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| Taxes



| Musical Bridges

| Exercise and Memory


| Survey Results


The Magazine of Rice University

| Skyspace


No. 10 | 2011


Freedom and Fire

The Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra

18 20 24 28 30 34 36


Contents 9 A commitment to

music helps bridge the language gap for Shepherd School faculty in China.

10 Having supportive

friends is as important for countries as it is for individuals.

11 Observant Servants 4

Ah, to be a Freshman 15 for Seventeen.

4 If you’re putting on a

poker face at work, you might be harming your health.

5 The latest rankings

name Rice tops in value, quality and reputation.

3 The American

Academy of Arts and Sciences again taps Rice for a new member.

10 Having trouble remembering to get out and exercise?

Maybe you’re putting the cart before the horse.

12 Thanks for your

responses to our survey. And now, the results….

6 When it comes time to


8 Taxes may be a

necessary evil, but is it possible to make them more equitable and less onerous?

heed the call to public service, Rice students step up and stand tall.


Rice film school


Students 16 Looking for summer internship possibilities used to be a chore, but no longer, thanks to the enterprising students who founded


17 Tropical memories warm the Shepherd School faculty and students who took their talents to audiences throughout the Caribbean.

18 Musical Connections

Music connects us not only to other people, but also to our own histories.

By David Leebron

Arts 40 At first glance, it looked like Rice Gallery was empty except for a section of wooden flooring. Then, as if cast from nowhere, faint shadows began to fall across the walls and floor.

20 Freedom and Fire

The Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra isn’t just one of the best student orchestras in the country; it’s one of the best, period.

By Christopher Dow

41 Training musicians might be the most obvious contribution of the Shepherd School, but studying the way music affects individuals, society and human culture can be as important as playing.

24 On the Wings of Song

Training to sing Mozart or Verdi requires more than just making a good voice sound better.

By Kelly Klaasmeyer

42 The new skyspace by celebrated artist James Turrell moves one step closer to reality.

28 Hitting the Right Note

From contemporary classical to electronic music to soundtracks, the music of Rice composers is playful, adventurous and challenging.

By David Theis

43 The Shepherd School cello program is anything but mellow, and the students would have it no other way.


30 All in the Family

Is music in the blood? For affirmation, you need look no further than the four Kufchak siblings currently enrolled at the Shepherd School of Music.

By Leslie Contreras Schwartz

44 Friendship bread is a type of bread made from a sourdough starter, and it’s also the title of a new heartwarming novel by Darien Hsu Gee. 44 A reluctant crusader mobilizes after one of her children became extremely ill following an “ordinary” meal.

34 Beyond Performance

Bringing classical music to the stage takes more than adept fingers on strings and keys — it also requires knowing your sources.


B y Tr a c y W u

36 Let’s Go to Market


45 Recounting the struggle to regulate the environmental and economic resources of “Seward’s Folly.”

Sports 46 Coach Wayne Graham drives in another record win.

Every Tuesday afternoon, the parking lot next to Rice Stadium comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of the Rice University Farmers Market.

46 When Thor says he’s going to finish something, he finishes it.

B y Tr a c e y R h o a d e s

47 Baseball — another successful season for the team.


48 The Rice Swim Team gets its feet wet with its first league title.

Rice Magazine

No. 10




Rice Magazine No. 10


The Shepherd School of Music, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, may be one of the country’s youngest university music schools, but it also is one of the most prestigious. The school attracts stellar faculty and an international student body, and it educates musicians on the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels who go on to make beautiful music all over the world. Part of the school’s success is due to its top-notch students, who frequently win major competitions and graduate into the ranks of some of the best orchestras and musical groups. Rice musicians populate much of the Houston Symphony and Bach Society, for example; at a recent all-Ravel weekend hosted by the symphony, about 40 percent of the musicians on stage either studied or taught at the Shepherd School. Other Shepherd School musicians can be found in coveted positions in orchestras and opera companies around the globe, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco and Chicago symphonies, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France, to name but a few. The extraordinary success of Shepherd School graduates is a tribute to our phenomenal faculty members, who embody excellent musicianship, deep musical scholarship and acclaimed teaching skills. Many have been nominated for and won Grammies, England’s Gramophone Record of the Year and other major music awards. Rice composer Karim AlZand, for example, has just been named a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the Arts and Letters Academy Award in Music. The Shepherd School connects the university with the world in ways that only music can. The school’s more than 350 free concerts and recitals attract more than 75,000 listeners each year. Its engagement beyond the hedges can be as close as the Caribbean, where several Shepherd School musicians were invited aboard the debut sail of Symphonic Voyages, a full-immersion, classical-music-themed cruise, or farther away, where Shepherd School faculty are cultivating a relationship with the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. Dedicating their musical abilities to disaster-stricken Japan, Shepherd School students even hosted a benefit concert titled “Dear Japan — With Love, 2011” that raised money for the Japanese Red Cross in the wake of the earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis. Less visible, but as important, are the numerous music programs for underserved youth conducted by Shepherd School alumni on almost every continent. And Shepherd School students have been selected for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Conservatory Project eight out of eight years, and the 2011 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges recently called the school one of “the 10 music schools that should be on your radar.” As President David Leebron notes in his column, music speaks in a universal tongue that is beyond differences in language and culture and that even speaks across time. Most of all, the beauty, beat and poetry of music draws on some of the best qualities that we share as human beings. I hope you can tap your toe and hum along with this issue of Rice Magazine.

