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The Magazine of Rice University

FALL 2016

50 Celebrating

Years of Black Undergraduate Life at Rice


Summer Ball, Gotta Catch ’Em All and Emergency Calls


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The Magazine of Rice University

FALL 2016

Contents F EATUR ES


GIFTED AND BLACK Rice commemorates the 50th anniversary of desegregation and celebrates black undergraduate life on campus.



For Rice baseball players, a summer in Cape Cod means nightly games on fields cooled by ocean breezes.


NIGHT OWL BY Jenny Blair

Andi Tenner ’01 works around the clock and travels the world as an emergency physician.



Members of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, including Rice’s Ford Proctor (No. 4), take the field for a night of play in the Cape Cod Summer League. Photograph by Jared Leeds

P R E S I D E N T ’ S N OT E 


S A L LY P O R T  News and views from campus


SCOREBOARD Dispatches from Rice Athletics


A B ST R ACT  Findings, research and more


ARTS & LETTERS  Creative ideas and endeavors





Featured Contributors

Our website features select content from our print edition, multimedia stories, fresh updates between issues and a link to our flip-through magazine (and archives) via ISSUU.

Larry Clow

(“The Old Ball Game”) writes and lives on the southern Maine coast. He’s still apologizing for the time he accidentally hit his father in the face with a baseball at Little League practice some 25 years ago. Jared Leeds

(“The Old Ball Game”) is a portrait, lifestyle and documentary photographer based in Boston. When not producing work for clients or shooting his own personal work, he points his lens at his wife and twin daughters, much to their irritation. He also spends a lot of time riding bikes in the woods. Yvonne Taylor


Barrier Reef Ecology Intrepid Rice videographer Brandon Martin accompanied André Droxler, professor of earth science, and a group of graduate students to Belize to study carbonates. See what they were up to at VIDEO

“I was just so proud in that moment.” Check out an eight-minute video that explores the state of black life on campus today. The video, produced by Rice’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations along with the Association of Rice University Black Alumni, accompanies our feature, “Gifted and Black: A Half-Century of Black Undergraduate Life at Rice.”

(“Ted Henderson” and “Linda Faye Williams”) is a higher education communications strategist with a keen interest in diversity, inclusion and social change. She lives in Austin. Thandiwe Tshabalala

(“Gifted and Black”) is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Cape Town, South Africa.

From Instagram to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and more, we document the daily goings-on about campus and far beyond. ISSUU









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Cover illustration by Thandiwe Tshabalala


Want More Rice News and Views?


The Magazine of Rice University

Rice’s first Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day vigil, 1974

Fall 2016 Rice Magazine is published four times a year and is sent to university alumni, faculty, staff, parents of undergraduates and friends of the university. Published by the Office of Public Affairs Linda Thrane, vice president EDITOR











Jade Boyd, Jeff Falk, Amy McCaig, Brandon Martin, David Medina, Kendall Schoemann, Jan West, Mike Williams INTERNS

Natalie Danckers ’17 Taegan Howells ’18

Oh What a Lovely Precious Dream


I F T Y Y E A R S AG O, the first two black undergraduate students were admitted to Rice. This past year, the Association of Rice University Black Alumni joined Rice leaders, faculty and students to mark this milestone with a series of thoughtful programs. Black alumni from the past five decades came to campus to share stories and renew friendships; professors celebrated today’s students and addressed the issue of faculty diversity; our students shared their dreams for nurturing an even more inclusive and welcoming campus community. “What’s clear is that we’ve come a long way since the 1960s,” said Provost Marie Lynn Miranda. “What’s also clear is that we have a long way to go. One of the things about creating diverse and inclusive communities is that you have to be in it for the long game.” Such enlivening and informative conversations — along with Nina Simone’s stirring civil rights anthem — inspired us to create a visual history timeline and oral histories, beginning on Page 20. Sometimes a story idea hangs around for a few years, waiting for just the right moment to bring to light. Last summer, we realized a longtime dream to follow Rice baseball players

in the 131-year-old Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL). This and other amateur summer ball leagues across the country draw locals, tourists and scouts to see “the stars of tomorrow shine tonight,” as the CCBL tagline promises. “The Old Ball Game” captures the grace and nostalgia of summer ball on the Cape. But, as the stars of late-night infomercials once said, “Wait! There’s more!” Our “Night Owl” series continues with a profile of Andi Tenner ’01, an emergency physician who specializes in tropical infectious diseases and humanitarian crisis response. In our research department, we asked nine faculty members who are experts in presidential elections, electoral behavior and computer security to weigh in on this contentious election. Not in contention at all is the classroom wisdom of sought-after historian Lisa Balabanlilar. All this and Wiess College traditions, “Six Degrees of Valhalla” and destructive mayhem in Rice Gallery. There’s plenty to peruse here and more online at Thanks for reading. Lynn Gosnell m aga z i n e . ric e . e du   3



To the Editor

Robert B. Tudor III, chairman; Edward B. “Teddy” Adams Jr.; J.D. Bucky Allshouse; Doyle Arnold; Nancy Packer Carlson; Albert Chao; T. Jay Collins; Mark Dankberg; Ann Doerr; Doug Foshee; Lawrence Guffey; James T. Hackett; Patti Kraft; Robert T. Ladd; Charles Landgraf; David Rhodes; Ruth Simmons; Jeffery Smisek; Amy Sutton; Gloria Meckel Tarpley; Guillermo Treviño; Randa Duncan Williams; Scott Wise; Huda Zoghbi.

I am very proud to be a Rice Owl. It’s one of the very best decisions that I ever made. So I was extremely disappointed to read in the last Rice Magazine about McMurtry College burning a Wicker Man. The Wicker Man story was apparently started by a Greek writer named Posidonius in the first century B.C.; he was a propagandist who wanted the Romans to take over Europe. There is no archaeological evidence to support [the Wicker Man]. Celtic studies are academic subjects worthy of honest scholarly attention in our universities. Instead, we get behavior mocking Highland heritage. Hundreds of thousands of Scottish Highlanders were forced out of their homes during the Highland Clearances of the late 1700s and 1800s. Many died and many others emigrated to avoid starvation. I’d like to see McMurtry College residents learn something about real Scottish history, heritage, culture and language, instead of being taught bigotry.  — Jill A. Oglesby ’87 RE: STRANGER AS FICTION

It has been many years since I read Larry McMurtry’s Houston trilogy, but I am fairly confident that Bill Duffin was modeled on the late Jackson Cope, a brilliant Miltonist whose time in the English department overlapped with Larry’s time in graduate school at Rice. There are significant differences between Cope and the fictive Duffin, but no other English faculty member in those years seems to have been a likely model.  — C. Earl Ramsey ’59

Evan Casher, the main character in my 2005 novel, “Panic,” is a recent Rice grad who is a documentary filmmaker. In “Collision,” a man named Khaled who is working undercover in penetrating a terrorist group is nearly exposed when he runs unexpectedly into an old friend, a well-meaning young woman named Roula who is studying architecture at Rice.  — Jeff Abbott ’85 Abbott recently joined the board of the Association of Rice Alumni.

Selected Quarterly Survey Results MOST-READ DEPARTMENT

Sallyport (Unconventional Wisdom, Writing Home, Syllabus and more campus news)


“Lighter Than Air” tells the story of the delicate model airplanes created and flown in competition by Yuan Kang Lee ’92.

Have a comment, criticism or story idea? Write to us at 4 

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David W. Leebron, president; Marie Lynn Miranda, provost; Kathy Collins, vice president for Finance; Klara Jelinkova, vice president for IT and chief information officer; Kevin Kirby, vice president for Administration; Caroline Levander, vice president of Strategic Initiatives and Digital Education; Chris Muñoz, vice president for Enrollment; Allison Kendrick Thacker, vice president for Investments and treasurer; Linda Thrane, vice president for Public Affairs; Richard A. Zansitis, vice president and general counsel; Darrow Zeidenstein, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations. E DITORIAL OFFICES

Creative Services–MS 95 P.O. Box 1892 Houston, TX 77251-1892 Phone: 713-348-6768 POSTMASTE R

Send address changes to: Rice University Development Services–MS 80 P.O. Box 1892 Houston, TX 77251-1892 ©November 2016 Rice University


The article in the Summer 2016 issue on master sommelier David Keck of course reminded me of the article in the Summer 2007 issue on master of wine Patricia Crosby Stefanowicz ’76. Turns out there are two highly competitive wine titles, each with around 300 members worldwide, and Rice has (at least) one of each. Who could possibly have made the error on Page 7 of the same issue, saying that “Moving On” … is the SECOND book in Larry McMurtry’s Houston trilogy? “Moving On” (1970), “All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers” (1972) and “Terms of Endearment” (1975). Aren’t these required reading in every Rice freshman literature syllabus?  — Louis R. Hedgecock ’76

president’s note


Toward Justice



celebrated 50 years of black undergraduate life at Rice. It was a joyous and passionate celebration, but a celebration that had its origin in historical wrong. One hundred and four years ago, our university began a journey. It began with a grand and ambitious vision — a vision of a great university in Houston. But it also began with a deep flaw, an odious flaw, a flaw which excluded deserving people from the benefits of that institution. Only after more than half a century, as the university faced various pressures, did it move to integrate by seeking a change in its founding charter. We now celebrate the extraordinary contribution that our black students and graduates have made over that time, but we cannot do so without acknowledging first the terrible wrongfulness of what preceded that change. Just a few years before the integration of Rice, President John F. Kennedy came to speak on the space program at Rice Stadium. In my favorite passage from the speech, he asked: “But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?” And he answered that question with these famous words: “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win ....” Vice President Joe Biden recently quoted those words in a speech at Rice on the Cancer Moonshot initiative. That endeavor and those cited by President Kennedy are challenges of technology and physical prowess. But the aspi-

rations expressed are no less applicable to broader societal challenges we face. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Every step towards the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle.” Realizing the justice referred to by King is hard, and it was hard for him and others to march in pursuit of that cause through the streets of Selma. Reducing inequality is hard, as it was for Rosa Parks to take a seat at the front of the bus. Achieving educational equity is hard, as we know from the experiences of the Little Rock Nine or James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. But we must choose also to pursue these goals, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, and they are just, and we are unwilling to postpone them. A half-century ago, the first African-American students chose to come to Rice. They did not choose to come to Rice because it was easy. In Houston and at Rice, people did advocate for racial equality and equal opportunity. They did not do so because it was easy, but because it was right. And for those first students who came to Rice — Raymond Johnson as a graduate student and Jacqueline McCauley, Charles Edward Freeman III, Linda Faye Williams and Theodore Marshall Henderson as undergraduates — it was hard, even if many in the Rice community welcomed and supported them. This year, we celebrate 50 years of black student life. We remember those who chose 50 years ago to do what was hard, but so clearly right. And we celebrate our commitment to continue to do the hard work of building a diverse and just society in which all have a chance to experience and benefit from the extraordinary opportunity that Rice provides.

And we celebrate our commitment to continue to do the hard work of building a diverse and just society in which all have a chance to experience and benefit from the extraordinary opportunity that Rice provides. The weekend culminated in a gala dinner titled “Blueprint for Excellence.” As I looked out across the audience, populated not only by African-American students and alumni, but also by many others there to support this milestone, it was clear that we would be so much poorer a community without these students, faculty and administrators. We would have contributed so much less to our world without these graduates of Rice. Diversity is indeed a part of the blueprint for excellence, and we at Rice are committed to that blueprint. In his 1965 speech on the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Ala., Martin Luther King drew on the words of Theodore Parker, a Unitarian minister, from a century earlier: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I like to think it bends as well toward a shared joy in the diversity of humanity. It often seems, in light of the news that assaults us each day, that this must be a naïve belief. I wish every member of the Rice community could have attended this half-century milestone to see for themselves the joyfulness of that celebration. We are a vastly different university than we were when our first black students arrived, and indeed are often recognized as among the most diverse universities in the country. There is of course a great deal of work that remains to be done. We can all be inspired by what has been gained as we resolve to accept the challenges of achieving justice and equality, and to continue to do those things that are hard. m aga z i n e . ric e . e du   5


N e ws a n d VIEWS f ro m Ca m p u s

KNOWN FOR QUAINT WALKWAYS LINED WITH CENTURY-OLD OAK TREES AND PUBLIC art, Rice’s campus added a rather unconventional badge of honor to its résumé this summer — becoming a gold mine for spotting Pokemon. Reigniting the ’90s craze with its July release, “Pokemon Go” rippled through campus, prompting Rice students and visitors alike to try to “catch ’em all.” And fortunately for students, Rice’s campus is one of the top spots for catching Pokemon in Houston. For those not familiar, the “Pokemon Go” app uses the GPS on users’ phones to reveal Pokemon in realworld surroundings, like atop the Edgar Odell Lovett statue or beneath the twinkling lights of Valhalla’s courtyard. A new form of social interaction, the app creates an opportunity for students to meet new friends and interact with peers as they progress along their virtual journey. So the next time you find yourself on campus, take advantage of the Pokemon hot spot. You never know who you might befriend. Just make sure to look up every once in a while. — KENDALL SCHOEMANN 6 

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Gotta Catch ’Em All

sa lly p o rt


Where Pigs Fly


IN 1983, WHEN Wiessmen first trotted out their mascot — the War Pig — it was a small facsimile made of pig iron. Soon the iconoclastic icon went airborne, in the form of a jury-rigged balloon made of extra large trash bags held together with duct tape. Several incarnations met untimely ends, culminating in a Beer Bike weekend when, according to Stan Dodds [associate professor of physics and astronomy]

the rope was inadvertently cut and “it was last seen heading for West U.” Abandoning the “pigs will fly” theme, Wiess eventually settled for the terrestrial form it currently features at Beer Bike. Members of the freshman class drag the wheeled War Pig to the stadium. Despite Rice’s engineering prowess, the small bus-sized contraption is difficult to steer. “Last year, during the parade, the freshmen had an especially hard time getting it to go where they wanted,” said junior Rachel Lambert. “It was pretty funny to watch, and even led to the other

colleges thinking up a new anti-cheer for Wiess: ‘Wiess can’t drive!’” Wiess has made other contributions to Rice life — such as the Night of Decadence (NOD) party. George Pharr ’75, who became master of Wiess in the early 1990s, attended the first NOD in 1972. There were only about 30 male revelers in attendance. According to George Webb ’88, the themes of the annual frolic have morphed from “classically apocalyptic” (Fall of Rome, Armageddon) to movie puns (Lust in Space, 2001: A Space NODyssey) to more bawdy titles. Wiess has also made its mark with the beloved homegrown musical “Hello Hamlet!” Written by George Greanias ’70, it was first performed in 1967 with Greanias in the title role. Putting old show tunes to the Shakespeare classic (“There is Nothing Like a Dane”), the play is now staged every four years by Wiess Tabletop Theater. When the stress of dragging large wooden pigs across campus, coming up with salacious party themes and staging a “musical travesty” gets to be too much, there’s Mom’s Kitchen. Launched in 2006 by Carlyn Chatfield, a publicist and web editor in the computer science department, Mom’s Kitchen began as two-hour cooking classes for any interested parties at one of the Wiess communal kitchens. Eventually, the sessions evolved into culinary study breaks. Junior Joshua Kaye extols the fare, which ranges from kolaches to chili. Mom’s Kitchen can provide more than just sustenance, though: “It comes at a critical time during the semester,” Kaye said. “Sometimes, you just need a hug.”  — FRANZ BROTZEN ’80


Things They Carried What do freshmen bring to Rice, besides school supplies?


