Levander honored as one of ‘Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2017’

Rice Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Digital Education Caroline Levander was named one of “Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2017” by Houston Woman Magazine.

Photo of Caroline Levander

Caroline Levander

Levander, who is also the Carlson Professor in the Humanities and a professor of English, has convened national and international summits on higher education and university innovation, including the upcoming 2018 international summit on the Future Global University funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. She also serves on numerous editorial boards and other higher education ventures.

“Those selected as Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2017 are individuals with vast networks of social and professional connections,” said Beverly Denver, publisher of Houston Woman Magazine. “They have earned an enviable reputation for their expertise in a particular field or arena. They are knowledgeable, credible and worthy of trust and admiration. The thoughts and actions of these women influence the thoughts and actions of others.”

Levander and honorees from the Texas House of Representatives, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Shell Oil Co., Amazon Web Services, Houston Methodist Cancer Center, Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses and organizations received recognition at an afternoon tea Feb. 11 in the ballroom of the Junior League of Houston. The honorees were nominated by subscribers of Houston Woman Magazine and selected by the staff of the publication.

In its write-up about Levander, Houston Woman Magazine noted that she is an award-winning cultural and literary critic. She spends time thinking about the future of higher education and shares her views in venues such as Inside Higher Ed and international higher education and innovation summits.

A Rice alumna with three English degrees (B.A. ’86, M.A. ’93 and Ph.D. ’95), Levander joined the Rice faculty in 2000. She teaches, talks and writes about American life and culture. Her writing has appeared recently in Slate, The New York Times and Business Insider. She said her most recent book, “Hotel Life: The Story of a Place Where Anything Can Happen” (2015), is about “the everyday work of one of the world’s most fascinating and strange institutions.”

In addition to writing “Where Is American Literature?” (2013) and two other books, she has co-edited many others, such as “Hemispheric American Studies” (2008) and “Companion to American Literary Studies” (2011). She is currently working on a book on an alternative cultural history of American political life, “Confounding Fathers: The Men Who Threatened To Make America Great.”

Houston Woman Magazine also noted that Levander was a 2017 Fulbright Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and a 2016 Senior Fellow at the Freie Universit├Ąt Graduate School, Berlin. She also has received grants and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Huntington Library, the Brown Foundation and the Moody Foundation. She is also the recipient of an Institute of Museum and Library Science’s National Leadership grant.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.