Rice University
Rice University 100 Years 1912-2012

Centennial Historian

Dr. Melissa Kean

artist's concept for the bronze statue of Edgar Odell Lovett

For two years, historian Melissa Kean assisted in the search for and subsequent transition into office of David W. Leebron, Rice's seventh president. Now Dr. Kean has returned to her work preserving the school's history, having been named Rice's first university historian.

Dr. Kean is an authority on Rice's past, having published histories of Rice's School of Continuing Studies and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and, most recently, researching the history of Rice's science and engineering schools. Her five degrees include four in history — a Rice doctorate, Rice and Creighton master's and an Iowa State bachelor's — and a J.D. from the University of Iowa. In 2000, she won Rice's John W. Gardner Award for Best Dissertation in the schools of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her book, Desegregating Private Higher Education in the South: Duke, Emory, Rice, Tulane, and Vanderbilt was published in 2008 by the Louisiana State University Press.