David W. Leebron became Rice University’s seventh president in 2004, a period of growth and transformation for the institution. Early in his presidency, Mr. Leebron engaged in extensive consultations that produced the Vision for the Second Century (V2C), a plan for Rice’s growth and advancement as one of the world’s premier research universities. Mr. Leebron has strengthened the university’s international presence with extensive study abroad programs and research opportunities, as well as its local presence with programs that connect students and faculty with the Greater Houston community, such as Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, home to the Houston Area Survey. Under Mr. Leebron’s leadership, the campus has added two new residential colleges and a number of buildings and meeting places, including the 10-story BioScience Research Collaborative. He is currently part of the political science faculty at Rice and has authored a textbook on international human rights.
Mr. Leebron was awarded France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre national du Mérite, and the Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel La Catolica by the government of Spain in 2006, and received an honorary doctorate from Nankai University in 2008. In 2010, he and his wife, University Representative Y. Ping Sun, were selected by the Greater Houston Partnership as the city’s International Executives of the Year for helping make Houston a center of international business. Prior to taking the helm at Rice, Mr. Leebron was dean of Columbia Law School. A native of Philadelphia, he is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.