Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean, Morehouse School of Medicine, has been selected for membership in the prestigious organization. Dr. Montgomery Rice joins 10 other esteemed business and civic leaders from across North America in receiving this honor in 2017. For the last 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award is annually bestowed on admirable leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversity, and who are committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.
Dr. Montgomery Rice was born in Macon, GA where she and her three sisters were raised by her hardworking single mother. At age seven, Dr. Montgomery Rice suffered from Osteomyelitis, and was hospitalized for three months. OM is a rare yet serious condition that presents with fever and pain over the bone area secondary to an infection. The disease had taken a toll on her physical strength, yet her determination never wavered.
She worked hard in school and was awarded academic scholarships to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Montgomery Rice then received her MD from Harvard Medical School and completed residency training at Emory University School of Medicine.
An internationally renowned reproductive endocrinologist, she returned to Georgia in 2011 to take a role as the dean and executive vice president of Morehouse School of Medicine, and later became the first female president in the school’s history. Under Dr. Montgomery Rice’s leadership, the school embraces a new vision to lead the creation and advancement of health equity. She has nearly doubled the MD class size, orchestrated several renovation projects and the construction of a student pavilion, and secured more than $70 million in institutional funding, capital projects and scholarships to further diversify Georgia’s healthcare professionals.
“Valerie’s incredible accomplishments and work ethic perfectly reflect the principles of this organization,” said Byron Trott, president, Horatio Alger Association. “We speak often of the American Dream, and few individuals better capture the power of that dream than Valerie. An internationally recognized doctor and dedicated philanthropist, she will serve as an important role model for both current and Alumni Scholars.”
“From a young age, I witnessed my mother’s strength and resilience in the face of great challenges,” Dr. Montgomery Rice commented. “She taught me to strive for the impossible and to never give up on my dreams. As part of the Horatio Alger Association, I hope to inspire young people and instill those same values within them. I understand what it is like to experience hardships, and I look forward to working with these remarkable Scholars, bearing witness to their achievement of big and bold dreams.”