China’s Nankai University Awards Honorary Degree To Rice U. President
Rice University President David Leebron received an honorary doctorate from China’s Nankai University today.
The degree was presented at the Nankai campus in Tianjin, where Leebron lectured on Sino-American relations.
Nankai University is a multidisciplinary and research institution under the jurisdiction of China’s Ministry of Education. Listed as one of the ministry’s universities for priority development in the 21st century, Nankai has nearly 2,000 faculty members and almost 22,000 students, including 12,499 undergraduates. The university’s 22 academic colleges are complemented by its Graduate School, China APEC Institute, School for Continuing Education, Advanced Vocational School, Modern Distance Education School and Binhai School.
Other VIPs who have received honorary degrees from Nankai include former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former South Korea President Kim Dae-jung.
Leebron and his wife, University Representative Y. Ping , are currently visiting Nankai and a number of other academic institutions and government and organizational officials in China to continue Rice’s ongoing effort to build relationships with universities and educational leaders around the world.
Rice will celebrate its centennial in 2012. One of the key elements of the university’s mission for the next century is to transform Rice into a global university, particularly by increasing its visibility in China.
Leebron became Rice’s seventh president on July 1, 2004, after serving as dean of the Columbia University School of Law. Much like Rice’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, who came to Rice via Princeton, Leebron brought to the post a powerful international vision and equally strong commitment to the local community. He is currently leading Rice through a period of growth and renewal based on the 10-point Vision for the Second Century he launched during his first three years in office.
Under Leebron’s leadership, the Rice campus is undergoing some $850 million in construction projects to add two new residential colleges to house a 30 percent growth in the undergraduate student body, a 10-story research center to deepen Rice’s collaboration with the Texas Medical Center, and new campus amenities, including a sports arena and the recently opened Brochstein Pavilion. He has emphasized building Rice’s international impact with active outreach to Asia and Latin America and, at the same time, has worked to strengthen the university’s local presence with multiple programs that connect students and faculty with Houston residents and neighborhoods, the museum district and downtown, and its consular corps.
A native of Philadelphia, Leebron is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was elected president of the Law Review in his second year. After graduating in 1979, he served as a law clerk for Judge Shirley Hufstedler on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Los Angeles. He began teaching in 1980 at the UCLA School of Law. In 1983 he taught at the NYU law school, where he also served as director of the International Legal Studies Program. In 1989 Leebron joined the faculty of Columbia University School of Law, where in 1996 he was appointed dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. Leebron also served as a visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and Comparative Law in Hamburg, Germany, and as the Jean Monnet Visiting Professor of Law at Bielefeld University. Currently part of the political science faculty at Rice, Leebron has authored a textbook on international human rights and published articles on issues of international trade, human rights and corporate finance.
Leebron is a member of the New York State Bar, Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, Jacobs University Bremen Board of Governors, Harvard Law School Visiting Committee and the boards of directors of the Greater Houston Partnership and IMAX Corp. He also serves on the centennial committee for Tongji University in Shanghai, China. In 2006, Leebron was presented with France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Mérite.