December 6, 2016

McKenna Young
484-385-2913 (office)
[email protected]

Morehouse School of Medicine President and Dean Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice to Receive 2017 Horatio Alger Award
Horatio Alger Association names 11 exceptional individuals, each of whom has overcome significant challenges to achieve professional and personal success, to its Member Class of 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 6, 2016) – 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 has been annually bestowed upon 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 (OM), 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 lagged behind in school, due to her condition, and was required to take an alternative bus with mentally challenged students. Dr. Montgomery Rice formed a special relationship with these children, and they shaped her desire to serve marginalized populations. 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. She began her career in medicine in 1993 at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Henry Ford Medical Center and Meharry Medical College where she held faculty appointments and leadership roles. 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 and 2011 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “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. We are proud to welcome her into the Association as part of this outstanding class of new Members.”

Dr. Montgomery Rice strongly believes in utilizing her leadership role to give back to the community, especially to advance the educational opportunities available to underprivileged youth. She donates to – and supports – many organizations, including the Girl Scouts of America, the National Medical Fellows, March of Dimes, the Society for Women’s Health Research, the United Negro College Fund and the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, among others. Most recently, Dr. Montgomery Rice and the Morehouse School of Medicine adopted the Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy, a Title I elementary school, and developed a STEM lab, group and individual mentoring programs and quarterly programming in collaboration with corporations. 

“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.”

Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this goal, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need. Scholarships are privately funded solely through the generosity of Association Members, Life Partners and friends.

Dr. Montgomery Rice and the Member Class of 2017 will be formally inducted into the Association on March 30-April 1, 2017, during the Association’s 70th Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2017, please visit and/or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoratioAlgerAward.


About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, the Association awards more than $12 million annually in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada and provides college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit