The Investiture of Dr. Larry Rice as the 14th president of Rogers State University was held during the RSU Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at the Claremore Expo Center.
The Investiture – a traditional academic ceremony officially commemorating the beginning of the tenure of a new president – was an integral part of the commencement ceremony and feature remarks by various individuals associated with the university.
Dr. Richard Beck, RSU Vice President for Academic Affairs, welcomed students, guests and participants at the Investiture and 97th Commencement Ceremony.
Regent Julie Carson of Claremore offered greetings on behalf of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and Tom Clark, a member of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, the governing board for RSU, provided greetings on behalf of the OU Board of Regents. Clark is the chairman of the Board of Regent’s RSU Committee and past chairman of the Board of Regents.
Salutations were provided during the Investiture portion of the ceremony by representatives of the university’s student body, faculty, alumni and past presidents.
- Kaleb Woolever of Claremore, representing the RSU President’s Leadership Class, offered a salutation on behalf of the RSU student body.
- Scott Walton, a 1999 RSU graduate, provided greetings to the president on behalf of the institution’s alumni.
- Dr. Paul Hatley, history professor and chairman of the RSU Faculty Senate, delivered a salutation on behalf of the university’s faculty.
- President Emeritus Dr. Richard Mosier, who was president of Claremore Junior College and Rogers State College from 1972 to 1995, also provided a salutation.
Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System for Higher Education, provided the formal charge of office to Dr. Rice as the new president. Dr. Rice, who became president of RSU on July 1, 2008, was formally invested as the institution’s 14th president and also provided an Investiture and Commencement address to graduates during the baccalaureate commencement ceremony.
This year, 181 RSU students received bachelor’s degrees at the ceremony. In addition, 213 students received two-year degrees at the RSU Associate Commencement Ceremony which was held earlier in the day at the Claremore Expo Center.
Dr. Rice and Dr. Beck recognized honors students, presented the graduates and conferred the degrees during both commencement ceremonies.
An Oklahoma native, President Rice has 30 years of experience in higher education. President Rice began his academic career in 1979 as a full-time faculty member at RSU, which was then known as Claremore Junior College, where he taught classes in criminal justice, psychology and sociology. He was Director of the Applied Science Division at CJC from 1979 to 1986 and Associate Director of Academics for the Rogers campus in Pryor from 1986 to 1991. He received a doctoral degree in education from Oklahoma State University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Northeastern State University. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on “Eighty Years of University Preparatory Education on College Hill,” a history of the institution presently known as RSU.
Before he was named as president of RSU, he served as Executive Assistant to the President at the University of Tulsa. At TU, Rice was responsible for government relations and the Presidential Scholars Program for high-achieving students. He joined TU in 1991 as a member of the advancement staff and served as interim vice president for advancement from 1997-1998 and director of public affairs from 1991 to 2004.
He served the citizens of Oklahoma as a state representative in House District 8 from 1986 to 2004. While in the Legislature, he was actively involved in promoting increased funding for the state’s higher education system.
Dr. Rice has been dedicated to community service since 1975 when he worked as a Detective for the Pryor Police Department. He has also served on a wide variety of boards for various organizations, including service as president and founding member of the Chouteau-Mazie Public Schools Foundation. He is an ex-officio member of the board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Green Country and a former member of the board for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation of Tulsa.
Dr. Rice was part of Leadership Oklahoma Class 13 and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Academy since 1992. He was appointed to the Claremore Regional Hospital Board of Directors in 2009.
He has received many awards and commendations for his public service and commitment to higher education. His honors include the “Lifetime Friend Award” from the Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma and being recognized as Legislator of the Year by several organizations including the Oklahoma Rural Water Association and the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.
Dr. Rice and his wife, Peggy, live in the President’s Residence on the RSU campus in Claremore.