Each year Indiana University recognizes outstanding alumni with the Distinguished Alumni Service Award (DASA), the highest accolade reserved solely for alumni. The awardees are leaders in their chosen fields. They also make significant contributions benefiting their community, state, nation, or university.
This year, yet another IU School of Public Health-Bloomington alumnus has been selected by Indiana University to receive the prestigious award.
On November 15, 2013, IU President Michael A. McRobbie presented the award to Roderick R. Paige (MS’62, physical education; PED.’70, physical education) in a ceremony in Alumni Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union.
The son of educators, Roderick R. Paige’s career was grounded on a belief that education equalizes opportunity. Starting as a classroom teacher, he ascended to a college dean and school superintendent to become the seventh U.S. secretary of education, serving from 2001 to 2005.
As a trustee and officer of the Houston Independent School District’s board of education, Paige co-authored a statement of purpose and goals for the troubled district that called for fundamental reform. The result was described as the “Houston Miracle.” He strengthened the school system both organizationally and academically by addressing school overcrowding, staffing, pay, performance-based instruction, and support services and programs.
In 1994, he became superintendent of the Houston schools, and his reforms laid the groundwork for his appointment by President George W. Bush as U.S. secretary of education. He was the first African American to serve in that position.
During his career, Paige also wasan instructor at Texas Southern University, served as dean of its College of Education, and established the Texas Southern University Center for Excellence in Urban Education. He has been touted as a tireless worker for underprivileged segments of our society.
For his decorated career as an educator and for his public service to the nation, Indiana University and the IU School of Public-Health-Bloomington proudly celebrate the life and work of Dr. Roderick R. Paige as a Distinguished Alumnus.