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Dr. Rolundus Rice tells the story of how he dropped out of high school in Atlanta and his then-girlfriend found out and promptly dropped him. The motivation to get her back changed the trajectory of his life. He subsequently earned a GED before earning a Ph.D. from Auburn University in the discipline of History. It is believed that he was the first GED recipient to earn the terminal degree from Auburn since the school was founded in 1856.
Dr. Rice, who former students referred to as “The Dapper Dean,” returned to Tuskegee this week as Chief Operating Officer. He taught world history here while completing his doctoral studies at Auburn University. With more than 20 years of experience in higher education, he joins TU after having served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Prior to the vice presidency, Rice has served as history professor, dean of an undergraduate division and a graduate school. Dr. Rice is an expert on 20th century history, specifically, the Modern Civil Rights Movement. His latest book, Hosea Williams: A Lifetime of Defiance and Protest, was recently published by the University of South Carolina Press.
Dr. Rice is uniquely qualified to serve as TU’s Chief Operating Officer. He has held leadership roles outside of academic affairs. He has also served as chief diversity officer and assistant vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. “I believe that my experiences in colleges and universities have given me a clear-eyed perspective that President Morris may find useful relative to the day-to-day operations of ‘Mother Tuskegee,’” Rice said. He continued, “The University is an operationally-intensive enterprise that requires any COO to be obsessively enthusiastic about the ‘3 P’s’: people, processes and product. I believe, to the marrow of my bone, that we can fulfill President Morris’ vision of ‘One Tuskegee’ by focusing on the ‘3 P’s” while simultaneously striving toward optimal operational efficiency.”
Dr. Rice is a listener and a learner who values the views and experiences of people with diverse perspectives. “I plan to engage in horizon scanning during my first several weeks – that is monitoring what our internal and external constituents think and feel so that we can fully understand what pain points, if any, exist and likewise work together to create mutually beneficial solutions by bringing clarity to the complex. Obviously, I will not embrace any positions that are not congruent with Dr. Morris’ short-term, intermediate or long-term objectives. Since I work within the Office of the President, the proximity to Dr. Morris ensures speedy resolution to unexpected and demanding operational challenges.”
“Tuskegee University has a noble and sublime history of educating and equipping students to compete in a global, knowledge-based economy. I am eternally thankful to President Morris for granting me the opportunity to serve her and the institution that needs no introduction in any corner of the world.”
Dr. Rice is married to the former Dana Lee. They have four children who aspire to be future Golden Tigers: Madison, Marley, Rolundus III and Remington.
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