Christopher Dow

Published by the Office of Public Affairs Linda Thrane, vice president Editor Christopher Dow Editorial Director Tracey Rhoades Creative Director Jeff Cox Art Director Chuck Thurmon Editorial Staff B.J. Almond, staff writer Jade Boyd, staff writer Franz Brotzen, staff writer Jenny West Rozelle, assistant editor David Ruth, staff writer Mike Williams, staff writer Photographers Tommy LaVergne, photographer Jeff Fitlow, assistant photographer The Rice University Board of Trustees James W. Crownover, chairman; J.D. Bucky Allshouse; D. Kent Anderson; Keith T. Anderson; Laura Arnold; Subha Viswanathan Barry; Suzanne Deal Booth; Robert T. Brockman; Nancy P. Carlson; T. Jay Collins; Lynn Laverty Elsenhans; Douglas Lee Foshee; Susanne Morris Glasscock; Lawrence Guffey; James T. Hackett; John Jaggers; Larry Kellner; Robert R. Maxfield; M. Kenneth Oshman; Ralph Parks; Jeffery O. Rose; Lee H. Rosenthal; Hector de J. Ruiz; L. E. Simmons; Charles Szalkowski; Robert B. Tudor III; James S. Turley; Randa Duncan Williams. Administrative Officers David W. Leebron, president; George McLendon, provost; Kathy Collins, vice pr esident for Finance; Kevin Kirby, vice president for Administration; Caroline Levander, vice president for Interdisciplinary Initiatives; Ron Long, interim vice president for Investments and treasurer; Chris Muñoz, vice president for Enrollment; Linda Thrane, vice president for Public Affairs; Richard A. Zansitis, vice president and general counsel; Darrow Zeidenstein, vice president for Resource Development. Rice Magazine is published by the Office of Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate students, parents of undergraduates and friends of the university. Editorial Offices Creative Services–MS 95 P.O. Box 1892 Houston, TX 77251-1892 Fax: 713-348-6757 Email:


The author of Rice’s sustainability policy was Phillip Levine, not class members of ENST 302, as incorrectly stated in “Focus on Sustainability” (Winter 2007).





Djerejian Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences Edward Djerejian, founding director of Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — one of the highest honors for leaders in academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts. Djerejian is one of 212 distinguished fellows in the 2011 class, whose members include recipients of the Nobel, Pulitzer and Pritzker prizes and Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy awards. “Ambassador Djerejian’s acceptance into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is well deserved because his professional life has embodied the academy’s goal of promoting service by analyzing critical issues and developing practical solutions,” said James A. Baker, III, honorary chairman of the Baker Institute. “As a U.S. diplomat, he was dedicated to peaceful resolution of complicated international problems. As the founding director of the Baker Institute, he has fostered the public engagement that is required to bridge the world of ideas and the world of action.”

well-attended lectures, seminars and conferences that are open to the public. Djerejian teaches a course at Rice on Contemporary United States Middle East Policy. Djerejian joined the Foreign Service in 1962, and his assignments included postings in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. He headed the political section in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during the critical period in U.S.–Soviet relations marked by the invasion of Afghanistan. Prior to his nomination by President Bill Clinton as U.S. ambassador to Israel, he served presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and presidents Ronald Reagan and Bush as U.S. ambassador to the Syrian Arab

“As a U.S. diplomat, he was dedicated to peaceful resolution of complicated international problems. As the founding director of the Baker Institute, he has fostered the public engagement that is required to bridge the world of ideas and the world of action.” — James A. Baker, III

