Claremore Chamber Names RSU President ‘Citizen of the Year’

Rogers State University President Dr. Larry Rice has been named the Claremore Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.

This distinction was bestowed upon Dr. Rice at the Chamber’s annual State of the Chamber Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon, held Jan. 25 in the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center at RSU. During the annual event, the Chamber recognizes citizens of distinction for their contribution to and positive impact upon the Claremore community.

Presenting the award was incoming Chamber Chairman Grant Gingerich.

“Today, we’re here to celebrate a remarkable individual who has made a lasting impact on our
community,” Gingerich began. “New programming in a business or non-profit or educational institution occurs by having great leaders with vision and determination. Today’s recipient represents a growing and prestigious institution that has flourished under his guidance for the past 15 years.”

Gingerich cited RSU’s new Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering degree program, as well as its new offerings in cybersecurity, drone technology and graphic design, along with the expansion of other graduate offerings as examples of the university’s growth.

“New programs come from great vision and the hard work is done behind the scenes, including overseeing staff, development and operations in the university,” he said. “He has also dedicated his work and his life to the betterment of our community. He has been a mentor to many and has always been willing to lend a hand to those in need. He has been an active member of the Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce for many years and has been instrumental in promoting the growth and development of the Claremore community.”

After noting the award recipient to have served as a “source of inspiration and pride for all,” Gingerich announced the award’s recipient to be Dr. Rice, congratulating him and telling him that Claremore is honored to have him as a member of its community.

Dr. Rice was handed the award by outgoing Chamber Chairman Jim Simmons.

“I’m humbled and surprised to have been selected to receive this superb award,” Dr. Rice said. “This honor reflects the RSU family’s hard work and the quality education on the Hill, on which this award shines the spotlight. Thank you.”

He also thanked local businessman Brian Treat for nominating him for the award.

Dr. Larry Rice has served as the 14th president of Rogers State University since 2008. He is an Oklahoma native, with more than 40 years of experience in higher education. He began his academic career in 1979 as a full-time faculty member at RSU, when it was still Claremore Junior College, where he taught classes in criminal justice, psychology, and sociology. From 1979 to 1986, he was Director of the Applied Science Division and from 1986 to 1991, he was Associate Director of Academics for the Pryor campus of Rogers State College.

He earned a Doctor of Education from Oklahoma State University. He also earned both a Master of Arts in education as well as a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Northeastern State University.

Prior to becoming president of RSU, Rice served in several roles at the University of Tulsa, including interim vice president of institutional advancement, director of public affairs, and executive assistant to the president. He also served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1991 to 2004, representing District 8 including Rogers, Mayes, and Wagoner Counties.

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