Rain boots and an umbrella To stay dry in the Houston weather and campus “lakes.”



Because late-night snack attacks can strike without warning — and when the servery is closed.


Photos To stave off homesickness (and remind you to call your mom).


A hammock To transform Rice’s low-hanging, weight-bearing live oaks into an outdoor lounge.


Noise-canceling headphones Because dorm walls are thinner than you’d think. m aga z i n e . ric e . e du   7

sa lly p o rt | U nc o n ve n t i o na l wi s d o m

The Storyteller

Beware of asking historian Lisa Balabanlilar to tell you a little about her research areas — Mughal dynasties, women in Islamic history, imperial pleasure gardens and more. You’ll soon wish you could sign up for an entire class. Her infectious enthusiasm, encyclopedic knowledge and wicked sense of humor draw students to the classroom and alumni to the tours she leads through the Rice Traveling Owls program. Did an unconventional path to academia shape her teaching? We sat down with Balabanlilar soon after she’d been awarded the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching to learn more. Taking the long way to academia When I was a head resident fellow at McMurtry College, the adult team would host events and tell hilarious stories about their pasts. That’s how the word got out that I went back to school at age 38 to finish my bachelor’s, while raising a daughter and working part time as a waitress. Before going back to school, I’d traveled the world and lived and worked in Turkey. That’s where I ran a restaurant. The students were fascinated. I don’t really talk about [my story] in the classroom, but it comes up in the context of academic advising or going to graduate school.

‘History is useful!’ Because I had lived in Turkey and spoke the language, I had a dream of moving back there to work in refugee camps. But as I was finishing up my undergrad degree, my mentor said I should go to graduate school. He said, “You have to be a historian,” but I said I wanted to do something useful. He raged at me, “History is useful! History is useful!”

Finding a field When I went to Ohio State 8 

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sa l ly p o rt

for grad school, I studied Ottoman imperial history (roughly the 13th through the early 20th century). And yet I found Ottoman history to be very bureaucratic. The Ottomans were record keepers, so there’s a lot of dry, clerical documentation — tax and land records. You end up doing a history that is really kind of bloodless.

Falling in love with Indian Mughal history I took a series of classes from Steven Frederick Dale, who worked on India and the Islamic world, and who wrote a book about Babur, the 16th-century founder of the Mughal Empire. They were Turco-Mongol, descendants of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, their culture heavily influenced by Persian ideas. That’s a lot more interesting to me than the scribbles of bureaucrats and clerks. About four years into my graduate program, I went to Dale and told him I wanted to switch areas. He said, “Start studying Persian tomorrow.”

Renaissance people Some scholars describe a sort of renaissance in 15th-century Timurid Central Asia. Like in Renaissance Italy, the artists and intellectuals of this time and place are interested in the individual, painting portraits, writing autobiography. So four members of this Mughal dynasty, including a woman, wrote meaningful memoirs. These were all public documents, not secret diaries, but they were deeply personal

I’m a cultural historian, so my focus is on artwork and poetry and the landscape and religion. I think students are starving for this information — topics like Sufi Islam, the poets Rumi and Hafez, who is my favorite. I still can’t believe that I found and get to teach this stuff that I love. all the same. Many were translated by the 18th- and 19th-century Orientalist scholars of Europe, and the original manuscripts are now in the British Library.

Studying Jahangir The guy I study is the Mughal emperor Jahangir [the fourth Mughal emperor of India, whose son Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal], who was a drunk and an opium addict. He married a powerful older woman who ended up being his co-regent, and he adored her. In his memoir, he wrote about his alcoholism and how he’d replaced it with opium. These are complicated and utterly fascinating human characters.

the gamut — that could be very liberal, passionate and devotional. This austerity that people now perceive as being inherently Islamic is not representative of the history of Islamic rule. Islam in Northern India in the 16th and 17th centuries was intellectual and tolerant and fascinated by the human relationship with the deity. And that Islam still exists across the world.

Up close and personal [Living in McMurtry] made me much more aware of the calendar of Rice student life. Now, I understand better what their stresses are and the fact that they have meetings and things scheduled at 10 and 11 at night. They sleep in because they’re exhausted. They work too much; it sensitized me to that.

Beyond battles

Slow learning

I’m a cultural historian, so my focus is on artwork and poetry and the landscape and religion. I think students are starving for this information — topics like Sufi Islam, the poets Rumi and Hafez, who is my favorite. I still can’t believe that I found and get to teach this stuff that I love.

I am an advocate of slow learning in that I think you need time to cogitate. And if you are just packing your brain with ideas and concepts and data all the time, you’re rushing from class to class, you’ve got three majors, then you’re not going to be the same kind of person, intellect, scholar, human being that you could be if you were to kind of slow down, think about what it all means, make those connections — or not. Take a nap. Stop. Get off the wheel.

Then and now Americans don’t know much about Islam, and they’re not to blame for only knowing what they’re told, which tends to be a narrow, hysterical and biased interpretation. But what I do try to reinforce in every class I teach is that there are models for Muslim rule that cross


This interview was edited and condensed for clarity and space. m aga z i n e . ric e . e du   9

sa lly p o rt | sy ll a b u s


The Marmot of Wall Street Marmots, as everyone knows, make terrible investors. That’s why Jones Graduate School of Business Professor Alex Butler invokes them throughout his popular undergraduate course on financial management: as a warning for what not to do. Early in the course, he shows students a slide of a snarling wolf, then of a yellow-bellied marmot. “Why do wolves eat marmots but not hedge fund managers?” he asked. “Because hedge fund managers understand the time value of money, and marmots do not.” Marmots — and their ignorance of key financial concepts — pop up frequently, exemplifying Butler’s colorful teaching style and becoming an unofficial class mascot. COURSE

BUSI 343

Financial Management (Fall 2016)

DEPARTMENT Business DESCRIPTION This course introduces students to the core concepts of corporate finance. Students will learn how to evaluate prospective investments in order to make valueenhancing choices in a company. Topics include capital budgeting, modern portfolio theory and market efficiency.


HIGHLIGHTS Watch out for wolves Financial decision-making formulas are complicated enough that students bring calculators to every class to crunch numbers. But Butler’s larger lesson is more straightforward: Beware of investments that seem too good to be true. Armed with an array of forecasting tools that can predict vastly different outcomes using the same raw data, students see how numbers can be manipulated to serve an agenda. “I want them to not take what is given to them at face value,” Butler explained.

Buffett — and many have tried. “You see movies where people make millions of dollars because they wrote this brilliant algorithm, but that’s actually pretty unlikely,” said senior Natalie Danckers, an English and psychology double major who is taking the class. That’s no reflection on the students’ abilities, Butler said. “These students are wicked smart, they’re good at statistics, they have all the skills. But if you think you can sit in one undergraduate finance class and then go out there and beat the market, it’s not going to happen.”

How to beat the system Many of Butler’s students come to class eager to learn the secret to beating the market. What they learn is that there is no one way to unlock its treasures. Even the smartest people using the best analytical tools are unlikely to become the next Warren

“Princess Bride” fan fiction In a lesson on choosing the most profitable project for a company to pursue, Butler used beloved film characters to stand in for various decision-making tools. “It’s a little-known fact that Chapter 5 [of the course’s textbook, ‘Corporate Finance’] is actually a fan-fiction sequel to ‘The Princess Bride,’” he told students. In his telling, the most trustworthy decision-making tool represented the film’s hero, Westley; a good but less reliable tool was Inigo Montoya; a “beautiful but underutilized” tool was Princess Buttercup; and a highly complex, hard-to-use tool was the Cliffs of Insanity. The conceit made class

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more entertaining and the lesson more memorable, said Sawyer Knight, a senior economics major, drawing on another film analogy. “[Butler’s teaching style] reminds me of a similar adage from Robin Williams’ character in ‘Good Will Hunting’: ‘Be good at what you do, but don’t take it so seriously you forget to enjoy it along the way.’” Better teaching through brain science It’s no accident that Butler’s teaching style is highly visual and often funny; his techniques are based on cognitive science principles for heightening student comprehension and retention, as outlined in John Medina’s book “Brain Rules.” “It’s not just me being goofy — it’s ‘Brain Rules,’” Butler explained. “We remember images much better than words. We remember things better when they’re emotionally charged — things that are funny, things that are scary, things that are food, things that are not appropriate for the classroom.” To create an optimal lesson plan, he started by picking something scary: an image of a hungry-looking wolf. “Then I thought, ‘What do wolves eat?’ Well, a main food source in the U.S. is marmots.” Thus, the financial management marmot was born.  — JENNIFER LATSON


Grüße aus Frankfurt!

[Greetings from Frankfurt!] PAUL CANNON ’13


HEN I ENROLLED AT Rice in 2006, I arrived with a specific career trajectory firmly in mind. The Shepherd School has a reputation for placing graduates in major American orchestras, and it was that goal alone which I’d pursued since adolescence. Ten years and two degrees later, I live in Frankfurt, Germany. I’m not in an orchestra, and I couldn’t be happier. Working with Professor Paul Ellison [the Lynette S. Autrey Professor of Double Bass], I was gently persuaded to put the careerist mentality on the back burner and focus on my musical education. I allowed myself to study techniques and repertoire not directly related to the orchestral job market. I wanted to master any skill to do with double bass, no matter how seemingly useless or trivial. I figured if the focus remained on improving and expanding my abilities, the right job would come at the right time. PHOTOGRAPH BY NORBERT MIGULETZ

Goals have a funny way of changpremieres and many more rarely pering. As I worked through increasingly formed works. This means I’m always obscure and esoteric material, my interlearning new, often very difficult music ests began drifting away from traditional — sometimes inventing new techniques music. I’d studied the most recent develon the fly to accommodate new composiopments on my instrument and wanted tional ideas. to continue that work. The small size and flexibility of the The call came in 2012, halfway group allows us to pursue any kind of through my master’s degree at Rice. project, from concerts to theater to ballet Ensemble Modern, a flagship institution to electronica to educational. I’m meeting for contemporary music, had an openall types of artists and musicians whering and offered me a trial. Arriving in ever we go. I’m proud to be a small part in Frankfurt, I was greeted by some very an international community of cultural welcome advice: “Please don’t hold Paul Cannon experimenters and trailblazers. back. We like our bass player to I have learned, and continue to and his double bass, appreciate, that there’s no such push us.” This was the right job. I pictured here was home. in Frankfurt’s thing as useless knowledge or These days, I spend much of trivial abilities. I’m challenged East End. my time touring with this great every day to improve and expand ensemble. Last year, I recorded four my craft. When it comes to that point, I albums and played 55 concerts all over won’t be holding back. the world. Unlike a typical orchestra, Are you a young alum living outside the U.S.? most of these concerts were unique Write us a letter and tell us about your day-to-day programs, including several dozen experiences: m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u   11

di s pat c h e s f ro m ric e at hl e t ic s

UNIOR MITCHELL MEISSNER attacks his bunker play during practice at Wildcat Golf Club, the Rice golf team’s home course. The links-style course offers something rare for Houston-area players: elevation changes. Justin Emil is in his sixth season as head golf coach. His team competed in four tournaments during fall play, and Emil is looking forward to the spring. “With strong finishes, our schedule will position us for the postseason, but our main focus is our day-to-day process both in the classroom and on the course,” he said. In other words, golf, like life, is full of unexpected obstacles and impediments. Mastering the sand wedge is a skill that pays dividends.


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Golf Is Life

S c o re b oa rd

Going Pro


Yosef Presburger


5:30 a.m.


Wake up and head to Tudor Fieldhouse to assist injured soccer players in rehab exercises, help players stretch muscle groups and treat nagging, minor injuries. (Most soccer injuries are ankle, knee and hip-related.)

7 a.m.

Observe soccer practice at Holloway Field — ready to assess injuries if they happen.

9 a.m.

Breakfast (finally) followed by two classes: general physics and motor learning

Senior Yosef Presburger started playing tennis when he was 6 and competed until he was sidelined by an injury in high school. A native of Mexico, he also grew up with a love of the country’s favorite sport, soccer, and has many happy memories of soccer-filled school recesses. His athleticism (and inevitable injuries) led him to pursue an academic major in sports medicine. Now in his last season as a student athletic trainer for women’s soccer, Presburger plans to pursue a career in physical therapy. “I believe I have the best job on campus, hanging around with incredible athletes who are some of the warmest, hardest-working, funniest and just the coolest people,” he said.


6 p.m.

2:30 p.m.

7 p.m.

Grab lunch in the servery. On game days, join the players for a pregame meal off campus. Medical terminology class

3:45 p.m.

Set up on the sidelines for a game by filling coolers with water, Powerade, ice and halftime snacks. Then watch for injuries, assess their severity and comfort the injured.

On nongame days, dinner at Seibel Servery and catch up with friends. Extracurriculars, including Jewish organizations and Will Rice Peer Academic Advising

10 p.m.

