EERI Member Reginald DesRoches Takes Office as President of Rice University

DesRoches photoReginald DesRoches (M.EERI 1995) is the new president of Rice University. After a nationwide search, DesRoches was chosen to lead the university and its 7,500 students, seven schools, and over 700 faculty. "am deeply honored to be the next president of Rice University," DesRoches said. "I look forward to building on the tradition of excellence established by those who served before me." A member of EERI for nearly three decades, DesRoches was the recipient of the 2018 EERI Distinguished Lecture Award, and delivered his lecture on The Promise of Smart Materials in Earthquake Resistant Design at the 11NCEE in Los Angeles.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, DesRoches was raised in the New York City borough of Queens. A boyhood love of science and math encouraged him to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. While studying at the University of California at Berkeley, DesRoches witnessed the damage wrought by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. That experience led him to focus on earthquake resilience as he pursued his masters and Ph.D. degrees in structural engineering at Berkeley.

DesRoches has since become an internationally recognized expert on earthquake resilience. He has testified before committees of the U.S. House and Senate and chaired the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Construction Safety Team, which is overseeing the investigation of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condominium in Surfside, Florida. He also previously served on the Advisory Committee for the Engineering Directorate for the National Science Foundation.DesRoches is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Structural Engineering Institute.

DesRoches's primary research interests are in the design of resilient infrastructure systems under extreme loads and the application of smart materials. He has published approximately 300 articles and delivered more than 100 presentations in over 30 different countries. He also has mentored more than 30 doctoral students, many of whom hold faculty positions at top universities around the world. Prior to becoming president,he served as Rices Howard Hughes Provost and William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering. EERI congratulates President DesRoches on taking office today!