At Baker’s invitation, Djerejian came to Rice in 1994 after a distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service to establish the Baker Institute. He spearheaded the institute’s research programs and the construction of Baker Hall, which houses the Baker Institute, and oversaw the expansion of the institute to more than three dozen fellows, scholars and administrative staff. Djerejian has worked diligently to raise the Baker Institute’s profile. In addition to frequent appearances in print and broadcast media, he established state-of-the-art communications facilities in Baker Hall that are available to all the institute’s fellows and scholars for radio and television interviews and for workshops and seminars. And the effort has paid off: The Baker Institute is ranked 27th among think tanks in the United States and 16th among university-affiliated think tanks worldwide, according to a 2010 study by the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Djerejian also has dedicated himself to reaching out to the Rice community and integrating the institute into campus life. A Baker Institute internship program sends students to Washington, D.C., each summer, and students have traveled abroad under Baker Institute international intern programs. The Baker Institute Student Forum offers Rice students their own public policy forum and direct exposure to national and foreign leaders. And the institute conducts

Republic. Djerejian also served as special assistant to Reagan and deputy press secretary for foreign affairs in the White House. Since leaving government, he has served on congressionally mandated commissions, including the Iraq Study Group and the Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World. Djerejian reflects on these experiences in his book, “Danger and Opportunity: An American Ambassador’s Journey Through the Middle East” (Simon & Schuster Threshold Editions), which was published in 2008. He is the recipient of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award among other government awards, the Anti-Defamation League’s Moral Statesman Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Association of Rice Alumni’s Gold Medal — the group’s most prestigious award for service to Rice University. Djerejian is married to the former Françoise Andrée Liliane Marie Haelters, who, in her own right, has made major contributions to the development of the Baker Institute. They have a son, Gregory, and a daughter, Francesca, as well as two grandchildren, Isabel and Sebastian. —Franz Brotzen More information on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is available at: ›››

Rice Magazine

No. 10



A Freshman 15 for Seventeen Like most other incoming Rice freshmen, Veronica Saron spent ample time Googling suggestions of things to bring with her to college. She’d hoped to find one resource that could give her the lowdown of what she needed in her room and for her classes throughout that crucial first year. What she found, however, was the opportunity to become that resource for other students when she was chosen as one of only 15 young women across the country to chronicle their freshman years through blogs, pictures and videos for Seventeen Magazine’s “Freshman 15.” “There were a lot of firsts universal to the college experience,” Saron said, “but I found that documenting the Ricespecific firsts was especially fun — first O-Week, first football game against UT, first visit to the Rice Village, first time playing intercollegiate intramurals, first Beer-Bike,” Saron said. “The list goes on, and it was awesome to be able to document this collection of firsts on a national level, and corny as it may sound, it’s special to be able to look back on those firsts by sifting through the blog.” —Jessica Stark

Read a Q&A with Veronica Saron: ››› Read the article in Seventeen: ›››

Poker-Faced Professions Take Toll on Employees Employees who have to maintain a neutral disposition while they are on the clock tend to spend more energy to meet that requirement; therefore, they have less energy to devote to work tasks, according to new research from Rice University, the University of Toronto and Purdue University. The researchers found that workers who must avoid appearing either overly positive or negative — such as journalists, health care professionals, social workers, lawyers and law enforcement officers — suppress expressions of emotion more than workers in other service-oriented professions, where the expression of positive emotions is called for. “Our study shows that emotion suppression takes a toll on people,” said Daniel Beal, assistant professor of psychology at Rice and co-author of the study. “It takes energy to suppress emotions, so it’s not surprising that workers who must remain neutral are often more rundown or show greater levels of burnout. The more energy you spend controlling your emotions, the less energy you have to devote to the task at hand.” Beal and his co-authors, John Trougakos of the University of Toronto and Christine Jackson of Purdue University, found that employees will generally engage in higher levels of suppression in an attempt to adhere to the neutral display requirement to meet the expectations of their managers or the public. Another consequence the researchers noticed was that customers who interacted with a neutrally expressive employee were in less-positive moods and, in turn, gave lower ratings of service quality and held less-positive attitudes toward that employee’s organization. The findings suggest that even though neutrality in such jobs is required for a number of reasons — to maintain trust, to keep a situation calm, to not influence the actions of others — it may not result in a particularly positive reaction from others. “When an employee is positive, it transfers to the client or customer they’re working with,” Beal said. “Because of that good mood, the client or customer then would rate the organization better. But if an employee is maintaining a neutral demeanor, you don’t have those good feelings transferred. If an organization’s goal is to be unbiased, then that may trump any desire the organization has to be well-liked.” The study, “Service Without a Smile: Comparing the Consequences of Neutral and Positive Display Rules,” was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. —Jessica Stark

Read the study: ››› 8 2



Value, Quality, Reputation


Rice University’s status as a higher education institution with very high research activity and a comprehensive doctoral program was reaffirmed in the recent Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.


