Rice University: Rice’s top tech exec headed for Harvard

After almost seven years of outstanding leadership, Rice’s top technology executive will be leaving her post to accept a position at Harvard University.

Klara Jelinkova, Rice’s vice president for international operations and information technology, plans to depart from her position in September to become Harvard’s vice president and chief information officer.

Jelinkova has been a key member of President David Leebron’s leadership group responsible for a wide range of technology issues and international operations. As the university’s top IT executive during the earliest weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, she spearheaded the team that guided Rice through the massive technological challenges posed by the sudden conversion to entirely remote learning.

“We brought Klara to Rice to build a central informational technology operation, and she has succeeded spectacularly,” Leebron said. “In every area, from research computing to cybersecurity to building new administrative systems, she has led the effort to vastly improve our operations. She has contributed immensely both to our strategies and their implementation across numerous areas, and we’ll miss her greatly.”

Jelinkova has played a leading role in developing IT strategies that support the university’s core education and research missions. The university’s office of information technology, information security office and international operations team all report to her. She has represented the university nationally and internationally, leading Rice to receive CIO 100 Innovation Awards in 2018 and 2019. She was also named the 2021 Houston nonprofit CIO of the year.

“Rice is an amazing community. Being able to contribute to its success and trajectory has been an incredible honor and privilege” Jelinkova said. “I am thankful for the partnership with faculty, students and staff and the support of my colleagues in university administration. I’m proud of what the OIT team has achieved and I’m grateful for the support we’ve enjoyed from the Rice community.”

Jelinkova has extensive experience as an information technology executive for prestigious academic institutions. She came to Rice after stints at the University of Chicago (where she served as chief information officer and senior associate vice president), Duke University (as assistant vice president of shared services and infrastructure as well as interim chief information security officer) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (in various roles including senior strategist for research computing). She is also been a leading figure in research networking as well as identity and access management. She received an Internet2 President’s Leadership Award in 2019.

Among the major initiatives the IT staff completed under Jelinkova’s leadership are the deployment of ImagineOne, OwlConnect, the Canvas learning management system, a shared webhosting platform, new network and Voice over Internet Protocol projects and substantial improvements in Rice’s cybersecurity posture.

Jelinkova, an immigrant from the Czech Republic, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in economics and Slavic languages and earned a master’s degree in education from Boston University.

Comments are closed.