April 27, 2009

Investiture of 14th RSU President to be Part of Baccalaureate Commencement May 9

Dr. Larry Rice, RSU PresidentThe Investiture of Dr. Larry Rice as the 14th president of Rogers State University will be part of the RSU Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at the Claremore Expo Center.

The Investiture – a traditional academic ceremony officially commemorating the beginning of the tenure of a new president – will be 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, will welcome students, guests and participants at the Investiture and 97th Commencement Ceremony.

Regent Julie Carson of Claremore will offer 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, will provide 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 will be 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, will offer a salutation on behalf of the RSU student body. Scott Walton, a 1999 RSU graduate, will provide greetings to the president on behalf of the institution's alumni. Dr. Paul Hatley, history professor and chairman of the RSU Faculty Senate, will deliver 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 will provide a salutation.

A bronze medallion – the official symbol of the office of the president – will be presented to Dr. Rice by Regent Max Weitzenhoffer, chairman of the OU Board of Regents.

Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System for Higher Education, will provide the formal charge of office to Dr. Rice as the new president.

Dr. Rice, who became president of RSU on July 1, 2008, will be formally invested as the institution's 14th president and will provide an Investiture and Commencement address to graduates during the baccalaureate commencement ceremony.

The Chouteau High School Choir and RSU Choir will perform jointly during the ceremony.

This year, 181 RSU students will receive bachelor's degrees at the ceremony. In addition, 213 students will receive two-year degrees at the RSU Associate Commencement Ceremony, held earlier in the day at 10 a.m. at the Claremore Expo Center.

Dr. Rice and Dr. Beck will recognize honors students, present the graduates and confer 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.

Instructions for students receiving diplomas during the commencement ceremony, parents and for those participating in the processional can be found on the university's web site at For more information, call (918) 343-6816.