Study, homework, sleep

FOR RECENT RICE graduate Lauren Hughes ’16, playing professional soccer in Iceland for UMF Selfoss has provided an unexpected challenge — too much time. “When I moved to Iceland, my pace of life dramatically slowed. I had to learn how to adjust to a more laid-back lifestyle,” she said. While on the women’s soccer team, Hughes set Rice career records for goals, gamewinning goals, assists, points, shots and shots on goal. She also was named Conference USA’s 2015 co-offensive player of the year. Building on her impressive athletic career at Rice, like moving to Selfoss, has involved a fair amount of adjustment. Describing how professional soccer differs from the collegiate level, Hughes said, “The game here is much more physical. My height and the strength I gained from Rice have really helped.” As the UMF Selfoss season ended in late September, Hughes thought about what might come next. “I’ll head back to Houston to give my body some rest, do some yoga and begin studying for the GRE. I hope to earn my master’s degree over the next few years.” Whether she’ll return to UMF Selfoss next season is undecided; what remains certain is Hughes’ ability to conquer the challenges that come her way.  — NATALIE DANCKERS ’17 Hughes, third from right, celebrates her first goal in Iceland during UMF Selfoss’ first game of the season. m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u   13

F i n di ng s , Re s e a r c h a n d m o re

A Parliament of Election Experts These days, just about the only thing Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on is that the 2016 presidential election has been one of the most consequential in American history. To counterbalance the partisan rancor, media outlets often turn to academic scholars to provide data and researchbased analysis. We asked nine Rice faculty members — experts in fields as diverse as presidential history, political behavior, electronic voting security and international relations — to comment on what was a historically contentious election season. By Michael Hardy ’06 See their thoughts on the election results at


Stein is the Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science and an expert on public policy and voting behavior. He has been involved in local and state polling for 38 years. This fall, he’s co-teaching the undergraduate course Elections and Voting Behavior with Dan Wallach and Michael Byrne.

The best predictor of an election is who people think is going to win. Why? Because people hang around people like themselves. They may not tell you what they’re going to do, but they’re happy to tell you what everyone else like them is doing. The big issue is whether the base turns out, and particularly what happens to the Republican base. I think they are much more vulnerable to defections than the Democrats are. When you have John Kasich on the left of the Republican party saying he can’t vote for [Trump] and Ted Cruz on the right of the Republican Party providing a weak endorsement, that tells you a lot. Hillary Clinton has problems with her base — a lot of them don’t trust her — but not as many problems as Trump. 14 

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Mark Jones

Jones is the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, a fellow in political science at the Baker Institute for Public Policy and an expert on voter ID laws.

We have almost no cases of proven voter impersonation fraud, with the caveat that in the past nobody has really investigated voter impersonation fraud. It’s probably not zero cases, but it’s likely a very trivial number and certainly has not affected the outcome of an election. In Texas, the battle over voter ID laws goes back to 2011, when the state’s voter ID law was passed over the unified opposition of Texas Democrats. It was a very important issue to many Republican grassroots activists, who play a major role in Texas politics. At the same time, Republicans viewed it as an electoral reform that would benefit candidates around the state by modestly reducing the proportion of Democraticaligned voters.

Michael Byrne

Byrne is a professor of psychology and an expert in human–computer interactions.

We don’t know if any American elections have been affected by hacking, but we do know that elections have been affected by bad ballot design. The classic example is the 2000 presidential election in Florida, where Al Gore lost by a couple hundred votes. A bad ballot design in Palm Beach County led thousands of people to vote for Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore. And it turns out, that kind of thing happens with some regularity. That’s the most famous one, because it turned a presidential election, but it also happens in congressional and state and local races. I research how we can design voting systems so that the intent in the voter’s head gets appropriately recorded. Security is really important, but if what you’re securing is bad data, it doesn’t even matter.


Robert Stein

Douglas Brinkley Brinkley is a professor of history, a fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, CNN’s presidential historian and the author of numerous books.

When you study presidential history, you learn how important mastering the media of the moment is — think of the way Franklin Roosevelt was able to use radio, or John F. Kennedy used television or Bill Clinton played saxophone on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Donald Trump’s ability to use Twitter, and his ability to leapfrog over the media culture by attracting so many internet followers, is really an important skill. I’ve never seen somebody like Trump, who is able to take the media tool of the moment, in this case Twitter, and at any minute directly convey his thoughts to his very large cult following.

Dan Wallach

Wallach is a professor of computer science and an expert in electronic voting security. He testified in Congress earlier this year about the infiltration of Illinois and Arizona’s voter registration systems, which has been attributed to Russian hackers.

The threats [posed by hackers] are credible, so the name of the game between now and the election is contingency planning. There’s not enough time to make major changes, but there are minor things we can do to get ready and prepare. One of the things I’m very worried about is the registration databases. Those are online, so they’re relatively accessible to hackers. What if a hacker simply destroyed the voter registration database altogether? So the state election authorities need to have good backups in place. And in battleground states, I’d like to see states hiring security consultants to audit the websites and make sure the data is secure.

Lyn Ragsdale

Ragsdale is the Radoslav A. Tsanoff Professor of Public Affairs and professor of political science. Her book, “The American Nonvoter,” (co-authored with Jerrold Rusk, Rice professor of political science), is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

American presidential elections have always been extremely negative and extremely personal — it’s just that there are more weapons at the candidates’ disposal now than there used to be. If you think back to the earliest negative campaigning with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, a letter was written, it was put in a newspaper, and people in a particular city read that. Whereas now, it’s a 140-character attack that instantly goes around the world. This is the first fullblown social media election we’ve had.

Paul Brace

Brace is the Clarence L. Carter Professor of Political Science and an expert on the American presidency.

Somebody like Trump running for president from the outside, with no political experience, is not unprecedented, even in the 20th century. Herbert Hoover, while he had been secretary of commerce and run the U.S. Food Administration during World War I, hadn’t held elected office, and he went straight to the presidency. Wendell Willkie in 1940, who ran as a Republican, had no government experience at all. He was an attorney. So having neophytes coming into the political process isn’t completely unprecedented. As far as someone capitalizing on their media celebrity to go into politics, there’s Reagan, but of course he was the governor of California before running for president.

John Alford

Alford is a professor of political science and an expert in the biological and evolutionary basis of political behavior.

One of the things that’s unique about American politics is that people have two very strong emotional forces in their voting preferences. One is ideology, which is very deep-seated and has strong emotional content. But voters also have very strong partisan attachments — a sort of team-based, “my guys versus the other guys” mentality. Historically in America, ideology and party identity haven’t always overlapped — after the Civil War, you had very conservative, white Southern Democrats and very liberal Northern Democrats. Now ideology and party identity are almost identical, and that’s one of the reasons we have such a polarized electorate.

Tony Payan

Payan is the Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexican Studies and director of the Mexico Center at the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Hillary has hardly mentioned Mexico, but Trump has found Mexico an easy whipping boy. Mexico’s image in America has always been contradictory. It’s been portrayed as a paradise, where Americans go and enjoy themselves on the beaches, and then it’s been portrayed as the refuge of scoundrels and criminals or as a dangerous and corrupt place. More recently, since NAFTA, it’s been portrayed as a place that has stripped Americans of their jobs. When Ross Perot was running in 1992, he made NAFTA a sort of bogeyman, and it’s a bogeyman for Trump as well. Obviously, all of this raises the level of anxiety in Mexico — the Mexican people are in suspense, waiting to see what’s going to happen.

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a b s t r ac t | Re s e a r c h Bri e f s


Texas seniors not better off in a particular city for cancer treatment Regions in Texas differ widely in adherence to recommended cancer treatment for elderly patients, according to a study by researchers Regions with high at Rice and success rates in the University treating one type of cancer don’t of Texas MD necessarily excel Anderson Cancer in other types Center. However, these differences are not due to the availability of treatment specialists or the presence of teaching hospitals. “One might have expected Houston residents to receive better treatment because of MD Anderson’s presence, but any beneficial effects could be offset by a large number of elderly in Houston not being treated there,” said Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and director of the institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences, who co-authored the study. The authors analyzed Texas Cancer Registry data linked with Medicare claims to study patients at least 65 years of age with colorectal, pancreatic or prostate cancer. The authors pointed out that regions with high rates of success in treating one type of cancer cannot be assumed to excel in treatment of other types of cancers. Moreover, previous studies that labeled regions as high-use or low-use based on an area’s average medical spending may mask important differences within areas with respect to adherence to treatment guidelines.


Amyloid probes help power search for Alzheimer’s cause Rice chemist Angel Martí and his team study dyes made of metallic complexes that luminesce when attached to amyloid fibrils or DNA. They discovered that when rhenium  dipyridophenazine complexes bind with an amyloid fibril in a test tube and are excited with ultraviolet light, the synthetic molecules increase their natural photoluminescence by several orders of magnitude. The Rice researchers suspect the dramatic Powerful probes increase happens when reactive oxygen spehelp in finding a way cies attack the amino acids on the amyloid beta fibril to break up amyloid that would normally quench the luminescence of the plaques found in metal complex. Alzheimer’s patients “That’s one of our theories,” Martí added. “We know that besides increasing the emission intensity, the complex also chemically modifies the (amyloid) protein.” He said the lab stepped back to test an earlier metallic complex based on ruthenium, which also showed emission when attached to amyloid fibrils. It did not show enhanced emission under ultraviolet light, which makes the rhenium complex unique. — MIKE WILLIAMS A metallic molecule glows much brighter when triggered with ultraviolet light, enabling real-time monitoring of amyloid fibrils implicated in Alzheimer’s disease


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Differences in regional treatments are not due to the availability of treatment specialists or the presence of teaching hospitals

a b s t r ac t | Re s e a r c h BrIE F s


Exercising your savings muscle


Patients often feel ill before tests show it Patients’ selfrated health is a better long-term predictor of illness and death than standard Inflammation tips blood tests, patients off blood pressure that something measurements or isn’t right other symptomatic evidence a doctor might gather, according to a new study from Rice. The team, led by Christopher Fagundes, a Rice assistant professor of psychology, and postdoctoral researcher Kyle Murdock, found evidence to bolster their theory that self-rated health — what you’d say when a doctor asks how you feel your health is in general — is as good as and perhaps even better than any test to describe one’s physiological condition. The researchers found existing data that established solid links between selfrated health and rising levels of herpes virus activity, an important marker of poor cellular immunity that promotes high levels of inflammation. “Herpes virus activity is a very good functional marker of cellular immunity, because almost everybody has been exposed to one type of the virus or another,” Fagundes said. “You can imagine that when the immune system’s fighting something, you get more inflammation throughout the body, and inflammation contributes to disease.” While patients may not be aware of active herpes viruses or inflammation, the researchers suspected a mechanism stronger than mere instinct was responsible for their expressions of discomfort.  — MIKE WILLIAMS Self-rated health is as good as and perhaps better than test results

The average savings rate in the United States has been less than 5 percent, and a majority of Researchers can now predict who Americans report trouble saving on a regular basis. will be successful Oddly, neither income nor financial knowledge have or unsuccessful at much to do with better savings habits. Yet some accumulating longpeople are good savers and others are not. term savings Rice business professors Utpal Dholakia, Leona Tam, Sunyee Yoon and Nancy Wong think they Successful savers know why. In a series of recent studies, they isolated incorporate regular one measurable behavioral trait that accurately incremental savings techniques into their predicted an individual’s propensity to save money. daily routines This trait, which they dubbed one’s personal savings orientation (PSO), is an individual’s ability to embed a range of savings behaviors (some automatic and routine, some intentional) into daily life. Among these habits: routinely placing a chunk of each paycheck into a savings account or making frugal choices in day-to-day expenditures. Subjects who scored high on the team’s assessment scale wove more of these behaviors into their daily routines and accumulated sizable savings over time. Subjects who scored low, even if they were financially literate, did not. The ability to save, the team found, resembles a muscle that needs constant exercise. The PSO indicator identifies individuals who have this muscle and work it out with regular, incremental savings behaviors as part of their daily routines. But those with low PSO scores shouldn’t despair. Specific interventions, the researchers found, can beef up the savings muscle. Most important: taking steps to build regular incremental saving practices. Exercised regularly, these routines will produce positive results — even for low-PSO types. Saving behaviors, in other words, can be built into habit. For more information, visit

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a b s t r ac t | Fac u lt y B o o k s

Humanism: Essays on Race, Religion and Popular Culture Anthony B. Pinn (Bloomsbury, 2015)

Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution Scott Solomon (Yale University Press, 2016)

Modern humans aren’t an evolutionary end point, posits Scott Solomon, a professor in the practice in biosciences at Rice: We’re still evolving, and in a rapidly changing world, it’s hard to know what the titular “future humans” will become. Since we branched off, 6 million years ago, from the same ape ancestor that spawned today’s chimps, we’ve come to populate — and to dominate — nearly all corners of the globe. But while this dominance may give us a sense of innate entitlement, we are still subject to the same forces of nature as our chimp cousins, including evolution, Solomon says. And, as he points out, the same technological mastery that allows us to manipulate our world may be altering that process. He offers an intriguing assortment of examples: online dating may lead us to different mates than we would have otherwise chosen, for one, while the ease of global travel could lead to a much wider dissemination of genes that would once have been limited to certain regions. What effect this will have on future generations remains to be seen. “Advances in technology, medicine, transportation … mean that we live in a time in which the future looks increasingly less like the past,” he writes in the book’s introduction. “There is one thing we can say with certainty: The people of tomorrow will not be the same as the people of today.” 18 

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Humanism is having a heyday, according to Anthony B. Pinn, the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities at Rice. People without religious affiliation, whose life philosophies fall somewhere between detached theism and atheism and whom Pinn calls the “Nones,” are on the rise in the U.S. “Scholars and the general public have a fascination with this group, and this general interest has sparked increased attention to the nature and meaning of humanism,” Pinn writes. While his is one of many scholarly works to tackle the subject in recent years, it’s unique in its approach: examining the ways humanism exists in relation to race, religion and what Pinn calls “cultural production.” In one chapter, Pinn parses Tupac Shakur’s lyrics, contextualizing the late rapper’s references to “Black Jesus.” (Pinn describes the figure as a “patron saint of thugs who … respects the realities of urban life and upholds the values and morality of survival within the harsh realities of existence.”) His analysis of the humanism inherent in hip-hop is just one way Pinn braids together contemporary and historical cultural references; other essays explore the theology of Martin Luther King Jr., the murder of Trayvon Martin and the meaning of the biblical story of Nimrod.

Strategic Thinking in Complex Problem Solving Arnaud Chevallier (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Arnaud Chevallier’s advice mirrors the instruction he gives engineering students in his Rice class of the same name: At its most basic, it boils down to “keep it simple, students.” When faced with what Chevallier calls a “complex, ill-defined and nonimmediate problem” — personal or professional — he advises breaking the problem down into four concrete steps, which he labels “what,” “why,” “how” and “do.” The steps roughly entail identifying what the problem is, why it exists and how you could solve it — then enacting the best of these theoretical solutions. Using real-world examples, such as the case study of a neighbor’s missing dog, he demonstrates how the system works, complete with a table that ranks possible solutions (searching for the dog, posting announcements, etc.) according to their cost, speed and relative likelihood of success. Chevallier, a former strategy consultant, is an associate vice provost and adjunct lecturer at Rice.  — JENNIFER LATSON

a b s t r ac t | s i x de gre e s

SIX DEGREES OF VALHALLA is inspired by Stanley Milgram’s experiments in social networks; actor Kevin Bacon’s eponymous parlor game; the stellar academic genealogies of Rice graduate students, alumni and faculty; and the enduring awesomeness of Valhalla, Rice’s graduate student pub.


