The Presidents of Rice University

1908 to 1946

Edgar Odell Lovett (April 14, 1871–August 13, 1957)
Education: B.A., Bethany College; Ph.D., University of Virginia; Ph.D.,
University of Leipzig
Field of study: mathematics and astronomy
Previous position: Professor of mathematics and chairman of the Department of Astronomy, Princeton University

1946 to 1960

William Vermillion Houston (January 19, 1900–August 22, 1968)
Education: B.A., B.S., Ohio State University; M.S., University of Chicago; Ph.D., Ohio State University
Field of study: physics
Previous position: professor of physics, California Institute of Technology

1961 to 1968

Kenneth Sanborn Pitzer (January 6, 1914–December 26, 1997)
Education: B.S., California Institute of Technology; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Field of study: chemistry
Previous position: professor and dean of the College of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

1970 to 1985

Norman Hackerman (March 2, 1912 –June 16, 2007)
Education: A.B., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
Field of study: chemistry
Previous position: professor of chemistry and president, University of Texas at Austin

1985 to 1993

George Erik Rupp (September 22, 1942– )
Education: A.B., Princeton University; B.D., Yale University; Ph.D., Harvard University
Field of study: religion
Previous position: Lord O’Brian Professor of Divinity and dean of the Divinity School, Harvard University

1993 to 2004

S. Malcolm Gillis (December 28, 1940–October 4, 2015)
Education: B.A., M.A., University of Florida; Ph.D., University of Illinois
Field of study: economics
Previous position: professor of economics and public policy and dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, Duke University

2004 to 2022

David W. Leebron (February 12, 1955– )
Education: B.A., J.D., Harvard University
Field of study: law
Previous position: dean of the Columbia University Law School

Note: Provost Carey Croneis, a geologist, served as acting president in 1960–1961, after President Houston’s resignation because of ill health. Following President Pitzer’s departure for the presidency of Stanford University in 1968 and an initial presidential consideration process for his successor at Rice, William H. Masterson ’35, formerly a Rice history professor and dean, was named as president. He resigned only five days after being appointed in February 1969 and so is traditionally not numbered among the Rice presidents. Frank Everson Vandiver, a professor of history, served as acting president in 1969–1970.

A Brief History of Rice University Rice University Board of Trustees, 2022–2023