Sir Duncan Rice

1942 - 2022

Academic. Born in Aberdeen, Rice read history at the University of Aberdeen and completed his doctorate at the University of Edinburgh, while lecturing in Aberdeen (1966-69). In 1970, he moved to Yale University in the USA. His speciality was in the history of slavery and the anti-slavery movement. Amongst his many publications was his The Rise and Fall of Black Slavery (1975), setting the subject in both a historical and a geographical context. Rice was appointed Professor of History at Hamilton College (New York) in 1979, and then served as Professor of History, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science and Vice-Chancellor at New York University, where he led a highly successful fundraising campaign. In 1996, he was returned to his alma mater as Principal and Vice-Chancellor and is credited in transforming the University of Aberdeen's intellectual strength, research income and ranking in international league tables. Beyond the city he led the way in demonstrating the value or fundraising and a tradition of philanthropy in supporting British universities.

Rice was knighted in 2009 for services to higher education, gained honorary degrees from institutions including Robert Gordon University and was a Fellowships of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He served as Honorary Vice-President of Scottish Opera. Rice died at his home in Longniddry (East Lothian) and his funeral was held at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh. He is remembered by the Sir Duncan Rice Library in Aberdeen in recognition of his vision, ambition and leadership.

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