Herd is a violinist and the founder and director of the Geneva Music Festival, who has performed throughout Asia and Latin America. He is a doctoral student in the studio of Paul Kantor (b. 1955).

KANTOR is the Sallie Shepherd Perkins Professor of Violin at the Shepherd School and has performed at the Aspen Music Festival and School for 37 years. Kantor studied violin at Juilliard with Dorothy DeLay (1917–2002).



GALAMIAN taught violin

At Juilliard, DELAY helped train 15-time Grammy Award winner Itzhak Perlman (b. 1945), who performed violin solos in films such as “Schindler’s List” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.”



MOSTRAS , a Russian

PERLMAN teaches violin as part of Juilliard’s precollege program. While a student, Perlman also studied under Ivan Galamian (1903–1981).



at Juilliard before founding the Meadowmount School of Music, a summer program for talented young musicians, among them Yo-Yo Ma and Joshua Bell. Galamian was a student of Konstantin Mostras (1886–1965).

violinist and conductor, taught at the Moscow Conservatory and developed his own course on violin technique in 1931. Mostras was a pupil of Leopold Auer (1845–1930).

AUER was a renowned

performer, conductor and teacher in Russia and the United States. He taught many famous musicians, including Clara Rockmore, who became a star on an early electronic instrument, the theremin.


Zaibaq is a doctoral candidate in chemistry at Rice. m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u   19


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Gifted and Black

A Half-Century of Black Undergraduate Life at Rice

Many aspects of the founding of the William Marsh Rice Institute in 1912 inspired wonder, respect and optimism. Its visionary young president, Edgar Odell Lovett, courted scholars from around the world in order to open a university “of the highest grade.” Its charter invited women, alongside men, to engage in rigorous academic study, and its Mediterranean-influenced architecture countered Houston’s dull and swampy plains. Born “in the joy of high adventure, in the hope of high achievement, in the faith of high endeavor,” as Lovett said in the opening ceremony, Rice’s beginning was audacious indeed. And yet in one profound way, Rice ran with the crowd of Southern universities of its day. The Institute was expressly chartered to educate “the white inhabitants of the City of Houston and the State of Texas.” And for its first 50 years, Rice remained segregated. The road to integration at Rice meandered in ways that were both peculiar to the institute and typical of its Southern home. For example, in 1948, when Rice Thresher editor Brady Tyson expressed support for integration, Rice President William V. Houston dismissed the conversation as “entirely academic.” For years, the legal force field that was the original charter suppressed both public debate and action. Under President Kenneth Pitzer, in 1963, the Board of Governors began legal proceedings to change the charter, allowing Rice to begin charging tuition and to integrate. Just when it looked like the legal barriers to integration would fall for good, alumni intervened in Rice’s own legal action and tried to prevent it. Finally, in 1965, two African-American students joined the student body. (Raymond Johnson ’69, a doctoral student, had enrolled the year before.) The next year, two more African-American students enrolled. While Rice’s legal desegregation was history, the development of a supportive community was still a dream. The following timeline and oral histories (expanded online at explore the steps that led up to Rice’s desegregation and feature the voices of black alumni who lived that experience. This past year, the Association of Rice University Black Alumni (ARUBA), together with other Rice offices, organized a series of thoughtful forums and joyful gatherings to mark 50 years of black life at Rice.* But the celebration was not only about looking back at how far Rice has come in 50 years. On a recent Saturday morning during ARUBA’s gala weekend, a panel of Rice administrators, staff, faculty, alumni and students gathered to discuss the state of black life today. In front of an attentive audience, the panel answered questions on race as a dimension of admissions, of campus social and academic life and, especially, of life beyond the hedges. It was an informative and candid dialogue that signified progress while challenging all of us to create a campus environment that is empathetic, respectful and inclusive. Programs like these inspire us to reach for, in Lovett’s long-ago words, “the hope of high achievement,” today and for the next 50 years.  — LYNN GOSNELL *A record of all events, programs, videos and news articles associated with “Celebrating 50 Years of Black Undergraduate Life,” including a link to the centennial video from which many of these stories were drawn, can be found here:

Illustrations by Thandiwe Tshabalala m mag a ga azziin nee..r riicc ee . e d u   21

Building Rice 1891

WILLIAM MARSH RICE (March 14, 1816–Sept.

23, 1900) establishes an endowment for the “William M. Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art” to be used for “the instruction and improvements of the white inhabitants of the City of Houston, and State of Texas.” The charter also specifies that the institute will have no religious affiliation and will not charge tuition. Captain James A. Baker (Jan. 10, 1857– Aug. 2, 1941) leads the Board of Governors.


ON SEPT. 23, RICE IS MURDERED by his valet, Charlie Jones, in a plan devised by Rice’s lawyer, Albert Patrick. (Jones turns state’s witness, and Patrick serves time in prison, but is released in 1912.) The Rice Institute’s trustees begin legal work to establish the long-planned institute.


Edgar Odell Lovett, a mathematician and astronomer recruited from Princeton, as its first president. By laying the groundwork for a university “of the highest grade,” Lovett vastly expands Rice’s educational mission, which originally proposed the “establishment and maintenance of a Free Library, Reading Room, and Institute for the advancement of Science and Art,” as well as a polytechnic school “for males and females, designed to give instructions on the application of Science and Art to the useful occupation of life.” The first class comprises 59 students.


AN ARMY ROTC IS ESTABLISHED on campus and students begin various training exercises in preparation for war.


students. While the Rice Institute is off to an impressive start, financial constraints begin to slow its growth.


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Setting the Stage For Change DURING THE 1940S, RICE BEGINS AN EXPANSION built on its science and engineering prowess, nurtured by federal grants in the post-World War II era. The institute’s financial footing is further stabilized by an inheritance from Rice’s nephew (William M. Rice Jr.) and through the discovery of oil and natural gas deposits on its Louisiana properties. But the most important financial windfall for Rice during this time is the purchase of a stake in the Rincon oil field in South Texas. These income streams, say historian Melissa Kean ’00, encouraged “a false sense of financial well-being and a certain detachment from the currents that shifted around it in the late 1940s and 1950s.”



becomes the second president of the Rice Institute. His charge is to implement an ambitious strategic plan to grow the university. At a time when many other universities are racing to capture postwar federal funding, Rice opts not to diversify its finances through government contracts.


via the Rice Thresher. On Dec. 1, editor Brady Tyson reprints editorials from the Houston Post and the Houston Informer, both calling for better race relations. President Houston writes a letter to the editor stating that the Rice Institute was “founded and chartered specifically for white students.”




RICE CREATES the residential college system, a dream of Edgar Odell Lovett’s since the institute’s founding in 1912. Jones College, Rice’s first women’s dormitory, opens. A new era in student life begins.

1950 In response to the pro-segregationists’ cross burning at the University of Texas Law School, Rice Thresher assistant editor William P. Hobby Jr. writes in an Oct. 27 editorial, “The question of admitting Negroes to Rice was fought out in these columns several years ago. The result of that fight was a temporary victory for those who would maintain segregation. That the victory was temporary is a certain fact made temporary by the trend of judicial and public opinion which has in the past few years so diminished racial hatred and prejudice.”


A RICE THRESHER STUDENT POLL on integration shows that 51.6 percent of students support admitting black students, while 39.4 percent oppose integration.


In May, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state-mandated public school segregation via Brown v. Board of Education.

The Cornell Incident In an October 1954 editorial, the Thresher relates an incident that caused significant frustration to its staff. The Cornell University student paper had written to the Thresher to ask for help in seeking sleeping and eating accommodations for a black student on its football team. “Unfortunately, we had to reply that regardless of our personal feelings and regardless of the United States Constitution and the Bible, the State of Texas maintains that this athlete

is inferior (incidentally, the inanity of this contention was adequately demonstrated on the playing field Saturday night) and not entitled to equality with his white teammates. Thus again we must hang our head in shame and say only that perhaps the day will not be far off when Rice and the State of Texas will welcome all men equally. Only then will we be able to be proud that we are part of the Rice Institute, and part of Texas.”



pressure grows from federal funding agencies to comply with nondiscrimination clauses in grants. “Indeed, the need for federal funding had slowly become Rice’s Achilles’ heel. ... Resting on this cushion of oil money, Rice did not pursue grants and contracts with anything like the zeal exhibited by Duke, Emory, Tulane and Vanderbilt. By the mid-1950s, however, it had become obvious that the specialized technical research that was the institute’s strength required equipment so expensive that it could only come from the federal government,” Kean says. m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u   23

FORMER HOUSTON mayor Judge Roy Hofheinz secures critically needed support for funding the Astrodome by promising that the facility will be fully integrated when it opens in 1965. “It played a key role in the desegregation of public facilities in Houston,” said Stephen Fox, Rice’s architectural historian, in a 1999 New York Times article about the Astros’ last game there.


IN ORDER TO BRING RICE’S NAME IN LINE with its identity as a broader educational institution, the Rice Institute changes its name to Rice University. PRESIDENT HOUSTON SUFFERS A HEART ATTACK

and steps down in September. Under the leadership of trustee and alumnus George R. Brown (whose engineering and construction firm Brown & Root was built on federal contracts), a search for a new president begins.


THE PRESIDENCY IS OFFERED to Caltech chemist Kenneth S. Pitzer, who says he will not accept the job unless Rice moves to integrate its campus. Pitzer’s own research contract with the Atomic Energy Commission includes nondiscrimination clauses. Pitzer and the board will need to “improve Rice’s stature as a graduate institution” in order to grow Rice into a first-rate institution.

In November, the Student Senate passes a referendum calling for desegregation.


ON SEPT. 26, RICE’S BOARD OF GOVERNORS unanimously passes a resolution to charge tuition and desegregate. Before going public, they inform alumni and other constituents. It takes the school’s attorneys months to file the petition. During that same board meeting, Rice also passes a resolution allowing a fledgling aeronautics agency, NASA, to build its space center on Rice-owned property in Clear Lake. 24 

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A Pioneering Step Raymond Johnson ’69, a University of Texas graduate, becomes the first African-American graduate student at Rice. Hired as a research assistant in 1963, he had to wait for the admissions policy to be settled before he could officially enroll as a doctoral student in mathematics. While Rice provides a welcoming environment, for the most part, most of Houston is still segregated, and Johnson participates in sit-ins at local restaurants. Johnson will go on to a distinguished career as a math professor at the University of Maryland, where he’ll mentor many African-American students pursuing doctorates in math. In a 2004 profile in Sallyport, Johnson said, “Racism may be a Hydra, but even the Hydra was killed. Whether you are

black, white, Asian, Puerto Rican or Hindu, take on racism where you see it. Take on these problems one at a time. Open the doors one at a time. I know it is hard. I’ve been there.” In a full-circle turn of events, Johnson returned to Rice to teach math in 2009. In 2015, he was one of 14 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

A ST R O D O M E : W I K I M E D I A C O M M O N S

Push for Integration


In September, two (out of five who were admitted) black undergraduates enroll at Rice: Jacqueline McCauley (pictured below) and Charles Freeman III.

accepts Rice’s argument that “institutionalized racial discrimination” and the inability to charge tuition make it impossible for the board to advance the university’s mission of creating an educational institution of the highest quality. But on Sept. 20, 1963, several alumni file a petition to intervene. UNDER THREAT OF SOME VERY PUBLIC civil rights demonstrations (for example, during a nationally televised parade to honor Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper), Houston quietly integrates movie theaters, stores and restaurants, a culminating step in the civil desegregation process that began with sit-ins and negotiations years before. An ongoing local media “blackout” of the fight for desegregation draws scorn from state and national press, but the process is peaceful. Black and white college students, businessmen, church leaders and community leaders participate in the effort.


© H O U STO N C H R O N I C L E . U S E D W I T H P E R M I S S I O N

THE NEW CASE BETWEEN RICE and the intervening alumni finally comes to a jury trial in a Texas state district court. In February, “the jury unanimously agreed that William Marsh Rice had intended to create an outstanding university through his gift, and that maintaining segregation would make it impossible to carry out this intent,” Kean writes. This decision allows Rice to officially desegregate, but the legal battle will not be over until 1967.

The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 overturns all state and local laws on segregation.


IN THE MARCH 18 ISSUE of the Rice Thresher, staff writer Bill Broyles ’66 reports that Rice is planning to begin charging tuition and to integrate the campus the following fall. An editorial maligns the administration’s decision “to bar public discussion of integration and other subjects related to the race problem, questionable under any circumstance” and “particularly indefensible now.”

AT 26 YEARS OLD, Kennard W. Reed Jr. joins Rice’s faculty as a visiting assistant professor of mathematics. Reed, who is black, comes to the university in 1965, but leaves in 1966 after facing harassment. A native Houstonian, Reed graduated from Fisk University in 1958. He earned both his M.S. and Ph.D. from New York University.


IN OCTOBER, the First Court of Civil Appeals affirms Judge William M. Holland’s 1964 ruling that Rice trustees could amend the charter to admit applicants of all races and to charge tuition. In 1967, the Texas Supreme Court dismisses a challenge to this appeal, and Rice’s prolonged fight to change the original charter is over.

Theodore “Ted” Henderson is the first black male undergraduate to enroll and graduate from Rice. Henderson was born and raised in Galveston. Linda Faye Williams, raised in Lovelady, Texas, is the first black female to enroll and graduate from Rice. Both graduate in 1970.

