Just one week after Rogers State University President Joe Wiley said he was taking another job, University of Oklahoma regents named a new president of the Claremore university. Regents named former state representative and University of Tulsa administrator Larry Rice as the next president of the 4,000-student university that also has campuses in Bartlesville and Pryor. "President Wiley has done a great job of taking (Rogers State University) from a two-year to a four-year institution,” Rice said. "It's a wonderful place. It's exciting and poised to keep growing.” Rice will earn $205,000 when he becomes president June 30, but he'll start March 31 as president designee earning a temporary salary of $185,000. Wiley, who was named president of Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., will work with Rice during the transitional period. Rice now is executive assistant to TU president Steadman Upham. He's worked at TU since 1991 and was a Democrat state representative from Pryor from 1986 to 2004. Regents chairman Tom Clark said he and several others regents visited Rogers State last week and faculty, student and business leaders all recommended Rice as a candidate. "We wanted to keep the momentum going and when we saw this incredible push to hire Dr. Rice we had to meet and talk to him,” Clark said.
Rice says his background will helpRice began his academic career in 1979 as a full-time faculty member at Rogers State, which was then known as Rogers State College. He also was director of the applied science division there and associate director of academics for the Pryor campus. Rice said both his political and academic backgrounds will serve him well as president. "It's all of our jobs to encourage the legislature to continue funding education,” he said. Rice earned his doctorate in education from Oklahoma State University and master's and bachelor's degrees from Northeastern State University. Rice said he will live on campus with his wife Peggy. They have two adult children. Wiley has led Rogers State since January 1999. The following year, it became a four-year university and enrollment has grown 65 percent. Rogers State offers bachelor's and associate's degrees in such areas as applied technology, biology, business administration, business information, justice administration, liberal arts and nursing.