Duncan Rice

Sir Charles Duncan Rice (born 20 October 1942) is a Scottish academic who was Principal of the University of Aberdeen from September 1996 till 1 April 2010. He previously served at New York University in the United States, as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science (1985–91) and Vice-Chancellor (1991–96).


Duncan Rice
Principal of the University of Aberdeen
In office
Succeeded byProf Sir Ian Diamond
Personal details
Born (1942-10-20) 20 October 1942 (age 77)
Aberdeen, Scotland
Spouse(s)Dame Susan Rice
Alma materUniversity of Aberdeen

Early lifeEdit

Rice was born in Aberdeen and studied History at the University of Aberdeen, graduating with a First in 1964. He then began lecturing at the University while completing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, awarded in 1969.[1]


In 1970, Rice was appointed Assistant Professor of History at Yale University, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1975. In 1979, he was appointed Professor History at Hamilton College, in Clinton, New York, and in 1985 as Professor of History and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University, being promoted to Vice-Chancellor in 1994. In 1996, he was appointed Principal of the University of Aberdeen.[1]

Rice has published widely as a professional historian, and has received honorary degrees from New York University and the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen as well as fellowships at Harvard and Yale, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He serves on the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for Scotland, is Honorary Vice-President of Scottish Opera and is Chair of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (Europe).[1]

He has previously served on the Boards of Scottish Enterprise Grampian, Scottish Opera/Ballet, BT Scotland, and The National Trust for Scotland. He was Chairman of the Circumpolar Universities Association from 1997–1999, is a former Chairman of the UK Socrates-Erasmus Trust, and a former member of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association Board. He was knighted in 2009 for services to higher education.[1]

Notable publicationsEdit

The Rise and Fall of Black Slavery (1975)
The Scots Abolitionists 1833–1861 (1981)


The Sir Duncan Rice Library was completed in 2011. It was designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen. Initially it was known as Aberdeen University New Library, but on 21 September 2012 the building's name was changed to honour Rice, who had been Principal of the university during the time that the project was conceived and the funds were raised.[2] The library was opened by the Queen on 24 September 2012.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Principal's Biography". University of Aberdeen. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
  2. ^ "Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Campus, Sir Duncan Rice Library". Canmore. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Queen opens new library at Aberdeen University". BBC News. 24 September 2012.