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The Pioneers In the first two years after desegregation, four African-American students — the best and brightest of their high schools — joined Rice’s undergraduate student body. Their impact on Rice was enormous; what was Rice’s impact on their lives? Charles Freeman in the ROTC at Rice

Charles Freeman III


harles Freeman’s quest to be different often got him

into trouble. But his constant search for an identity pushed him beyond the racial tensions of the 1960s and to success as an activist lawyer. “Even in high school, Charles was a maverick. He never did things like anyone else. He was always pushing the envelope,” said his widow, Linda Freeman. Freeman was the first black male undergraduate to be admitted to Rice University. Born in Harlem to Charles Edward and Ruby Freeman, a schoolteacher and a nurse, respectively, he grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. At the all-black Lincoln High School, he was part of a championship debate team, the marching band and the chemistry club; he graduated co-valedictorian of his class and was a National Merit finalist. By all accounts, Freeman was the type of student who would fit in well with the Rice student body. At Rice, he explored student life by playing tuba in the marching band and bass in a jazz band and by joining the ROTC. He planned to major in biochemistry and then attend medical school. That dream failed after Freeman was placed on academic probation three times, resulting in his suspension in 1967. “I think Charlie was undergoing a crisis of identity. He must have wondered what he was doing here and, ultimately, who he was,” said Allen Matusow, who was a history professor back then and now is the William Gaines Twyman Professor Emeritus of History and director of academic affairs at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. 26 

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Rice historian Melissa Kean noted that Rice did not have any meaningful institutional approach to student services and support when Freeman arrived. At the time, Rice’s culture was very much “sink or swim,” she said. In the mid-1970s, Freeman told a Houston Chronicle reporter how he felt that freshman year: “I had a burden placed on my shoulders that I was too young to handle. I was 17 when I first went to Rice. I was alone at Rice. I never knew my roommates and never really got along. I had a good time, played a lot of pool, read a lot, but the courses I was taking required attention to detail that I just did not give to them.” His widow noted that Freeman grew up in a segregated environment: Rice was where he interacted with whites for the first time in his life. “This was an overwhelming experience for him,” she said. In 1967, Freeman left a predominantly white campus and went to study at nearby Texas Southern University, a historically black school. Meanwhile, at Rice, the civil rights movement was heating up and curiosity about Black Power was so intense that there was a teach-in on campus to discuss it. Freeman spoke at the event. “This was a new Charlie,” Matusow said, adding that he came across as angry and espoused controversial ideals of black nationalism. “His remarks that night were incoherent and disjointed — a young man trying on a new identity like a suit that did not yet fit.” Freeman’s struggles continued at TSU, and he eventually left the school following a series of incidents, including his alleged involvement with the 1967 TSU riots. (Freeman was never convicted of any criminal wrongdoing.) Subsequently, Matusow recalled, Freeman began teaching young people, helping stop local outbreaks of violence and traveling to suburban churches to discuss concerns with the black community. In 1968, Freeman applied for readmission to Rice and was told that he would be admitted if he passed four courses at another university. Freeman enrolled that summer in the State University of New York–Buffalo, where he received three A’s and a B+. In spring 1970, he was back at Rice. Once again, he didn’t fare well.

F R E E M A N : C O U RT E SY O F W O O D S O N R E S E A R C H C E N T E R M C CA U L E Y: © H O U STO N C H R O N I C L E . U S E D W I T H P E R M I S S I O N

Jackie McCauley in a photograph that was featured on the cover of the Houston Chronicle Sunday Magazine in 1965

Not one to give up, Freeman went on to earn his B.A. at Lamar University and returned to Port Arthur to sell insurance for his father. He then continued his education at the University of Houston, where he earned an MBA and a J.D. At a turning point in his life, Freeman converted to Islam. According to his brother, Stanley Freeman, the impetus behind the conversion was the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. In 1967, Freeman had met Ali in Houston and taken a picture with him. At the time, Ali was a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, based on his religious and moral principles. “Ali had a profound effect on my brother,” Stanley said. Ali and other Muslims “were helping to move the civil rights movement forward, and Charles wanted to be a part of that. He became a Muslim, just like Ali.” In the 1980s, Freeman became a criminal lawyer practicing in the county courts, but remained controversial and outspoken. “Charles was a serious lawyer. He specialized in capital punishment defense and he felt he was doing something special for the community,” Stanley said. Eventually, Freeman was invited back to speak at Rice. “He was calm and assured, his remarks well-reasoned and compelling,” Matusow said. “I felt I was watching a man whose identity had once been shattered into a thousand pieces, and piece by piece had been put back together. There was a reason for that. Charles had converted to Islam.” In 2003, Freeman died of bone marrow cancer at the age of 54. He left a wife, four children and three grandchildren. “My brother loved Rice,” said Stanley. “He loved the campus, he loved the area. Coming from a small town like Port Arthur, he grew up a lot at Rice. And that’s the main reason he stayed in Houston.” Freeman’s legacy, according to Matusow, is “the story of a 17-year-old kid who comes to Rice and is swept up by historical forces that he doesn’t understand and can’t manage” — and which nearly destroy him. On the other hand, Freeman’s legacy is also a story of courage, which helped pave the way for future black students, including several Rice alumni from his Port Arthur high school.

Jacqueline McCauley


ackie McCauley was an academic star — the

first black student in Texas to be named a National Merit Scholar — and some of the country’s most prestigious colleges were recruiting her. Rice was initially her third choice, after Harvard and MIT, but that changed when she read in the newspaper that a group of Rice alumni were trying to stop the university from integrating. “Rice irritated me for doing that,” McCauley said in a recent phone interview from her home in Canberra, Australia. So she put Rice at the top of her list. “If I hadn’t gone to Rice, I would be aiding and abetting what I consider to be an immoral act. To walk away would be letting them get away with something that was no longer acceptable and had never been acceptable.” When she walked through the Sallyport for the first time, McCauley said that being one of two blacks on campus with 2,500 students did not faze her. (Charles Freeman was the other black undergraduate, who also had been admitted in 1965.) Her father had been in the Army for many years and had been stationed at various military bases, where she had attended schools that were predominately white. At Rice, she said, everyone made a special effort to make her feel at home. “They wanted to make sure that I felt like every other student,” she said. “They were courteous; they were kind.” The president of the university invited her to his office for a chat. As a member of Jones College, McCauley attended a mixer at one of the men’s colleges at which the college president and vice president each asked her for a dance. She was also invited to join MENSA and the Young Republicans, but declined both offers, joining the Young Democrats instead. “There was nothing that I can remember unpleasant ever directed at me,” she said. Barney McCoy ’67 was a junior when McCauley entered Rice, and he often saw the freshman at the student center, where he worked. “She was a bright and vivacious lady with a great sense of humor, which could be sometimes biting,” he said. “She was the kind of person who participated in theater. She had that kind of outgoing attitude.” McCauley, in fact, joined the Rice Players. She had parts in three plays, including the lead role in “The Perils of Pomona,” a play about a Native American woman who is forbidden to marry a white man. Acting was a passing interest for McCauley, who was constantly seeking

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new challenges. From an early age, McCauley was a curious, diligent student. Her curiosity was sparked by her parents, Willie and Harriet, who read to her every day when she was a young child and later bought her a set of encyclopedias. Her father was a sergeant and moved the family every year to a different Army base. Born in Fort Benning, Ga., McCauley attended grade schools in Texas and California and high school in Germany. She graduated from Kashmere Gardens High School in northeast Houston. Her sister, Marganette McCauley Williams, a Houston resident, said that McCauley was so focused on going to college that nothing would stop her from taking the entrance exam. “On the day she took the SAT, she had a temperature and her tonsils were swollen,” Williams said. “My mother worked for a doctor, and right after the SAT, Jackie’s tonsils were removed.” The summer before starting at Rice, McCauley had an internship at NASA, where she did research for the Apollo program. At Rice, her intention was to major in a science, but the social upheaval of the ’60s fascinated her so much that she switched to social sciences. “This was the period when the country was going up in flames,” she said. “It was ‘burn, baby burn.’ When I made the move to sociology and psychology, I thought it was something meaningful.” She took several liberal arts courses, one of which was an introductory course in United States history, taught by Ira Gruber. Gruber, who now is the Harris Masterson Jr. Professor Emeritus of History, kept meticulous notes of his students and remembers that McCauley was in the same class as Scott Wise ’71 and Ed Emmett ’71. “She was a good student who did well on examinations and, although somewhat shy, took a constructive part in discussions,” he said. By the end of her first year, McCauley was married and helping with her husband’s work with Volunteers in Service to America. In part because of her community involvement, McCauley’s grades suffered, and she was put on academic probation. She returned for her sophomore year, but dropped out after the fall semester. “I was more of an activist, working with my husband with VISTA, which is like [a domestic] Peace Corps,” she said. “It wasn’t any failings of Rice that led me to leave. I was exploring other aspects of life. It didn’t fail me; it’s just that I moved on.” In the 1970s, McCauley became a program director with KLOL, at that time one of Houston’s most popular radio stations. She then moved to KSAN, a radio station in San Francisco, and then to Australia, where she had a radio show called “Shootin’ the Breeze,” which was syndicated in 80 American cities. McCauley has remained in Australia since 1980. She operates a small business that sells books to government offices and schools, and she also works in holistic healing, treating people who suffer from chronic pain by using therapeutic massage, energy and Pilates. Now 69, she has one daughter, Elana, who lives in Sydney. As McCauley looks back at what she did 50 years ago at Rice, she acknowledges that she helped open the doors to black students. “No one should be self-marginalized, which is what I would have been doing if I hadn’t applied. You just do what you know is right in your heart,” she said. “If what I did means that a number of other students could go to a university that previously had been unavailable to them, then sure, that is my legacy.” — DAVID MEDINA


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Ted Henderson sings in the Will Rice College choir

Ted Henderson


he early 1960s was a heady

time for kids like Ted Henderson ’70. Space Age competition between the Soviet Union and the United States was in full swing, with President John F. Kennedy Jr. delivering his famous “moon shot” speech at Rice Stadium in 1961, challenging the nation’s best scientists to send a man to the moon by decade’s end. The Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center) was founded in 1961 and opened in 1963, just a bridge away from Henderson’s Galveston home. Reared on National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines to which his father, a postal worker with a master’s degree from Texas Southern University, and his schoolteacher mother subscribed, Henderson thought a strong science-oriented university like Rice was a logical place to attend college. “I was interested in the space program and biochemistry, and my parents really encouraged me to apply to Rice,” he said, “but my friends thought it was a waste of time.” That’s because the year he graduated from high school, 1966, was only the second year that the university had accepted black students. And the first two black undergraduates had left the university. But Henderson applied and got in. Once that hurdle was crossed, money was a factor. Though free for its first five decades, the university had begun to charge tuition in 1965. Just when he thought financial challenges had dashed his dreams of becoming an Owl, a letter turned up in the mail: He had been awarded a scholarship, which eased the financial burden considerably. Henderson arrived on campus as one of only two African-American freshmen. (Linda Faye Williams


Linda Faye Williams

’70 was the other.) “I’d heard lots of stories about [Charles Freeman and Jackie McCauley],” Henderson recalled. But he also found the campus surprisingly friendly. He remembers that Freeman’s roommate made it a point to welcome him to campus, which he found reassuring. That said, he wanted to do well and complete his studies. “So I made sure I was on my p’s and q’s,” he said. At Will Rice College, he helped plan lots of social activities and parties, but he rarely had time to attend them. “Freshman year I had six labs, and it was really very hard. I spent a lot of time in my room or in the library studying, often until 2 or 3 in the morning,” he said. He earned a nickname at Rice, “The Bishop,” due to his study habits. Although Henderson studied hard and did well, he realized that he gravitated toward history and anthropology in addition to math and science. “I thought about the Smithsonian magazines I loved as a kid and realized that I’d always been most interested in articles about cultures,” he said. Henderson went on to graduate in 1970 with a degree in anthropology. He enrolled in the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, where he received a grant to work with Professor Byron Griffith as a researcher on Hawaiian land division, trade, and the movement of goods and services. “I was in the same program as President Barack Obama’s mother, though I didn’t know her on a personal basis,” he recalled. Born and raised on an island off the Gulf Coast of Texas, Henderson fell in love with the Hawaiian Islands and still lives there. He continues to work, occasionally landscaping, giving tours and operating a taxi business. He looks back on his time at Rice as “challenging, interesting and supportive.” 


knew that when my sister went to Rice, it was

the beginning of something big,” said Susan Williams Patterson ’77. Her late older sister, Linda Faye Williams ’70, was one of the first black undergraduates to attend the university, arriving as a freshman in 1966, the second year the university admitted black students. “We were always excited to hear her stories when she came home.” Home was Lovelady, Texas, a tiny town north of Huntsville that was racially segregated. Linda and Susan had attended allblack schools and were well aware that separate was not equal. For example, said Patterson, “we knew we were going to have to compete with people who had taken more advanced classes than we’d been exposed to.” The challenge didn’t deter Williams, who graduated from high school as a National Achievement Scholar, a scholarship program founded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in 1964 to encourage young black Americans to continue their education. Her parents were both teachers, and her father urged her to attend Prairie View University, the historically black university from which he’d graduated. But Williams was interested in The University of Texas or Rice. She applied to Rice, planning to major in English, and was accepted. But in a 1988 interview in Sallyport (Rice Magazine’s precursor), Williams said, “It was the loneliest I had been in my entire life.” She persevered despite the lack of community and the prejudices of some of her white peers. “I am not as hostile as I used to be about Rice,” she said. “I can’t say that I faced that much intended racism. There was just a lot of unawareness.” She had white friends on campus, for example, “who couldn’t understand why I hated them having a Confederate flag hanging in the room.” But Williams treasured the education she received. Her studies introduced her to Chandler Davidson, a sociology professor who became a mentor and who encouraged her to attend graduate school. [Davidson is Rice’s Radoslav A. Tsanoff Profesor Emeritus of Public Affairs and Sociology.] This education, along with a drive and commitment to social justice, propelled her into a career that made her a sought-after expert on race and gender politics. In 2006, when Williams died at age 57, she was a political scientist at the University of Maryland; she had held leadership positions at Howard University, the Black Congressional Caucus, the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Her last book, “Constraint of Race: Legacies of White Skin Privilege in America,” published in 2003, won numerous awards, including the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Award. Williams’ legacy lives on in more than her research, teaching and writings. In 2007, her family founded a stipend in her honor at Rice. The purpose of the Linda Faye Williams Social Justice Prize is to recognize work that furthers social justice and enables understanding across boundaries of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, class, nationality, sexual orientation and ideology. The $1,000 stipend is awarded each year to a recent graduate or graduating senior. In 2009, Megan Ming Francis ’03 was the first to be awarded the prize. Francis earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and economics at Rice and completed her Ph.D. at Princeton. She’s now an assistant professor of political science at the University of Washington. Receiving the prize, Francis said, affirmed the scholarly path she was on, “to critically analyze the intersecion of race and American politics.” She added, “I think the legacy of Linda Faye Williams teaches us to pay attention to marginalized groups — to women and to minorities. To be courageous in the face of adversity and to stand for what you believe … no matter the obstacles.”  — M. YVONNE TAYLOR


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The Early Years RODRIGO BARNES ’73, Mike Tyler ’72

and Stahlé Vincent ’72 enroll at Rice, becoming the school’s first black football players. As student–athletes, these young men have a visible profile at Rice and throughout the Houston area. Barnes, who will go on to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and selected to the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame, is a bold, outspoken advocate for black students on campus.