For the seventh time in the seven years of its rankings, Princeton Review has named Rice University one of the nation’s 50 “best value” private colleges and universities. It is the only private university in Texas on the 2011 list. Selection was based on academics, cost of attendance and financial aid.

“With ample scholarship and aid programs to defray the costs, it is no surprise that Rice is consistently ranked among the nation’s best value colleges.” —Princeton Review Of the 108 research universities classified as having “very high research activity,” only four are in Texas: Rice, Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston. Rice also is a member of the Association of American Universities, an organization of the top 63 research institutions in the U.S. and Canada, and ranked among the top 20 schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. In Carnegie’s elective category for community engagement, Rice won classification as a school that has a substantial commitment to collaboration between the university and its home community. Read the Carnegie report: ››› 84

“With ample scholarship and aid programs to defray the costs,” the Princeton Review editors wrote in their profile of Rice, “it is no surprise that Rice is consistently ranked among the nation’s best value colleges.” The editors noted Rice’s “unique combination of a top-ranked research institution in an intimate community of only 3,500 undergraduates” and described students as “smart, ultratalented and ambitious.” Rice has “world-class engineering and science programs,” one of the top five undergraduate architecture schools and “one of the nation’s most prestigious music programs,” they said. The profile also notes that the Princeton Review has ranked Rice No. 1 for “best quality of life” and No. 2 for “lots of race/class interaction.” See the alphabetical list: ››› 8 3


Eight areas of graduate study at Rice University are ranked among the top 20 nationally in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 edition of “Best Graduate Schools.” U.S. News bases the rankings on expert opinions about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students. Rice’s bioengineering program is in a three-way tie for eighth place.


Wheelin’ Out the History Beneath sunny skies May 22, more than 250 decorated cars made the annual two-hour trek known as the Houston Art Car Parade, the largest event of its kind in the world. Included was an entry from Rice called Centennial Sammy, which featured a vintage 1912 Model T in honor of the university’s centennial anniversary in 2012 and mascot, Sammy the Owl. A squadron of Segways driven by Rice faculty, students and staff bedecked in Buckyball head gear and centennial T-shirts accompanied the car. President David Leebron was on hand to help judge the entries. Rice participates in several Houston area parades each year as part of its engagement with its home city.

Rice’s environmental engineering program is in a five-way tie for 16th place.

Rice’s computer engineering program is in a three-way tie for 20th place.

The entrepreneurship program at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business is in a five-way tie for 14th place.

U.S. News did not rank the science departments this year, so their rankings from 2010 remain intact. Those in the top 20 include: Atomic/molecular/optical specialty in physics — tied for No. 9.

Geophysics and seismology specialty in Earth sciences — tied for No. 12.

Programming language specialty in computer science — No. 12.

Computer science program — seven-way tie for No. 20.

For more on the rankings, visit: ›››

Rice Magazine

No. 10



Critically Acclaimed Clarinetist Joins Rice University Faculty The trademark velvety, sonorous tone that clarinetist Richie Hawley draws from his instrument will become a feature at Rice this fall when the critically acclaimed musician joins the Shepherd School of Music faculty. Dedicated to performing chamber music, Hawley appears regularly as a chamber musician and recitalist throughout the United States and abroad. At Rice, he will be a part of the Shepherd School’s celebrated orchestral training program. He succeeds Michael Webster, professor of clarinet, who retired from a distinguished teaching career at the end of this academic year. Hawley was appointed principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in 1994 at the age of 23, only two years after graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music. He has since enjoyed a rewarding and multifaceted career as an orchestral clarinetist, recitalist, chamber musician, teacher and clinician. He also has served as the head of the clarinet department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, which under his leadership became one of the most outstanding clarinet schools in the country. During the summer season, Hawley serves on the faculty at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, which holds one of the premier summer festivals for exceptionally talented musicians from around the world. As both a performer and an educator, Hawley has been the recipient of several coveted awards. In 1988, his trio, Trio Con Brio, won first prize at the Coleman Chamber Music competition. That same year, he was one of five musicians to receive the Gold Medal as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts from Ronald Reagan in a ceremony at the White House. He has received the Léni Fé Bland Foundation Career Grant twice, and he was awarded the 2009 Glover Award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s convocation ceremony. Hawley began his clarinet studies with Yehuda Gilad at the Colburn School of Performing Arts at age 9. He made his orchestral solo debut at age 13, performing Weber with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as the winner of its student stars competition. At age 14, he performed Rossini’s “Introduction, Theme and Variations” at one of the New York Philharmonic’s young person’s subscription concerts as a winner of the Philharmonic’s national talent search competition. While a student of Donald Montanaro at the Curtis Institute of Music, Hawley appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Hawley graduated from Curtis in 1992. Hawley is married to Shepherd alumna Maureen Nelson ’04, who is a member of the Enso Quartet, which was the school’s resident graduate string quartet from 2002 to 2004.

