OpenStax’s Daniel Williamson honored by Rice Board of Trustees

The Rice Board of Trustees honored Daniel Williamson ’08, managing director of OpenStax, at its March 8 meeting for his exceptional leadership of the Rice-based publisher of open educational resources. OpenStax uses philanthropic grants to produce high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks that are free online and low-cost in print.

Daniel Williamson

Daniel Williamson

Williamson, who has dedicated the last decade to developing education startups from conception to culmination, was nominated for recognition by Richard Baraniuk, the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of OpenStax, and Caroline Levander ’95, vice president for strategic initiatives and digital education.

Baraniuk and Levander described Williamson, a graduate of Rice’s Shepherd School of Music, as an “extraordinary young leader” in a nomination letter.

“Rice is lucky to have him as an employee and to have educated him,” they wrote. “His growth into a strong, decisive and visionary leader of an enterprise that is disrupting the education world for the better is testimony to his strong Rice undergraduate education.”

As manager of all of OpenStax’s day-to-day operations, Williamson plays a crucial role in making OpenStax’s vision a reality, they wrote. He is responsible for interfacing with many different entities at Rice, from Human Resources to General Counsel to Finance.

Baraniuk and Levander said they have “heard only positive comments about his leadership, his clear communications and his continual quest to provide opportunities for his staff to grow.”

Williams has assembled a team of 60 staff members, helped build a “big vision” and helped raise millions of dollars in venture philanthropic support, they wrote.

“Daniel Williamson is an outstanding strategic thinker, manager of people and organizational leader,” wrote Baraniuk and Levander. “He is able to implement far-reaching and ambitious innovations in open learning (with faculty oversight), work effectively across all segments of the university and is an outstanding collaborator.”

About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is editor of Rice New.