wrote in a campuswide email.

The award winner will receive $2,500 and a framed certificate signed by the president and the provost. The award will be presented at the University Awards Ceremony in April.

Any Rice faculty or staff member can nominate a faculty member for the Marjorie Corcoran Award. The nomination must include a letter detailing the basis for the nomination and a copy of the candidate’s current CV. Nominations are due March 16 and should be submitted to


About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is a Web editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.