Presidential Honors Once again, Rice University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community. The honor roll recognizes higher education institutions for exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs. The selection was made by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service. It is the highest federal recognition a university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, academic community service and civic engagement. Rice was among more than 600 colleges and universities recognized for their volunteer efforts to impact issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic servicelearning courses. “Service to the Houston community is an integral part of the undergraduate student experience at Rice University,” said Mac Griswold, director of Rice’s Community Involvement Center. “This recognition honors the commitments of both the institution and its students.” The Community Involvement Center (CIC) was established as the center for community service programming for Rice students, faculty and staff. The CIC seeks to establish a culture of service and an ethic of social responsibility within the university community by developing one-time and ongoing service programs, advising student service organizations and serving as a resource for students, faculty and staff interested in community service and service-learning. The CIC coordinates a number of opportunities for civic involvement throughout the year, including O-Week Outreach Day; Urban Immersion; two fairs highlighting career, internship and volunteer opportunities; the International Service Project to Guatemala; and an Alternative Spring Break program. The CIC is one of three components of the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), led by Executive Director Kellie Sims Butler. The CCE identifies and cultivates opportunities for Rice students, faculty and staff to engage the Houston community and the world through scholarship, service and leadership. The CNCS oversees the annual President’s Higher Education Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. —Jennifer Evans

See the complete honor roll: ›››

—Jessica Stark

Learn more about Rice’s Community Involvement Center: ››› 6



MIT’s Head of Materials Science and Engineering Named Dean of Engineering Edwin “Ned” Thomas, the chair of the country’s No. 1-ranked Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will become dean of Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering July 1.

“I’ve been successful at helping people who are really good get even better, get promoted and get tenure.” — Edwin Thomas

Both a materials scientist and a mechanical engineer, Thomas has spent the past 22 years on the MIT faculty. MIT’s School of Engineering and Department of Materials Science and Engineering have been ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report all 22 years. As MIT’s Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering since 1989, Thomas has worked with electrical engineers and physicists on photonics and nanostructure fabrication and has collaborated with synthetic polymer chemists, chemical engineers and mechanical engineers. In 2002, he founded MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN), which has received more than $11 million in annual funding and involves some 60 faculty members from 12 departments. Thomas said research at the ISN benefits servicemen and women through the development of lightweight gear that can help reduce the loads in their backpacks, creating a device that can remotely “sniff” for TNT so that humans don’t have to risk their lives getting close to bombs, and other technologies. Co-author of the textbook “The Structure of Materials,” Thomas said he’s also a fan of “practical engineering” and has 14 patents, three of which are licensed to a company he co-founded — OmniGuide — that specializes in revolutionary minimally invasive CO2 surgery. A “perfect mirror” discovered by Thomas and one of his students is employed in flexible, hollow-core photonic fibers for laser surgical applications for endoscopic procedures. His research in polymeric materials is well-known and respected worldwide. Thomas served as director of MIT’s Program in Polymer Science and Technology and as deputy director of the MIT Microphotonics Center prior to being named head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2006. Coming from a department with a research budget of $35 million, 32 faculty members, 225 graduate students, 140 undergraduates

and 83 postdocs, Thomas said that Rice’s School of Engineering is “the right size.” “I’ll be able to remember the names and faces of everyone on the faculty,” he said. Like scouts in sports who can spot players with talent, Thomas said he has “a good gene” for finding talented people. “I’ve been successful at helping people who are really good get even better, get promoted and get tenure.” He also views himself as a catalyst and likes to give young faculty “really hard problems,” he said. “The harder the problem, the more interested they are.” And that factors into why engineering is central to society. In addition to his role as dean, Thomas will be the William and Stephanie Sick Chair and a professor in both the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Prior to joining the faculty at MIT, Thomas served on the chemical engineering faculty at the University of Minnesota and then as chair of the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts. In 2009, he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has a B.S. in mechanical engineering and engineering science from the University of Massachusetts and a Ph.D. in materials science from Cornell University. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Thomas said he will remain a Red Sox fan after he moves to Houston. He and his wife of 40 years, Dee, have three daughters and three grandsons. Thomas will succeed Sidney Burrus, who has served as interim dean of engineering since Sept. 1, 2010. Burrus also served as Rice’s dean of engineering from 1998 to 2005. He will remain on the faculty as the Maxfield and Oshman Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering. —B.J. Almond

Rice Magazine

No. 10



President Barack Obama is looking for causes that have appeal to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and comprehensive tax reform could attract both Democrats and Republicans.

