‘Dream job’: Harris County Judge Ed Emmett ’71 returning to Rice

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett ’71 will be back among his fellow Owls come Jan. 1.

After managing the nation’s third-largest county for more than 11 years, Emmett will become a professor in the practice and will teach Inside the Texas Legislature, a course within Rice’s School of Social Sciences that will examine the lawmaking process during the 2019 legislative session.

Ed Emmett (Photo by Tommy LaVergne)

Ed Emmett (Photo credit: Tommy LaVergne)

Emmett will also join Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research as a senior fellow, working on policy projects related to Houston and Harris County. He will also be a fellow at the university’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders and provide assistance as the university seeks to fully realize its goal of engaging with and empowering Houston and its metropolitan region.

“This is a dream job for me,” said Emmett, whose judgeship ends Dec. 31. “I am excited about the opportunity to continue analyzing and developing policy that will benefit urban areas such as Houston and Harris County.”

“We are thrilled that Ed Emmett will be bringing his depth and breadth of knowledge across a range of issues, especially those affecting urban areas, to the Rice community,” said Rice President David Leebron. “We have benefitted many times from bringing outstanding Houston area leaders onto our campus to teach our students and engage with our faculty and university institutes and centers.  Judge Emmett’s deep knowledge of urban challenges will help address these challenges and train the urban leaders of the future.”

“We’re so very pleased that Judge Emmett will be back among his fellow Owls,” Rice Provost Marie Lynn Miranda said. “His deep commitment to public service is commendable, and his expertise will be a significant asset to our students and the entire campus community. We are grateful for his many contributions to Houston and Harris County over the many years, and we look forward to the undoubtedly wonderful contributions he will make to Rice.”

A graduate of Houston’s Bellaire High School, Emmett went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in economics at Rice in 1971 and a master’s degree in public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in 1974.

He was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987, where he served as chairman of the Committee on Energy, was a member of the Transportation Committee and represented the state on numerous national committees relating to energy and transportation policy. In 1989, he was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to the Interstate Commerce Commission and served for three years.

Emmett, who became Harris County judge on March 6, 2007, is also director of Harris County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, chairman of the Harris County Juvenile Board and chairman of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties Policy Committee.

Internationally recognized for his work in transportation and logistics policy, he was named Transportation Person of the Year by Transportation Clubs International and one of the top 20 logistics professionals by Logistics Forum. He has received numerous awards and honors, including Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at UT Austin and the President’s Call to Service Award.

Emmett said he looks forward to returning to campus and interacting with Rice faculty and students.

“During my entire adult life, I have said that Rice University shaped me,” he said “To come back to the Rice campus and be part of the Rice community is truly energizing.”

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.