About RCEL

To inspire, educate, and develop, ethical leaders in technology who will excel in research, industry, non-engineering career paths, or entrepreneurship.

The Rice Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL) was established in 2009 with a gift from John ’73, ’74, and Ann ’75 Doerr. The official Engineering Leadership Certificate was approved in 2014. RCEL’s mission is to prepare engineers to become inspiring leaders, exceptional team members, effective communicators, and bold entrepreneurs.

RCEL’s programing enhances a traditional engineering education by providing skills not typically covered in the Rice engineering curriculum. Through a series of curricular and co-curricular learning experiences, RCEL students learn to create and communicate a vision, build a high-performing team, form and execute collaborative plans, and create innovations that endure.

The Need for Engineering Leaders

Many of the most important changes in the world today are driven by the creations of engineers. Breakthroughs in computing and biotechnology, for example, are changing the way people communicate, learn, and heal. Engineering leaders are at the forefront of these advancements, and RCEL’s Certificate program is intended to build the skills, motivations, and opportunities needed to become an engineering leader.

RCEL Engineering Leadership Certificate

At the center of RCEL is the Engineering Leadership Certificate, an accredited academic credential aimed at preparing students for their first leadership role after graduation. The multi-year certificate program comprises a series of courses, labs, and RCEL-specific learning experiences that supplement the core curriculum of the School of Engineering. The RCEL Certificate Program allows students to learn fundamentals of engineering leadership, practice their leadership skills while participating in engineering-based hands-on activities, give and receive coaching, and critically reflect on their leadership experiences through a series of structured self-assessments. Read more about the Certificate and the requirements here.

The Doerr Connection


In 2010, John and Ann Doerr, ’73 and ’75, respectively, wanted to create engineering leadership at Rice University. Through their generous gift, the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership was formed. 

“We wanted to find a program that would take the amazing talent that there is at Rice and challenge it,” said John. “Kick it up a notch so that … the genius of Rice students to understand and solve problems could be amplified…  Those interests of ours, married with the vision of Rice faculty, which has always valued undergraduate education, allowed us together to come up with this Center for Engineering Leadership.”

In 2015, the Doerrs extended their support of leadership at Rice University through a $50 million gift to establish the Doerr Institute for New Leaders. The Institute will promote leadership across the curriculum, giving each student the chance to develop into an effective leader.