The Meaning of Welcome

My welcome to Rice came in a lot of different ways from a lot of different people. There was the admissions committee with Bernard Giles, Alan Grob and

all of the faculty members who worked so hard to get us here. I thought about Charlene Hunter Gault’s arrival to the University of Georgia, where there were protesters waiting for her. Well, there were people waiting for me, too, but they had luggage racks and moved me into Brown College. There was Ann Patton Green ’71, my freshman adviser. Karen Nikaido ’71 from Hawaii lived next door. She shared seaweed snacks sent from her grandmother. Nancy Rosenfeld [Thaler] ’71 practiced matzo ball soup recipes on me. Diane Ashford Sinclair’s ’73 mother came to Houston once a month, took Diane to lunch and always

Pictured in the 1973 Campanile: Jan West ’73, Althea Jones ’75, Brenda James ’74 and Regina Tippens ’74


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invited me. I now realize that might not have always been easy to do in the ’60s. Linda Williams was a senior and the fact that she could come here from Lovelady, Texas, and make it, that was wonderful. Faculty like Dr. Robert Cox supported me. I was in an 8 a.m. English class trying to say what I needed to say and a student laughed at me. He stopped class, pointed to the drop-add slips on his desk, and said, ‘If anyone does that to anyone else, get a slip, because you will flunk this class.’ There were no black faculty, but there were people that nurtured us — the ladies in the kitchen and those who cleaned, like Mrs. Alberta Nobles. Second semester, for a variety of reasons, I often slept on a bed at the end of the hall in Brown. Every morning Mrs. Nobles would come by and if my alarm clock didn’t wake me, she helped me get on my way. I graduated with honors, and who doesn’t like success? But more important, it wasn’t success under pressure and angst. It was success with joy. 

— Jan West ’73 West is the assistant director of Multicultural Community Relations in the Office of Public Affairs.

Singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone records and releases “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” a song inspired by the life of her friend Lorraine Hansberry. Weldon Irvine co-wrote the song. In 1973, Aretha Franklin won a Grammy for her recording of the now iconic anthem. “To be young, gifted and black, Oh what a lovely precious dream ...”

A Quarterback and Role Model

Being a pioneer was something I didn’t sign on for; it wasn’t a goal. Then I started getting letters from teachers, then coaches, then players, then regular students who said, ‘You make us all proud. If you can do it, you’ve inspired all of us.’ That had a dramatic impact on me. All of sudden now you need to play well, you need to be a good student, you need to be a good citizen, ’cause you have a whole lot of people you don’t know who are pulling for you and using you as an example.  — Stahlé Vincent ’72

Vincent is the director of human resources for Cone Denim in Greensboro, N.C.

1973 Finding A Community I grew up in the Third Ward. My mother was a first-grade teacher. My father worked for a couple of companies. Education was very important to us. ... We were breaking new ground at the time, but that did not faze me. I did not seek to be actively involved in a variety of things [where] I would be the minority, so my primary social activity revolved around the other black students. It heightened my own awareness of

my identity in a surrounding where there were so few of us. ... I think it gave me a good foundation and prepared me for the next stages of my career. I’m pleased to have benefited by it and willingly share with others that this is my alma mater.  — Pamela C. Scott ’73 Scott was the first and only black woman in her class at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. She worked in financial services for 30 years before opening her own business.



Starting the Black Student Union


SINCE 1974, RICE HAS CELEBRATED Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an annual vigil and program. The King family, led by Coretta Scott King, began a national movement to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and his work in the late 1960s. (Roland Smith Jr., now an associate provost and adjunct faculty member at Rice, served on the commission chaired by Mrs. King.) In 1983, after years of setbacks and lobbying efforts, Congress signed a holiday for King into law.

1977 Cheering for Rice I started coming to Rice when I was in junior high, participating in a summer enrichment program. Although I stayed at home my freshman year, this proved to be disadvantageous, being away from the library and other sources of information. Upon moving on campus my sophomore year, I decided to run for cheerleader. I was elected the first black male cheerleader at Rice. Alumni, only a few I presume, were dissatisfied at the sight

My sophomore year, there were enough of us — probably 60 — and we decided that we wanted to be activists and more engaged in what was taking place on campus and try to understand what we could do to make some changes that would be more positive for black students. So we decided we wanted to have a Black Student Union. We also wanted to have a place to meet, socialize and support each other. The university was not that open to the idea. One of the student athletes, Rodrigo Barnes, was very impressive in approaching the dean of students. We had our petition prepared for them to help them understand what that meant for us. We ultimately were able to establish a Black Student Union that year. You saw there was some softening of the university’s position on doing something special for the union. Now it’s evolved into a much larger organization, the Black Student Association, or BSA.  — Regina Tippens ’74 Tippens has worked in sales and management at Procter & Gamble for more than 40 years.

of a black male cheerleader. I returned to my room at Lovett one day to find bullet holes [from a pellet gun] in the window. This was investigated by campus security, and my family found out. ... My dad and I talked, and I remained a cheerleader. The ultimate measure of an experience is whether you would do it again. Yes, I would.  — Mike Dunn ’77

Dunn is retired from the Texas General Land Office after more than 30 years. He lives in Austin.

Black students demand integration of black faculty at Rice.

1978 It was encouraging to discover that there are many different kinds of ‘smart’ among smart people. The key for each person was to discover the best applications of his or her variation of smart, before it was too late. 

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Support From Staff

1980 My dad wanted to go to Rice in the 1950s but wasn’t allowed. He said that since I got into Rice, I should attend. My most significant friendships have been from my experiences at Rice. I am a proud graduate! — Wanna Hadnott ’84

Hadnott lettered four years at Rice as a member of the women’s tennis team and served as the team’s co-captain. Today, she is an HR manager in Houston and remains very active in Rice alumni activities.


THE GOSPEL CHOIR, which later becomes the Melodious Voices of Praise, is founded by students to express their profound connection to the black church and its unique musical style while also connecting with other gospel choirs in Houston. Rice staff member Sharon Melodious Voices of Praise in 1999 Bush serves as adviser and pianist for over a decade. After her death in 2012, the Black Student Association and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion each create awards to honor her legacy at Rice and in the community.


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— Karen KossieChernyshev ’85 Kossie-Chernyshev is a professor of history at Texas Southern University. She was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in history at Rice, in 1998.


RICE WASN’T NEARLY AS DIVERSE a place as the high school that I’d gone to. I went through O-Week in a fog. That first semester, I just did horribly. The population of African-American student–athletes was much bigger than African-American nonstudent athletes. Quite often, I was mistaken for a student–athlete. Some of my experiences going into a professor’s office after hours, on more than one occasion, involved having them ask me, ‘Have you talked to the folks in the athletic department about tutoring?’ No, I haven’t. And thinking to myself, even if I did happen to be a student–athlete, isn’t that part of the college experience, that students and professors build a relationship? Ultimately, I got what I wanted to get, but it was a hard row to hoe. Rice was like coming through the crucible. — Terrence Gee ’86 Gee was the first African-American to make partner in the Houston office of Accenture and is the founder of Trilogee Venture Partners, a private equity firm. He volunteers with many Rice initiatives.


Finding Our Way

The Rice staff I encountered as often as I did the sun helped me grow personally and professionally during my undergraduate years. I still cherish the kind words and advice I received from Ms. Jean, one of the custodians who greeted me almost daily as I headed to class from Jones College. One day, early in my freshman year, she inquired about my major and career plans. I proudly affirmed that I was doublemajoring in French and English and planned to work for the United Nations. She listened and then added, “Well, while you’re on your way, you may want to pick up a teaching certificate.” I am still “on my way,” fully equipped with a career

in education that now spans three decades. Ms. Jean’s kindness was duplicated by various staff members whom I met through work-study jobs. My experiences with Jean Louis Menin, the language lab director, were especially meaningful. As Jean Louis was a native French speaker, my French language skills were reinforced by his conversations with francophone professors, students and visitors who stopped by to request materials. Jean Louis’ concern for me surpassed my work assignments. When I encountered a housing crisis while studying in France, he encouraged relatives to open their home to me. Certainly, my professors helped me cultivate my gardens, but Rice staff members most assuredly helped them grow.

1987 Girlfriends

I grew up in Fort Worth. Went to a college prep school, played field hockey, played in the band; of my class, about five of us were African-American. ... Now this is what’s funny to me. When I came during Owl Week, there was a party that the Black Student Union threw. I was like, ‘Wow. Look at all these black students: I’m going here.’ Little did I know that that was all of them, right there, that night, in that little bitty room. My girlfriends are called the Jones girls, still today. My freshman year, they’re on the elevator, and they’re about to go to their room. And I say, ‘Hey, what are you guys fixing to do?’ ‘Oh, we’re going to roll our hair.’ ‘I’ll go get my rollers and come with you!’ I think that I gravitated to the African-American students, because it was the most that I had been around. So, it never seemed like I was isolated. … I felt like: I’m doing something that a lot of people haven’t done, so it’s important that I do a good job, so that others can come behind me and have the opportunity.  — Angela Ravin-Anderson ’88 Ravin-Anderson was the founding president of the Association of Rice University Black Alumni. She is an ordained minister in Houston.


The Office of Multicultural Affairs is founded to coordinate and implement educational, cultural and social programs designed to emphasize inclusiveness and respect for diversity. Since its founding, the office has been led by Catherine Clack, associate dean of undergraduates. “I STARTED MY PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE with two architects that I met at Rice. Our fledgling office got on its feet with the generous support of another RSA alumnus. Several years before that, it was the Rice preceptorship program that brought me to New York, where I have made my life and career.”  — Leslie Neblett ’86 Neblett received a B.A. and a B.Arch. in 1988. She is a principal at LNA+D in New York.

1991 Athletics as a Small World

My first year here, I put in a lot of extra study time. Despite all my best efforts, I had a B average. I had to get comfortable with what success meant to me. I didn’t realize it, but I was a nerd already … I was just an athlete nerd, so being part of the Rice community was easy. But there was a

certain element of Rice that had questions about athletes being here, period. It always amazes me today when I meet someone who was at Rice the same time I was, but because my world was so small, I didn’t know them. 

— Donald Bowers ’91 Bowers is an executive with the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.

An Alumni Community Grows 1996

The Association of Rice University Black Alumni (ARUBA) is established. The volunteer-led alumni group strives to stimulate intellectual and social participation, encourage contributions to the university’s ongoing efforts to enhance diversity, and strengthen the bond of understanding between the university and its black alumni community.

A Rice Marine Rice [recruiters] talked to me about what the school could offer me, not so much what Rice would get out of me going there. Right after I’d been accepted to Rice, I received a call from a Marine recruiter. So about one weekend a month, I’d dress up in my uniform and ride my bike about five or six miles down the street to Old Spanish Trail, to the military reserve drill center, and get funny looks from everyone. ‘Kiper! You’re that Rice student. You must think you’re special!’ When I was in Afghanistan, working directly with Hazaras, Pashto and Dari speakers, I thought back to when I was a student learning cultures and being the odd man out. ... If I had to do it over again, I would go to Rice with no question. Good and bad, everything that came with it, I’m the person I am because of Rice.

— Troy Kiper ’96 Kiper is a career officer in the U.S. Marines.

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“I LOVED THE SMALL SIZE AND REPUTATION of Rice, and that there were no fraternities or sororities. Rice gave me the confidence that I was prepared for anything. I was by far the most prepared in my graduate classes.” 

— Christopher Blache ’97 Blache, a bar pilot for the Port of New Orleans, was one of the first black river pilots on the Mississippi River.


The Black Student Association hosts its first annual Soul Night, a popular event where Rice students celebrate black history and culture through art, music, dance and theater.


I BECAME THE ONLY BLACK FEMALE and sometimes the only black person in my higher-level math classes and found it increasingly more challenging to find study partners. The black graduate students filled this void, helping me study and providing a supportive community. I love being a part of the Rice ‘club.’ If I wear the shirt or my ring and another alum spots me, we immediately strike up a conversation, and this happens all over the country. — Shelaswau Bushnell Crier ’97 Crier earned a degree in mathematics at Rice and a J.D. from Yale Law School.


A Course Correction Leads to Rice

I was in the 10th grade, 6 foot 3 inches and 235 pounds. I was the starting middle guard on the varsity football team. I made all-district and college scouts were already starting to recruit me and coming to the high school asking for me. Now, I had it all figured out. I had a couple of classes in the morning, lunch, two shop classes, PE and then football practice. Mr. B.T. Sears, the counselor at La Marque High School, came to my shop class and, literally and figuratively, grabbed me by the shirt, 34 

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pulled me out of there, took me to his office and redid my schedule and put me in all college prep classes. That’s how I got to Rice. If he hadn’t taken the time, if he hadn’t cared enough, if he wasn’t his brother’s keeper, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. — Jeffery Rose ’77 Rose, a banking regulator and banker, was elected president of the Association of Rice Alumni in 2005, the first African-American alumnus to serve in this position. He served on the Rice Board of Trustees until 2011.


RICE TURNS 100. To mark the centennial, ARUBA sponsors “Young, Gifted and Black: Reflections From Black Alumni at Rice,” a film produced by Rice’s Multicultural Community Relations office and Mouth Watering Media. View the entire film here: work/young-gifted-and-black


RICE IS RANKED FIFTH out of the 100 top universities (as ranked by U.S. News and World Report) for ethnic and racial diversity by Best Colleges. SINCE FALL 1996, AFRICAN-AMERICAN students have comprised about 7 percent of the U.S. (domestic) undergraduates. With international students (in 2015–2016), that percentage drops to about 6.5 percent.

Speaking Up, Speaking Out 2015

Because of the social climate and attitudes surrounding race relations in the country, students of color needed reassurance that their well-being Juan Valenzuela, Jonathan Price, and experience were being taken Gabriela Barrios, into consideration. Blaque Robinson Blaque Robinson, James Carter and I founded the Students of Color and Katherine Collective — which included James McElroy Carter, Katherine McElroy, Juan Valenzuela, Sydney Night and Gabriela Barrios. Together, we invested long, stressful days devising improvements that could be made to make our campus more accommodating to the needs of students of color. With the help of an attentive administration, we are and were able to make changes. Currently, the school has clarified the presence of financial aid for undocumented students, developed a new O-Week program and begun work on other initiatives. The journey isn’t over, as everyone knows, but I have no doubt that with the students and administration involved, more improvements will make the Rice experience all the more enjoyable to the entire student body. — Jonathan Price ’16 Price is a campus missionary intern with Rice Baptist Student Ministries. 