Is the Time Right for Comprehensive Income Tax Reform? Taxes may be a necessary evil, but is it possible to make them more equitable and less onerous? It is, say John Diamond, adjunct assistant professor of economics and the James A. Baker III Institute’s Edward A. and Hermena Hancock Kelly Fellow in Public Finance, and George Zodrow, the Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Chair of Economics and a Rice Scholar in the Baker Institute’s Tax and Expenditure Policy Program. In a new report, “Fundamental Tax Reform: Then and Now,” the two distinguished economists examine the conditions that led to the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA86), the last major effort to update the U.S. income tax system. They compare those circumstances to today’s environment and conclude that the conditions are right for another sweeping reform of the tax system. The report then describes the researchers’ views of the general contours that fundamental individual and corporate tax reform should take. Diamond, who is also the forum editor for the National Tax Journal, and Zodrow, who is also an international research fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for Business Taxation and editor of the National Tax Journal, maintain that political conditions in 1986 in many ways resemble the current environment. In particular, 1986 was characterized by a highly partisan atmosphere — with each party controlling one house of Congress and each seeking political advantage for the coming battle for the White House — that had most pundits predicting legislative gridlock. The report notes the “widespread disgust with the income tax system” that characterized conditions in 1986, including: • the prevalence of tax shelters that enabled wealthy taxpayers to escape much of their tax liability. • high tax rates that hampered economic growth by discouraging labor supply, saving and investment. • distortions of consumption, saving and investment decisions caused by differential tax treatment of similar economic activities. • a tax code that was “hopelessly complex, resulting in high compliance and administrative costs and a pervasive sense that the tax system was fundamentally unfair as only those knowledgeable enough and willing to ‘game’ the tax system were able to significantly reduce their tax burdens.”


Those concerns, Diamond and Zodrow wrote, were sufficiently important to win the day for fundamental tax reform 25 years ago in an impressive display of bipartisanship, and the current environment offers similar possibilities. President Barack Obama is looking for causes that have appeal to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and comprehensive tax reform could attract both Democrats and Republicans. Diamond and Zodrow point to five criteria that any tax overhaul should include. Specifically, fundamental tax reform should be revenue-neutral, equitable, simple, efficient and create a favorable environment for foreign investment. It also should reduce or eliminate many tax credits, deductions and exemptions, use the resulting revenue to reduce rates in a revenue and distributionally neutral manner, and consolidate and simplify any remaining tax preferences. Among the many sensitive issues for individual taxpayers that the authors address are the home mortgage interest deduction, caps on deductions for employer-provided health insurance, deductions for state and local taxes and bonds, and the deduction for charitable contributions. For business taxes, Diamond and Zodrow propose eliminating “as many tax preferences as politically feasible” and using the resulting revenues to lower the corporate tax rate and follow the general principles underlying the 1986 legislation. Their goal is to “reduce costly distortions of economic decisions and thus promote economic growth and economic efficiency in resource allocation, simplify tax administration and compliance, reduce incentives for tax evasion and tax avoidance, including incentives for income shifting abroad by U.S. multinationals, and create a fairer tax system.” The Baker Institute business tax proposal also would be a traditional base-broadening, rate-reducing reform plan. Among the business deductions singled out for elimination are accelerated depreciation allowances, the special deduction for U.S. manufacturing activities and various industryspecific tax preferences. —Franz Brotzen

