The Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University Names Bernard Banks as Its New Director

Bernard “Bernie” Banks will join Rice University’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders as its director, effective January 1. He is a noted expert on leadership and organizational change, a sought-after speaker, and an Army veteran.

The Doerr Institute, which is not affiliated with a school or other institute at Rice, develops all students who want to increase their leadership capacity, regardless of age or experience. The mission is to elevate the leadership capacity of Rice students — both undergraduate and graduate — across the university.

“Now, more than ever, the world needs leaders who demonstrate deep compassion, strong moral integrity, and extraordinary empathy. Bernie embodies these characteristics and will be a wonderful example for Rice’s developing student leaders,” said Ann Doerr, who founded the institute with her husband, John, both Rice University graduates.

Dr. Banks comes to Rice from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where he has been serving as associate dean for leadership development and inclusion and clinical professor of management and organizations. Dr. Banks retired from the Army as a brigadier general in 2016 after leading the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s department of behavioral sciences and leadership. While at West Point, Banks also directed its Eisenhower Leaders Development Program, which offers officers — primarily captains and majors who have been commanders in military organizations around the globe — the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in social-organizational psychology through Columbia University.

“The opportunity to join the amazing community of scholars and practitioners associated with the Doerr Institute and Rice University is truly humbling,” Dr. Banks said. “Their collective commitment to developing ethical leaders intent on making positive contributions to communities and organizations around the globe is awe-inspiring. It is my great hope that our collaboration and dedication to Doerr’s mission results in elevating the state of the art for leader development in educational settings (and beyond).”

Dr. Banks is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. He holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and York University’s Schulich School of Business, a master of public administration degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University, and a master of strategic studies degree from the United States Army War College. Dr. Banks earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University.

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