Inauguration, 2022: Part II, Ruth Simmons’s Speech

I’d first like to account for my extended absence, for which apologies are hereby issued: I was chairing a presidential search at another university and that task took pretty much all of my attention for the last month or so. It concluded happily a couple of days ago, I’m glad to say. At the same time, life has been going on as usual at Rice and in my spare moments I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit, mulling over both some current and past events.

Now that I’m back, I’d like to start up here with something important from President DesRoches’s inauguration. I’m sure many of you know that the keynote speaker was Houston native Ruth Simmons, former president of Brown University and former Rice trustee, now president of Prairie View A&M. As I listened to her address I understood that it was a tour de force, both powerful and nuanced, which is not an easy thing to pull off. Afterwards I asked for her permission to reproduce it here, which she graciously gave. This address was truly a gift to our new president and to our entire community. If you weren’t there, you should read it. And if you were there, you should read it. And we should all take it to heart.

Ruth-Simmons-speech

 

Bonus: I swore that I wasn’t going to be messing around taking iphone pictures during the ceremony but I couldn’t resist this one.

It was the video camera that caught my eye. It reminded me of this, from Rice’s Formal Opening in 1912:.

See the movie camera near the top left? We have no idea what happened to that film. I hope we do a better job of hanging on the the footage from this time around.

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