Rice President Reginald DesRoches (l) and TSU President Lesia Crumpton-Young
Rice President Reginald DesRoches (l) and TSU President Lesia Crumpton-Young. Credit: Andrew McCray

Rice University and Texas Southern University are excited to announce a partnership to share resources, expertise and best practices to build stronger bridges between our institutions and communities. We believe this collaboration will foster meaningful dialogue; seed new research partnerships; create additional opportunities for students, faculty and staff at both universities; and be a boon to the great city of Houston that is home to these two remarkable institutions.

“We recognize that the success of both of our institutions and our society as a whole depends on the full participation and engagement of all individuals from a range of backgrounds and experiences,” Rice President Reginald DesRoches said. “We are committed to working together to create a strong partnership that ensures every member of our community has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.”

Rice and TSU have worked together for decades and are currently collaborating on various research-related projects and teaching partnerships. Rice faculty have contributed to the Texas Trends survey, a five-year effort to study Texas’ changing population and opinions co-launched by TSU and the University of Houston. Rice also has a joint project that includes TSU leaders aimed at producing more doctoral students of color in STEM fields.

And, just two years ago, Rice and its Center for African and African American Studies partnered with the University of Houston, TSU and Prairie View A&M University to form a new collaboration committed to African and African American studies scholarship: the Southeastern Texas African and African American Studies Consortium.

The alliance between the Houston-area institutions will take advantage of their geographic proximity — as well as Houston’s rich history — to pool intellectual resources and continue elevating the AAAS field. This collaborative effort, which is jointly housed between all four partner universities, comes at a time when the field is undergoing expansion and investment nationwide.

Moving forward, Rice, one of the nation’s top-ranked universities by U.S. News & World Report, and TSU, a premier historically black university that serves more than 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, will work toward strengthening these research and teaching relationships as well as create new ones and fresh opportunities to partner.

TSU’s Gulf Coast Consortia Center for Comprehensive PK/PD and Formulation, funded by Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, is a state-of-the-art drug development core facility with experienced faculty from TSU’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the University of Houston’s College of Pharmacy and the GCC for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences at Rice University. The GCC consists of seven institutions at the Texas Medical Center.

“Texas Southern University is an elite HBCU focused on transforming the lives of its students while responding to the grand challenges plaguing corporate America and urban communities,” TSU President Lesia Crumpton-Young said. “This partnership with Rice will advance our efforts to achieve this mission and attain unprecedented success at an accelerated pace. Our partnership will greatly benefit Houston and citizens throughout Texas.”

TSU’s Center for Biomedical and Minority Health and Health Disparities Community Engagement Core partnered with the GCC at Rice University to host the inaugural Diversity, Disparities and Community Engagement in Healthcare Workshop in September. More than 20 institutions at TMC participated in this transformative event.

TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law and College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offer the possibility for new and continued ways to work together while Rice’s global work, such as with Rice 360, presents opportunities for students from both universities to travel and study abroad together. Rice’s rich history of engaging with Houston through the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the university’s School of Architecture along with TSU’s Urban Planning and Environmental Policy program have the potential to yield additional partnerships and projects with organizations across the city.

“The excitement that accompanies this announcement is real and palpable,” said Needha Boutté-Queen, TSU Acting Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. “The agreement serves both as a formal acknowledgment of the intentional efforts our two institutions have engaged in over the years and as a commitment to strengthening that partnership, paving the way for additional opportunities that will benefit students and all other stakeholders. We will build upon that which existed before today, exploring new options and expanding our collective touch points such that this partnership serves as a model for others to follow.”

“I am excited about strengthening what is already a strong partnership between Rice and TSU,” Rice Provost Amy Dittmar said. “We already have accomplished so much together. The possibilities through this formal partnership are endless and will be beneficial for all parties involved and for the Greater Houston area and beyond.”

For centuries, HBCUs have provided environments in which students of color experience a sense of community and belonging that enables them to thrive during their college and postgraduate years. They have produced 80% of the nation’s Black judges, 70% of its Black doctors, 40% of its Black congressional legislators, 50% of its Black lawyers and the first Black vice president of the United States.

Rice is committed to creating a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion on its campus, and one way to accomplish that is by creating partnerships such as the one with TSU. The partnership will bring many benefits, contributing to the growth and success of both institutions and promoting greater equity and inclusion in higher education and beyond.

We look forward to working together to create a brighter, more inclusive future for all.