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Rice is well-prepared for the 21st century because President S. Malcolm Gillis develops and implements a comprehensive strategic plan that includes investment in nano, bio, info and enviro sciences; an expansion of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business; a dedication to diversity; numerous academic infrastructure improvements and new construction; a deeper involvement in the community; and a significant enhancement of Rice's international presence. Gillis retires in 2004.

In 2004, Rice’s 7th and current president, David W. Leebron, comes to Rice after serving as dean of Columbia University Law School for 8 years. Leebron brings a powerful international vision and a strong commitment to the local community. He introduces a 10-point strategic plan -- the Vision for the Second Century -- and Rice experiences a 30 percent growth in undergraduate enrollment, increases its international profile, expandes its research enterprise and deepens its engagement with Houston.

The Board transforms the Rice campus by authorizing 2 new residential colleges, a physics building, a recreation center, the BioScience Research Collaborative and a public art program.

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