Posted: Mar 01, 2024 12:33 PMUpdated: Mar 01, 2024 12:33 PM

RSU President Dr. Larry Rice Announces Retirement

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Nathan Thompson
Sixteen years after beginning his work as president designate of Rogers State University, Dr. Larry Rice has announced he will retire as president in early July 2024.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as president at RSU, the place where my higher education career started,” Rice said. “The Hill holds a special place in my heart, and Peggy and I have cherished every moment here.
“I am grateful to the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma for the opportunity to lead RSU and its continuing support of our mission. I also offer my thanks to the employees, students, alumni and supporters for their gifts of time, talent and resources that have helped to establish RSU as a premier regional university in Oklahoma.”
Rice began his academic career in 1979 as a full-time faculty member at RSU, which was then known as Claremore Junior College, before transitioning into administrative posts at the University of Tulsa. He served the citizens of Oklahoma as a state representative in House District 8 from 1986 to 2004, rising to the leadership post of Majority Floor Leader.
Rice’s tenure has seen RSU expand academic offerings and campus infrastructure.
The university streamlined academic programs to focus on degrees that prepared career-ready students. Under his leadership, RSU became a leader in online delivery of courses and is regularly among the top regional universities in concurrent enrollment. Rice led efforts to begin graduate programs and in 2023 RSU began a bachelor’s degree program in chemical engineering.
He also led efforts to build infrastructure, including finishing construction and opening the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center in 2009. Other projects included the Diamond Sports Complex, new on-campus housing and Chapman Dining Hall. In 2010, the university expanded and renovated Baird Hall to meet the needs of a rapidly growing student body. With an eye on expanding workforce opportunities, RSU partnered with the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor to build a campus in the park.
Rice spearheaded private fundraising efforts with the Rogers State University Foundation and was instrumental in securing some of the school’s largest private gifts. He also led RSU’s efforts to move its athletics programs to NCAA Division II and saw its women’s softball team win the Division II national title in 2022.
Beside him during his tenure was his wife, First Lady Peggy Rice. She was an active advocate for RSU and was involved in numerous community and campus activities including the President’s Leadership Class and the Honors Program. The First Lady deployed the President’s Residence as a fund raising, friend raising and student-focused event venue. Celebrating her highly successful career in business and her contributions to RSU, friends created the Peggy Rice Award in Business Excellence endowment in 2021 to recognize a top graduating senior in business administration.
“President Rice has been an example of outstanding servant leadership and through his vision Rogers State University has excelled in fulfilling its academic and service mission,” said Natalie Shirley, chair of the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, Rogers State University and Cameron University. “He has earned the respect of the Regents and I know they share in offering my thanks and best wishes to him and his wife, Peggy.”
The OU Board of Regents will develop a leadership transition plan for RSU.

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