(Atlanta) - When current Morehouse School of Medicine President John Maupin, Jr. announced Friday his planned retirement, he set the stage for a Maconite to make history.

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, a native of Macon, has been named Maupin's successor as president, according to a news release from the Morehouse School of Medicine.

She will assume the role next year and retain her position as dean.

In the process, she becomes the first African-American woman to lead a free-standing American medical school as its chief executive officer.

Montgomery-Rice is a Harvard-educated obstetrician and gynecologist, who was named executive vice president and dean at Morehouse in 2011.

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