HOUSTON -- (May 2, 2016) -- Rice University alumna and former Houston Mayor Annise Parker has returned to Rice to teach.
Fresh off a semester as an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Parker joined the Rice faculty May 1 as a professor in the practice. Parker will work with students through Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders, where she has been named a Doerr Institute Fellow, and will teach for the School of Social Sciences.
"During my 20-year career in the oil industry and 18 years in public service, my attachment to and affection for Rice were always evident,” Parker said. “I am honored and excited by the opportunity to return and work with students who will shape our world. Each of us faces challenges; all of us are called to lead in some way. I look forward to helping Rice students realize and develop their leadership potential."
A native Houstonian, Parker graduated from Rice in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, psychology and sociology. Parker served as Houston’s 61st mayor from 2010 through 2015 – the maximum allowed under the city’s three-term limit. She also served Houston for six years as a City Council member and for six years as city controller. The first openly gay mayor of one of the nation’s largest cities, Parker was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2010. She also was ranked No. 7 on the 2014 list of the world’s top 10 mayors by the City Mayors Foundation.
“What an honor to have such a distinguished alumna return to Rice to share her expertise and experience with our students,” Rice Provost Marie Lynn Miranda said. “We’re delighted to welcome Mayor Parker back to campus. She has extraordinary insights derived from her deep commitment to public service. We are very excited about the wonderful contributions she is bound to make to our campus community.”
Tom Kolditz, director of the Doerr Institute, said lessons that Parker learned as mayor of the country’s fourth-largest city should prove invaluable. “Annise Parker is the perfect person to bring realism to Rice students’ understanding of the leader experience -- successes, frustrations, the full spectrum of a leader’s journey,” he said. “The Doerr Institute values Annise’s perspective on the nuances of elected leadership, and with hundreds of elected student leaders on our campus, she will be a uniquely valuable asset in developing Rice’s new leaders.”
The Doerr Institute was established in 2015 with a $50 million gift from Rice alumni Ann and John Doerr through their private family foundation to maximize the leadership capabilities of all students at Rice by empowering them with the skills, training and confidence to make a true difference in the world.