Teveia Rose Barnes ’75 becomes the first African-American alum to serve on the Rice Board of Trustees. Today, she is executive director of California’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank.


A series of events commemorating and celebrating 50 years of black undergraduate life at Rice kicks off in January with a candlelight vigil marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hosted by the Black Student Association.


“A YEAR INTO MY ARRIVAL on campus, there was a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the first black student at Rice. Such a welcoming campus, so many happy faces — how could it have only been officially integrated since 1967? I realized that the welcoming environment I perceived at Rice had developed quite recently, through trial, error and success. This is testimony to the ability that institutions have to change. What impact did a brief period of integration have on students? I realized that I was asking

the wrong question. A better question is: what impact did black students have on the institution? The answer was all around me — a more welcoming, complicated environment that became better and richer with every passing year, and with every new generation who matriculates and graduates. It’s a privilege to be at an institution that celebrates that complexity and allows it to be woven into its fabric.”  — Jenifer Bratter Bratter is an associate professor and graduate program director in sociology and the head resident fellow at Duncan College.

“My older sister went to Rice, so naturally it was the last place I wanted to be. Ironically, it was the perfect place for me to end up. The growth I’ve experienced at Rice, as a student and a leader, is immeasurable. That growth started when I connected with the Black Student Association as a freshman, and my peers forced me to see that I was capable and qualified. 

— Aislyn Orji ’18 Orji (pictured, center) is a kinesiology and sociology major, a Martel resident and the 2016–2017 president of the Black Student Association.

AFTER FIVE YEARS OF WORKING AND LIVING among Rice students, I am convinced that you are the active repudiation of much of what is wrong in the world, that you are absolutely the repudiation of what most ails American history. ... You are an amazing collection of people, from all corners of the country and the world, of various races, ethnicities, religions, nonreligions, sexes, genders, sexual orientations. As a group, you are a sort of people that 100 years ago in this corner of Houston, we would not have had good reason to believe could be collected in one place without violence. One remarkable aspect about this community, about your community, is the way that it does not demand out of its difference, a compliance. This community is remarkable for the way it embodies the script on the Great Seal of the United States. This embodiment is apparent, I know, in the ways that you live together, but also in the demands that you make of one another. — Alex Byrd ’90, addressing students during Rice’s 103rd Commencement exercises, May 14, 2016 Byrd is an associate professor of history at Rice. He recently completed his term as college master at Wiess College. Many quotes in this feature were drawn from “Young, Gifted and Black: Reflections From Black Alumni at Rice” (2012, Mouth Watering Media) as well as from alumni surveys collected by the Association of Rice University Black Alumni and Rice’s Office of Multicultural Community Relations. Other quotes and timeline events were solicited directly or drawn from Fondren Library holdings, including “A University So Conceived: A Brief History of Rice University” (4th revised edition, 2012) by John B. Boles ’65, “Desegregating Private Higher Education in the South” (Louisiana State University Press, 2008) by Melissa Fitzsimons Kean ’00 and the online student presentation “Rice University Between Decisions: From Co-Education to Integration” (1957–1970), as well as Rice News articles and the Rice Thresher archives. We would like to acknowledge the kind assistance of Melissa Kean, centennial historian; Akilah Mance ’05; Alan Matusow, professor emeritus of history; and Jan West ’73, assistant director of Multicultural Community Relations as well as the many alumni who agreed to be quoted here.

m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u   35


When the baseball season ends, Rice Owls flock to collegiate leagues around the country, including the nation’s oldest — the Cape Cod Summer League. What’s it like to play ball in this storied community, where nightly games draw locals, tourists and scouts alike, and the fields are cooled by ocean breezes?

Photographs by Jared Leeds

When Ford Proctor wakes up, he’s thinking about baseball. He can’t help it. The sophomore is one of this year’s breakout stars in the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL), the 131-year-old amateur league that brings the best college players together each summer. Sometimes he’s dissecting his previous night’s performance, an at bat that didn’t go well, or an inning in which everything fell into place and, with a satisfying crack, he sent a ball sailing far into the outfield. Other times, he’s thinking about the dozens of things he has to do before that night’s game — 38 

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workouts, batting practice, assignments for a summer course he’s taking. Playing in the Cape League means living baseball 24 hours a day for 10 weeks. For Proctor, summer in the Cape entails balancing the magnificent with the mundane: playing nightly under the watchful eye of major league scouts and signing autographs for fans young and old, while also enduring long bus rides to away games through the Cape’s infamous summer traffic and remembering to let his host mom, Barbara Scalzi, know if he needs anything at the grocery store. It makes for long days, Proctor says, but long days make for better ballplayers. “When you’re facing good competition, you can only get better,” he says. “And playing every day, you get a lot of repetition, and that helps.” Or, as Barbara (Proctor affectionately calls her “Miss Barb”), puts it, “Baseball’s not the life I thought. I used to think it was all Johnny Damon and Big Papi [David Ortiz]. But when you see these kids … it’s a lot of work, a lot of bus rides.” Proctor and fellow Owls Ryan Chandler ’18 and Tristan Gray ’18 are the latest Rice

players to venture from Texas to the coast of Massachusetts for the Cape League. A summer in the Cape often acts as a prologue to a professional baseball career: as of 2015, 1,100 Cape League alums were playing at all levels of professional baseball, with 292 on major league rosters. It’s a place where baseball’s past and future brush up against each other, and players like Proctor develop a deeper appreciation for the mental stamina and physical work it takes to succeed. That’s all icing on the cake for Proctor, though. It’s nothing but baseball on the beach, all day, every day, for two and a half months. What could be better?

Baseball is as much mental as it is physical, and the preparation starts when players hit the field for batting practice three hours before the game.


The old Cape magic

Baseball runs in Proctor’s family. His brother, Anthony Fazio ’11, was a Rice baseball letterman. His father played college ball; so did his uncle and two of his brothers-in-law. It’s been a part of his life ever since he could “pick up a bat or throw a ball,” Proctor says. “It became a part of me. It’s something I’ve always done.” His first game was a T-ball match at the YMCA in Beaumont. Proctor was 3 or 4 years old, already well versed in the game’s mechanics thanks to tossing a ball around with his dad. He remembers how small the field was and how bright orange plastic fencing bordered the outfield. “I’ve got no idea how I did,” he says, laughing. “When I think about it now, I would have loved to have seen it.” However, Proctor’s college career has been well documented. His 2016 season with the Owls ended with a host of accolades, including five college baseball publications naming him to their freshman All-America teams. He’s kept that streak up in the Cape League, where, as of mid-July, he had the 10th-highest batting average. But Proctor tries not to think about success too much. During dinner one night, Barbara’s husband, Jim, casually mentioned that Proctor and Zach Rutherford (his roommate at the Scalzis’) had some of the highest batting averages in the league. Later, Proctor said to him, “Mr. Jim, just please say I’ve got the worst average in the league.” Baseball is a game of numbers, and Proctor thinks about each at bat in those terms. “There are times when you’re going to struggle, when you play 47 games, so I just stick with my approach, staying focused and confident,” Proctor says. But even then, he pauses and reconsiders. “I shouldn’t say confident. More like, relaxed. That I can depend on my game.” The Cape League is an incubator for that mind-set. Jim and Barbara Scalzi have been a host family for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (Proctor’s team) since 2010. They’ve welcomed 13 Cape League players into their home in Centerville in the last six years; more than a few have gone on to pro careers, and almost all stay in touch, sending the Scalzis photos, birthday videos and wedding invitations. What struck them most about Proctor were his manners (“He says, ‘Yes sir,’ or ‘Yes ma’am,’” Barbara says) and his easygoing attitude. “He’s got a good sense of humor, even about baseball,” Barbara says. “The way I look at it, the scouts here know


Ford Proctor ’19 (left) in the Hyannis Harbor Hawks’ dugout THIS PAGE FROM TOP

Tristan Gray ’18 and Ryan Chandler ’18 at bat for the Falmouth Commodores m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u    39

you’re good. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. They’re here to look at personalities, how you handle yourself and the disappointments.” For 10 weeks, Cape players learn how to play ball on and off the field. The league’s 10 teams have deep roots in the local communities. Players march in Fourth of July parades and visit schools and nursing homes. Before and after a game, it’s not unusual to see fans of all ages lining up to get game balls and programs autographed. It’s the sort of place where, during batting practice, a player can forget a pair of sunglasses on the bleachers only to have them returned an hour later by a fan who knew exactly to whom they belonged. For the players, it’s all a bit magical. If he’s got a little free time in the afternoon, Proctor likes to play a round of mini golf to help unwind before a game. Players get one day off each week, which leaves them time to hit the beach, go fishing, or visit with friends and family. And for the host families, it’s bittersweet. They watch the players grow more comfortable out on the field and catch a glimpse of the futures they might have. “We forget that they’re still very young,” Barbara says.

Every night is Friday night

There’s a saying about Cape League games: “Every night is Friday night.” As Proctor explains, it means

Before and after a game, it’s not unusual to see fans of all ages lining up to get game balls and programs autographed.

that whenever you step up to the plate, you’re facing down the country’s best Friday night starting pitchers. Baseball is as much mental as it is physical, and the preparation starts when players hit the field for batting practice three hours before the game. “I try to see my at bat before I get in the box. But here, a lot of people know the guys on the mound, so you can talk about what (the pitcher) does and who he is,” Proctor says. “When you do well, it’s very rewarding, but you also know you’re not always going to do well. It’s a game of failure. As a hitter, you fail more than you succeed. It’s really a mental grind.” BELOW The On a cold Saturday afternoon in early July, Chandler and Falmouth Gray, both on the Falmouth Commodores, hustle out onto Guv Commodores Fuller Field in Falmouth, Mass., for batting practice. face off against “Playing here, it’s easy to not feel the pressure,” says Gray, a the shortstop. “It’s not like during the college season, when you’re Hyannis thinking, ‘I’ve got to win this game.’ It is about that, but it’s about Harbor Hawks. learning how to compete and have fun while competing.”


The Scalzis’ “baseball room” pays homage to the Boston Red Sox. Proctor’s host parents, Barbara and Jim Scalzi. Proctor spends downtime hanging out with friends from the league.

Baseball is also a game of patience — waiting for the right pitch, divining the exact moment to steal second. And with nearly a regular season’s worth of games packed into 10 weeks, it’s also a game of mindfulness, of letting the past go in favor of the present. “Mentally, it’s all about taking each day one day at a time,” says Chandler, a center fielder. “You have to forget about what you did the day before because it’s baseball. You just go out there with a clear state of mind.” Having games six days a week helps with that, Gray says. “It’s a lot different to go from having four days off between games to trying to be your best six days into it, when your body’s aching.”

Thinking about the future

For many Cape players, that patience pays off. Rice alumnus David Aardsma ’03 played on the Falmouth Commodores in 2002 — and he credits that summer with making him a firstround MLB draft pick by the San Francisco Giants in 2003. “It’s the first time you really get put on a big stage … and you

find out where you really stand with real hitters and real wooden bats,” says Aardsma, who was recently named to the CCBL’s Hall of Fame. “It gave me the confidence that I could be an excellent pitcher and put it in my mind that I can do this and be really successful.” Baseball players are, by nature, superstitious, and when asked if they’re thinking about the scouts in the stands at each game or a future in the majors, Proctor, Chandler and Gray don’t want to talk about it. “It’s tough to make it to the big leagues,” says Proctor, who’s majoring in sport management and minoring in business. “There’s a reason only so many get to say they’ve made it.” Chandler agrees. “You try not to think about it. But it’s obviously in the back of your head.” Jim Scalzi, at least, is definitely thinking about Proctor’s chances. The Scalzis have each of their visiting players sign a bedroom door in the house. In the basement, Jim has what he modestly calls a “baseball room.” It’s more like a shrine to the game, and, in particular, to the Boston Red Sox, his hometown team. The finished basement is temperature controlled, with two rooms full of signed bats, balls, jerseys, catcher’s masks and other memorabilia. One wall is lined with bats signed by Cape League players, some of whom lived with the Scalzis, and some whom Jim watched at the games. They’re players he “took a hunch on,” he says, ones he thought were destined for big careers in professional baseball. Those hunches, he says, have often been proven right. When he’s asked if he’ll have Proctor sign a bat before he leaves the Cape at the end of the summer, Jim doesn’t hesitate. “Absolutely.” m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u    41

NIGHT OWL A serie s t hat pro fi le s Owl s whose wo rk take s flight at night .

Emergency Calls

Story by Jenny Blair | Photo by Elisabeth Fall



isn’t stuck in a daily routine. Her days vary so much that she has a hard time even making dinner plans. “The only thing that’s typical about my schedule is that it’s always atypical,” she said. Tenner is an emergency physician who fits in medical trips to Africa and elsewhere in addition to around-the-clock shifts at San Francisco General Hospital. As a specialist in health systems, tropical infectious disease and humanitarian crisis response, she sometimes finds herself jetting out of the country to work, making up for lost night shifts when she returns. As an academic emergency physician and global health fellowship director at the University of California at San Francisco, Tenner writes grants, mentors residents and medical students, serves on a disaster committee and works up to 21 emergency department shifts a month in San Francisco’s only Level 1 trauma center — many of them nights. After one recent shift, Tenner exercised with a trainer; drove to UCSF, while on the phone with a nonprofit; attended a meeting; bought groceries; met with a resident she’s mentoring, then with a university global-health group; and slept just under two hours. Then she went back to the emergency department for her next shift. The next morning, she caught three hours of sleep before heading to two meetings and a graduation ceremony. “It is pretty rare that I get eight hours of sleep in a day, but I think my body has gotten used to that. Or I’ve convinced myself that my body’s used to it,” she added. It’s been key, she said, to remain flexible and to bring her own happiness to the sometimes grim job. That’s her schedule stateside, but Tenner is also overseas a lot. In the last few years, she has traveled to Ghana,


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Rwanda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo — the latter while speaking fluent French — to help improve emergency care. Last year, Tenner ran an Ebola isolation unit in Sierra Leone, then waited out quarantine in Switzerland. These days, she’s also deputy director of the UCSF World Health Organization technical group; her job involves developing tools to teach emergency medicine all over the world. The trips can be humbling. In Tanzania, for instance, she planned to teach hospital doctors how to manage patients early in the course of their illness or injury, as an emergency physician learns to do in the U.S. But the country isn’t set up for that: its health system requires that patients with an emergency go first to a clinic. “Oftentimes we [were] seeing patients days after their injury,” she said. “It’s not what I expected based on my experience in U.S. emergency medicine.” Ironically, most of her night work happens closer to home. Abroad, she’s usually working office hours: “It’s one of the few times that I know that I will be awake during the day and asleep at night.” Back home, nights in the San Francisco emergency room can be brutal. “The night shifts are rough because that’s when a lot of the violence happens — shootings, stabbings and assaults,” she said. “Usually when I am seeing somebody, it’s one of the worst days of their life.” And yet, with fewer people in the emergency department at night than during the day, it can be easier to focus on the main goal, Tenner said: “Everybody is there for the patient.” There can be light moments, too. She recalls one patient being awakened by two nurses cheerfully helping him get ready to go home. They sang “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” to him, as he cracked a smile after his rough night. Even the rough times can bring unexpected solidarity. “[The recent massacre in] Orlando — that is every emergency physician’s fear, that you come onto a shift like that. But it’s also what you’re there for,” she said. “Part of the reason we do this job is to be there for people when things like that happen. “The next night after Orlando, our night nurses sent a bunch of pizzas to the night shift in Orlando,” she said. “It’s just showing support. Every emergency medicine practitioner knows that that could be them one day.”