Read the report: ››› 86 View a video interview with Diamond and Zodrow: ››› 87



Shepherd School

Cultivates Relationship With Chinese Conservatory

From hosting virtuoso professionals to turning prodigies into prodigious talents, Robert Yekovich has been exposed to the best the musical world has to offer. So it is a rarity when Yekovich, the Elma Schneider Professor of Music and dean of the Shepherd School of Music, encounters a moment in which anyone, student or otherwise, evokes from an instrument a sound unlike any he’s ever heard. Such was the case in November when Yekovich sat in the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music (BCCM) concert hall. Joined by only three others in the audience, he listened as teenagers from the conservatory’s middle school performed both Chinese flute and erhu, a traditional two-stringed instrument, alongside violins and cellos. “In technical terms, the students playing the Western European instruments were very, very good,” Yekovich said. “But the virtuosity of the students who performed on traditional Chinese instruments was stunning. The musicality and musical understanding among them all was profound.” While it may be a bit before Yekovich decides to implement an erhu program at the Shepherd School, his visit to China was not without results. He accompanied Kathleen Winkler, a violin professor at the Shepherd School, to meet Beijing Conservatory professors Tong Weidong, who runs the string department at BCCM, and Xing Weikai, who works in the middle school. The two Chinese professors recently visited Rice to observe both teaching and performance at the Shepherd School. In a sign of reciprocity and a desire to cultivate the relationship, Yekovich decided to spend a week with them at their school. There, Yekovich had the chance to listen to multiple concerts and observe a number of master’s-level classes. In addition, at the

middle school, Yekovich led a composition class among the students. Despite the language barriers — Yekovich does not speak Chinese, and only one of the Chinese students spoke English — the students quickly took to Yekovich’s teaching.

been focused on working with the Chinese students, who range in age from 12 to 18, and furthering their skills and helping them progress in their education. “Each trip is different because I interact with different students every time,” she said. “One of the most enjoyable things is learning about the students, their commitment to music and their seriousness of purpose.” While the next steps in building the relationship are pending, Yekovich mentioned that Weikai and Weidong may return to the Shepherd School in the near future and that

“Each trip is different because I interact with different students every time. One of the most enjoyable things is learning about the students, their commitment to music and their seriousness of purpose.” —Kathleen Winkler

“That day, I was essentially the guest clinician,” he said. “The class went very well, and I could tell they comprehended and fully digested everything I was saying.” Yekovich was aided by Winkler, whose work helped ignite the budding relationship between the Shepherd School and the BCCM. Since attending the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy five years ago, Winkler has taken a handful of trips to China each year. Not only did she continue the relationship with the conservatory, but Winkler occasionally took Shepherd School students along to both study and perform. However, the majority of her trips have

additional Shepherd School faculty may soon travel to China on similar educational excursions. A few hurdles — financial- and language-based — remain before an exchange of students occurs. But even if the students don’t travel overseas, their professors will be bringing back all that they can from their journeys. “Making inroads in China is not easy, but the middle school has really embraced us, and we’re deeply appreciative of that,” Winkler said. “We have a wonderful rapport, and we’re very anxious to build on that.” —Casey Michel

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Exercise and Memory Having trouble remembering to get out and exercise? Maybe you’re putting the cart before the horse. A new study conducted by researchers at Rice University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Illinois and Ohio State University shows that one year of moderate physical exercise can lead to an improvement in spatial memory. The study is considered the first of its kind to focus on older adults who are already experiencing atrophy of the hippocampus, the brain structure involved in all forms of memory formation. The researchers recruited more than 120 sedentary older people without dementia and randomly placed them in one of two groups — those who began an

exercise regimen of walking around a track for 40 minutes a day, three days a week, and those limited to stretching and toning exercises. Magnetic resonance images were collected before the intervention, after six months and at the end of the one-year study. The aerobic exercise group demonstrated an increase in volume of the left and

right hippocampus of 2.12 percent and 1.97 percent, respectively. The same regions of the brain in those who did stretching exercises decreased in volume by 1.40 and 1.43 percent, respectively. Spatial memory tests were conducted for all participants at the three intervals. Those in the aerobic exercise group showed improved memory function when measured against their performance at the start of the study. This improvement was associated with the increased size of the hippocampus. The authors also examined several biomarkers associated with brain health, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a small molecule that is involved in learning and memory. They found that the increases in hippocampal size were associated with increased amounts of BDNF. “A moderate exercise regimen may not only improve physical health in the elderly by reducing the risk of diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol,” said Chandramallika Basak, assistant professor of psychology at Rice and co-author of the study. “It also can improve cognitive abilities, such as memory.” The study was funded through the National Institute on Aging and was published in the Jan. 31 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. —Sharon Blake

Read the paper: ›››

Defensive Military Alliances: Precursors to Peace? Having supportive friends is as important for countries as it is for individuals. That’s the message from a new study, “Defense Pacts: A Prescription for Peace?,” co-authored by Rice University Associate Professor of Political Science Brett Ashley Leeds and Jesse Johnson ’09, a former Rice graduate student in political science. Leeds and Johnson exhaustively analyzed defense agreements around the world from 1816 to 2001. “We were interested in analyzing policy prescriptions that leaders of countries can adopt that might make war — and also militarized conflicts short of war — less likely,” Leeds said. “War is costly, most importantly in terms of lives lost, but also in terms of financial resources, destruction of productive capacity and infrastructure, and disruption of trade. As a result, research aimed at discovering policies that can prevent war is valuable.” The researchers found that countries that enter into defense pacts with other nations are less likely to be attacked, and what’s more, those countries are not more likely to attack others.


