Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD Starts as MSM's First Female President with a Goal of $1.5 Million in Scholarships

School to Mark Occasion With Investiture Ceremony and Healthy Living Events

ATLANTA – August 29, 2014 – In a ceremony full of tradition, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice will be inaugurated as the sixth president of the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) on Thurs., Sept. 11, culminating a Presidential Scholarship drive that is projected to provide $1.5 million to support the next generation of health care professionals. The inauguration ceremony will be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College at 11 a.m., and the public is invited to attend.

The Presidential Scholarship Fund was established to support the rising cost of education for MSM students.  As many will choose lower-salary primary care specialties, these scholarships will aid their goals of providing quality health care to underserved communities and lessen the students’ burden of debt.   

The three-day inauguration weekend, which includes the formal installation ceremony for Dr. Montgomery Rice on Sept. 11, continues with Community Action Day and Circle of Connections celebrations on Friday, Sept. 12, and Healthy Living Community Engagement Day on Saturday, Sept. 13, with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) enrichment programs for students of all ages.

“I am excited about this new chapter not only for me but for this great institution of Morehouse School of Medicine,” said Dr. Montgomery Rice. “The community has joined me in support of our students with investments to the Presidential Scholarship Fund.  Our talented students are working to become the next generation of health care leaders, and these scholarships help them reach those goals.”

The Presidential Scholarship Fund received an extraordinary boost on Aug. 16 during a pre-inaugural gala luncheon that was attended by more than 850 exceptional women in metro Atlanta. The “Phenomenal Women” luncheon, led by Billye Aaron, the wife of famed baseball slugger and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, raised $500,000 in scholarships for MSM students.

The Sept. 11 inauguration will be attended by delegates from more than 50 colleges and universities around the country, and public officials and business executives will be in attendance to mark the moment when Dr. Montgomery Rice is formally installed as the first female to lead the free-standing medical institution. Dr. Robert Franklin, former president of Morehouse College, will preside over the presidential inauguration. Special guests will include Founding President of Morehouse School of Medicine Dr. Louis Sullivan, Ambassador Andrew Young, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the First African-American Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson and Former U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, who is an MSM alumna.

In addition to Dr. Montgomery Rice’s inaugural address, the Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs will perform special music for the occasion, including selections during the processional and recessional. The ceremony will be followed by a lunch reception hosted by the school, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Links, Inc.

“A presidential inauguration is a major occasion in the life of an institution of higher learning,” said Anthony Welters, J.D., Chair of the MSM Board of Trustees. “It is an especially significant time for us as we proudly recognize Dr. Montgomery Rice for her past contributions to MSM and confirm our confidence in her vision to continue to position the school as a national leader in medical education.”

Prior to the ceremony, Dr. Montgomery Rice will preside over the 30th Fall Convocation and White Coat Ceremony in which 129 incoming students will receive their white coats and public health blazers in recognition of their commitment to health care service. President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. will deliver the keynote address. The event will also recognize second-year students for their academic achievements.

Dr. Montgomery Rice’s installation will be observed through various community events that speak to the school’s mission of providing quality medical and public health education and reducing health disparities. Below is a schedule of activities that will follow the Sept. 11 ceremony:

September 12

Community Action Day, 9 a.m.- noon

Morehouse School of Medicine

MSM faculty, staff, students and supporters will engage in a day of service across Atlanta to help reduce health disparities for children and families in Atlanta communities. Activities include urban gardening, financial literacy, reading to students and tutoring.

Circle of Connections Celebration, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

The Center for Civil and Human Rights

The celebration of Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice’s inauguration will continue with a fundraising event at the new Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta. The evening will include performances by Grammy Award-winning artist Lalah Hathaway. Proceeds will support the MSM Presidential Scholarship Fund.

September 13

Healthy Living Community Engagement Day, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Morehouse School of Medicine
This event will kick off with a town hall CoverGirl® “Girls Can - Beauty Redefined: Health & Wellness First.” Moderated by Soledad O’Brien, this interactive seminar for young girls and women explores the many facets of beauty with a concerted emphasis on health and wellness. Immediately following the town hall, MSM will host a community health fair with screenings, fitness demonstrations, information on healthy living and community resources, and interactive Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) interactive exhibits and experiments for youth. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the City of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department will be onsite with additional services and information.

  A full schedule of events, registration information, and school investiture traditions can be found on the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Inauguration website.

About Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice

Dr. Montgomery Rice is the President and CEO of Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and the first woman to lead the free-standing medical institution. She is a renowned infertility specialist and researcher, and most recently served as dean and executive vice president of MSM, where she served since 2011. In this role, she led MSM’s widespread academic and clinical programs in health sciences and led its strategic planning initiatives for patient care, research and community engagement.

Dr. Montgomery Rice is the founder and former director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., where she also served as dean of the School of Medicine and senior vice president of health affairs. The Center for Women’s Health Research is one of the nation’s first research centers devoted to studying diseases that disproportionately impact women of color. Prior to joining Meharry Medical College, Dr. Montgomery Rice held numerous administrative and faculty appointments at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Her dedication to health care research, preventative care and mentoring are manifested in every aspect of her work and life.  As such, Dr. Montgomery Rice has been honored with membership in numerous organizations and boards, and has received countless awards. A Georgia native, Dr. Montgomery Rice holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine and her fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Hutzel.

Hospital in Detroit, Mich. She also completed the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program at Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Penn.

About Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM)

Founded in 1975, MSM is among the nation's leading educators of primary care physicians and was recognized by Annals of Internal Medicine in 2011 as the top institution in the first study of U.S. medical schools for our social mission based on our production of primary care physicians, training of underrepresented minority doctors and placement of doctors practicing in underserved communities. Our faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care.

Morehouse School of Medicine is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctorate and master's degrees. For more information, please visit


Jennifer Linke

Ronna Charles Nu'Man