Are you a night owl? Does your work schedule typically begin when the sun goes down? Send us a note at

m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u   43

c re at i ve i de a s a n d e n de avo r s


newest time-based, kinetic installation, opened Oct. 6 at the Rice Gallery. Schipper’s works reveal the flow of time as imperceptible until, as in life, we see the physical evidence of its passing. In “Cubicle,” he constructed an office setting that undergoes subtle, yet inescapable, changes over two months. “The 44 

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“CUBICLE” by Jonathan Schipper Through Dec. 4 Rice Gallery Sewall Hall Free and open to the public

most static object is still in motion at a molecular level, and the world is always changing,” Schipper said. “My installations are about destruction and creation, and they generally have no static point. It is the process of changing them that is the point.” The installation is Schipper’s newest work in his ongoing Slow Room series.


Time Passes

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Lounging Around

F R O M TO P : TA M I LY N N A N D R E W ; A L E S E P I C K E R I N G

Relax, study or stare at the live oaks on a Charles Renfro-designed bench in the Rice School of Architecture’s courtyard

root system. The bulk consists of high-density, milled foam covered in fiberglass and finished with resin. “We wanted to keep the scale of it in line with the base of the David building,” Renfro said. “It aligns Leebron and with the limestone base that Charles Renfro goes around the courtyard, and ’89 kick back on the of course it’s a riff on the circular SI and Susie cutout for the tree itself, as if the Morris Lounge stone surround had kind of lifted up and become the bench.” ricemagazine. Leebron noted that Edgar info/lounge Odell Lovett, Rice’s first president, paid great attention to detail as he oversaw the creation of the university more than a century ago. “What was important for Lovett was not just that sense of large functionality ... It was down to the details of the campus that can help support and inform what the university is about and what it inspires people to do in those spaces,” he said.  — MIKE WILLIAMS

CHARLES RENFRO ’89 WANTS YOU TO KNOW that the SI and Susie Morris Lounge is in Susie Morris Blue. “She picked the color of the bench! Literally, it’s the paint color in her living room,” Renfro, the architect, said. It’s a detail only a select few will notice while sitting at the lounge, which was dedicated in the courtyard at the Rice School of Architecture’s Anderson Hall Sept. 1. But to Renfro, to Rice President David Leebron and to everyone at RSA, the details really matter. The unveiling of the lounge completes a journey for the five Morris siblings — Peter, David, John, Maria Barlow and Laura Walls. Their father, the late Seth Irwin “SI” Morris ’35, was a longtime Houston architect whose love for Rice never waned. Nor did it for their mother, Susie, a Wellesley College alumna who died Aug. 19 but was deeply involved in the project that carries her name. Renfro, a principal at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, said he was delighted to donate his time and talent to RSA for the labor of love. The lounge is a bench, but with so much more going for it than that simple description implies. “Lie back, all you see are the branches of the tree,” Renfro said of his favorite spot. “It’s kind of experimental. It’s a very simplelooking form, but actually it’s fairly complex. There’s structural engineering and a great deal of craft.” He described the lounge as a monocoque structure, with its load supported by its external skin. There are minimal steel supports for the four legs, placed carefully to avoid the tree’s m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u   45

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Author Q&A

“The Texas Landscape Project: Nature and People” (Texas A&M University Press, 2016) FROM THE PANHANDLE’S PLOWED PLAYAS to the sinking soil of Houston, Texas faces a vast range of environmental issues. Those challenges have evolved as communities have grown, taxing the land but also spawning major conservation efforts. David Todd ’84, executive director of the Conservation History Association of Texas, who earned a master’s degree in environmental science at Rice, and his co-author, Jonathan Ogren, examine the changing face of Texas environmentalism in “The Texas Landscape Project: Nature and People.” The book takes a visual approach to a complicated issue, using more than 400 maps and graphics to make sense of the big data behind this Texas-sized environmental survey.

We hope the atlas’ maps will help people connect with the coast, the canyons, the high plains or the deep forests of the state; anywhere that strikes a chord.

Did you come across any surprising finds during your research for the book? I was struck by how Texans are volunteering far and wide for conservation: tagging birds, sampling streams, planting prairies and reintroducing rare wildlife.

The book includes an alarming graphic of the degree to which Houston is sink-

ing. How worried should Houstonians be about that? Parts of Houston have sunk by as much as 10 feet due to groundwater use but, fortunately, subsidence has slowed as the city has switched to surface water. Still, the city’s monsoons, flat terrain, tight clay soils and extensive paving will likely continue to bring high water. Keep your rubber boots!

You tell the sad story of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, a lovable-looking 100-pound Gulf denizen, which began to die off not long after it was discovered. Do efforts to preserve this species have a chance at succeeding? The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle teaches us that even very rare species can bounce back with smart research, steady work and cooperation. However, the recent stall in the turtle’s 30-year revival (likely due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf The book includes this chart of Houston’s “land surface subsidence” — or sinking — between 1906 and 2000. Some areas have dropped by as much as 10 feet.


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of Mexico) reminds us that we always need to be cautious.

You also write about a less lovable Texas resident, the fire ant. Why should we care about fire ants? Red imported fire ants are a concern for their damage to endangered species, game birds and a variety of pollinators, lizards, turtles and snakes. Plus, they have brought out the worst in humans, inviting chemical dousings with often counterproductive results. In the end, the ants remind us of how invasive species can bring severe and unpredictable impacts.

You mention that some people have called our era the “Sixth Great Extinction,” likening it to the die-out of the dinosaurs. Is that accurate? I think it’s fair — and sad. A global sample of 10,000 species found that their populations shrank by an average of more than 50 percent from 1970 to 2010. Current global species losses are estimated at 100 to 1,000 times the prehuman extinction rates.

Is there a region in Texas you think is facing the gravest environmental danger right now? Texas’ native prairies are likely facing the biggest challenge: Many of them have been destroyed by cultivation, overgrazing, grading and paving. For instance, less than a tenth of a percent of the state’s Blackland tallgrass prairie remains. For a state that was once mostly grassland country, this is clearly worrying.  — JENNIFER LATSON Read more about “The Texas Landscape Project” at


What inspired you to look at Texas’ environmental issues in this very visual, atlas-like way?

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On the Bookshelf

True Faith and Allegiance: A Story of Service and Sacrifice in War and Peace


Honor Bound: How a Cultural Ideal Has Shaped the American Psyche

A Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism Reader

Ryan P. Brown ’93

Rabbi Daniel M. Horwitz ’73

Alberto R. Gonzales ’79

(Oxford University Press, 2016)

(Nelson Books, 2016)

What does it mean to be an “honor culture”? Brown, a professor of social psychology at the University of Oklahoma, argues that the American South and West are honor cultures, in which honor is prized above other values, affecting everything from the frequency of bar fights to the names parents give their children. Brown writes, “In an honor culture, reputation is everything, so people go to great lengths to defend their reputations … against threats and insults.” Hence a relative increase in bar fights, since, as Brown explains, “‘What did you just call me?’ is … a prelude to potential violence.” (There also are three times as many school shootings in states with an honor culture.) But honor cultures can be a force for good in other ways. For example, there are fewer nursing homes in these areas, since, Brown writes, “people are honor bound to provide care for their aging parents.”

The former U.S. attorney general’s autobiography is both personal and political. Gonzales narrates his journey from working-class roots in Humble, Texas, where he shared a two-bedroom house with his parents and seven siblings, to his education at Rice and Harvard Law School and a career studded by impressive accomplishments — including becoming the first Hispanic to lead the nation’s largest law enforcement agency. But the book focuses on his role as counsel to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. Gonzales documents the legal and ethical quandaries he helped the president navigate after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, including the controversial authorization of military tribunals to try suspected terrorists. Gonzales, who resigned from the post of attorney general in 2007, is a law professor at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.


This November, the Shepherd School of Music’s opera program presents “Trouble in Tahiti” by American composer Leonard Bernstein and “Gianni Schicchi” by Giacomo Puccini. “Trouble in Tahiti” is set in American suburbia in the 1950s and reflects the artificiality of life in the suburbs. “Gianni Schicchi” is a comedic tale of scheming family members, each hoping Bernstein


(The Jewish Publication Society, 2016)

Daniel Horwitz had been a rabbi for more than a decade before he began studying Jewish mysticism, of which Kabbalah is perhaps the best-known form. His book is a primer for others who are just beginning to discover Judaism’s mystical tradition, offering an introduction to the five major schools of Jewish mysticism, along with annotated excerpts of key mystical texts. “All religions deal with a very basic problem: the gap between God and human beings,” he explains in his preface. “This book is a partial record of what Jews have done to bridge that gap.” Horwitz is a rabbi at Houston’s Congregation Beth Yeshurun.

to inherit the estate of their lost “loved one.” The production, originally set at the end of the 13th century and updated to the 20th, includes one of opera’s most famous arias, “O Mio Babbino Caro.” Richard Bado conducts with stage direction by Debra Dickinson. The Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra accompanies the performances, which will take place in the Wortham Opera Theater. For schedules and info, visit ShepherdCalendar.  — PHILIPPA JARVIS m a g a z i n e . r i c e . e d u   47


A Link to Rice’s Earliest Days Katherine Tsanoff Brown (1919–2016) By Melissa Fitzsimons Kean ’00 Centennial Historian

of her life at Rice. Her father, philosophy professor Radoslav Tsanoff, was among the earliest arrivals at the new institute. He and his wife, Corinne, raised Brown and her sister in the tightly knit campus community; their friends were the sons and daughters of the other young teachers. Besides a sense of community, Brown imbibed a powerful sense of the excitement of scholarship, which led her to an exemplary career as a researcher and a teacher. Brown entered Rice as a student in fall 1934, when she was only 15 years old. She had a stellar career academically — she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was a member of the Elizabeth Baldwin Literary Society. She went on to earn an MFA from Cornell, married Rice alumnus H. Fletcher Brown ’30 and returned to teach in the Rice architecture school in 1963, later becoming the school’s first art historian. Like her father, Brown was an excellent teacher, honored with awards and with the gratitude of generations of students. She spent a decade as dean of undergraduates, a role for which she was almost perfectly suited. Calm and gentle, she had exacting


R i c e M a g a z i n e | FA L L 2 0 1 6

Clockwise from top: Brown, pictured in 1971, when she won the Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching; in her office in 1983; and posing with her sister and the daughters of Rice Dean Robert Caldwell in Grenoble (second from left).

standards and respected both the intellect and the emotions of the students. Katherine Tsanoff Brown was quiet and strong and almost impossibly elegant. She was a scholar and an artist who remained committed to the primacy of undergraduate education. The campus won’t be the same without her bold and confident stride. In her popular blog, Rice History Corner, Kean solves puzzles and unearths the stories behind the photos, objects and ephemera that reside in Rice University’s archives. See more at





“Financial aid is the only reason I was able to attend Rice. I owe Rice everything.”

ABRIL BRUGO ’18 Scholarship support gave Abril access to a world-class education at Rice. The opportunities haven’t ended there. The psychology major is preparing for a future advocating for human rights. Most recently, she went on a spring break research trip to Dubai with the Baker Institute’s Urban Lab. “I compared human trafficking policy in Houston and Dubai,” she said. “I had read about wealth disparity, but being there led to another level of realization. I spent one day visiting a labor camp and another walking across a beautiful bridge that those laborers were forbidden to use. Before I came to Rice, I never expected to have that kind of opportunity.” When you support Rice Annual Fund scholars through the Initiative for Students, you provide the first of an endless array of educational opportunities for students like Abril. To learn more about her story and the impact of scholarship support, visit To support the Rice Annual Fund Scholars program and the Initiative for Students, please contact Emily Hilber, director of the Rice Annual Fund, at 713-348-4666 or

Rice University, Creative Services–MS 95 P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251-1892

This Is Genius Photo courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

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SEPT. 22 WAS A RED-LETTER DAY ON CAMPUS. That’s when the news broke that Rice bioengineer and global health pioneer Rebecca Richards-Kortum had received a MacArthur Fellowship, widely known as a “genius grant,” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The founder and director of Rice’s award-winning Rice 360º Institute for Global Health, Richards-Kortum is the first Houston scientist, the first Houston woman and the first Rice faculty member to win the award. The fellowships come with a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000. MacArthur Fellows represent all disciplines and are chosen for “exceptional creativity, as demonstrated through a track record of significant achievement, and manifest promise for important future advances,” according to the foundation. “What characterizes Rebecca’s work is imagination, research and execution in the service of saving lives, notably the lives of poor infants and mothers,” Rice President David Leebron said. “She achieves her work through an extraordinary range of collaboration that empowers people around her, both professionals and students. She combines the teaching, research and service missions of the university to accomplish dramatic improvement in the lives of the poorest people and truly inspires her students to make a difference in the world.” Watch for our complete story on Richards-Kortum and the Rice 360º Institute for Global Health’s efforts in Malawi in Rice Magazine’s Winter 2017 issue. — L.G. See the MacArthur Foundation’s video about Richards-Kortum at

Rice Magazine | Fall 2016  

50 Years of Black Undergraduate Life at Rice

Rice Magazine | Fall 2016  

50 Years of Black Undergraduate Life at Rice