DesRoches stresses importance of Rice’s relationship with Houston at State of Education event

Reginald DesRoches

Rice University President Reggie DesRoches spoke at the fifth annual State of Education event hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) Nov. 30. DesRoches presented Rice’s accomplishments for the year and had a fireside chat with GHP President and CEO Bob Harvey that focused on how research and educational initiatives translate to success for Houston.

Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

“We would not be able to do what we do as effectively without the support of partnerships and the city of Houston,” DesRoches said.

Now in his second year as president, DesRoches has brought in new leadership, grown the undergraduate and graduate student populations, increased staffing and advanced Rice’s global reach and partnerships.

“Graduate students, along with faculty, do the bulk of research on a university campus,” DesRoches said. “Research is important to Rice, to Houston and to the world. It’s what brings about solutions and change. With more graduate students, more research will be done.”

One of DesRoches’ goals is to become a premier research university that solves Houston and the world’s most pressing issues. His vision includes bringing together Rice’s many different experts to work together on solving sustainability issues, enhancing urban systems and creating new health science technologies through data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“We created the Office of Innovation on campus, run by Paul Cherukuri, and really focused on how do we help our faculty to work better with industry and how to work with great ideas and great resources and how to translate them much faster,” DesRoches said.

DesRoches and Harvey
Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

Houston’s future is closely aligned with Rice’s progress, Harvey said, pointing specifically to the university’s investment in the Ion innovation hub and how much it helps Houston recruit workers and businesses and grows the entrepreneurship ecosystem of the city.

“It’s making all the difference with recruiting startups and big companies to Houston,” Harvey said.