Leeds believes that this research has current policy relevance for the United States and other countries. “A current policy debate, for instance, is whether Georgia should be accepted as a new member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),” Leeds said. “If Georgia joins NATO, the U.S. and other NATO countries will be committing to assist Georgia if Georgia is attacked by another state — Russia, for instance. While some analysts believe that having a commitment of assistance from the U.S. could encourage Georgia to behave aggressively toward Russia, making war more likely, the study suggests that this is not the most common general pattern. In fact, a defensive commitment to Georgia should, according to the study, make war between Russia and Georgia less likely.” The study was published in the journal Foreign Policy Analysis, and the National Science Foundation and Rice University funded the research. —David Ruth

Read the study: ›››



CAREER Achievements National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards support the research and educational development of young scholars expected to become leaders in their fields. With only about 400 per year given out across all disciplines, the grants are among the most competitive NSF awards, and so far this year, four are from Rice.

Intracellular Communications

Healing Little Hearts

Observant Servants

Building Bridges

Inside a living cell, thousands of proteins mingle and exchange signals that ultimately result in key activities like inflammation, cell growth or cell death. But important signals that lead to key downstream activities are sometimes passed in fleeting whispers that are easy to miss. Some of these brief and fleeting signals play key roles in human disease, and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Zachary Ball is attempting to create new tools that will enable researchers to see and understand the fleeting interactions. He and Brian Popp, the J. Evans Attwell Welch Postdoctoral Research Associate, have shown that they could evoke similar reactions with certain synthetic enzymes, and their technique also works for a naturally occurring protein that receives signals, regulates cell growth and death and is implicated in cancer progression.

Discovering the causes of congenital heart disease and heart defects and developing tissueengineering therapies using stem cells derived from human amniotic fluid is the goal of Jeffrey Jacot, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University, an adjunct professor at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and director of the Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering Laboratory at the Congenital Heart Surgery Service at Texas Children’s Hospital. Jacot studies the interplay of cardiac muscle by examining its cellular components, their microenvironment and how they function collectively to contract and propel blood. He hopes to establish a therapeutically feasible stem cell source and understand how to control the growth of new cardiac tissue. “Because the stem cells from amniotic fluid are genetically matched to an infant,” he said, “that gets around a huge number of issues and makes the technique extremely promising.”

“Our smart phones are not serving us very well,” said Lin Zhong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of computer science. “Most of the time, they wait for us to wake them and punch some keys. They should be awake all the time, follow our moves, know what kind of mood we’re in and be ready to help even before we ask.” Smart phones could do this if they stay in touch with their senses: cameras, microphones, accelerometers, touch screens and GPS, but these tasks currently access a powerful central processor, which can quickly drain batteries. Enter the multicore microprocessor. “We envision chips with high-power central processor cores alongside ultralow-power cores that could be used for simple things like sensor-data processing,” Zhong said. “That way, a phone could sense the physical world all the time and only wake the central processor when something interesting happens.”

Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers reported that as many as one in four of the nation’s bridges is structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, requiring repairs or replacement. That’s where Rice’s Jamie Padgett comes in. The assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering believes that a new approach is required to enhance bridge safety. “The infrastructure problem isn’t easily solved,” Padgett said. “Most of the bridges are more than 40 years old and are exposed to a number of threats ranging from natural hazards to increased traffic loads. Our approach involves risk assessment and life-cycle modeling that takes into account such factors as energy usage, life-cycle costs and potential downtime of structures. The method will provide a new approach for decision-makers to use in selecting upgrades for deficient bridges so that safety and sustainability are improved.” —Jade Boyd and Shawn Hutchins

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S U R V E Y R E S U LT S Age Group • 65-plus: 44% • 50–64: 29% • 35–49: 17% • 19–34: 10% Gender • Male: 65% • Female: 35% Affiliation • Rice alumni: 83% • Rice faculty/staff: 5% • Parent(s) of a Rice student: 6% • Donor/friend of Rice: 6%

What You Told Us We want to thank everyone who participated in the Rice Magazine survey that was included in last winter’s issue. The magazine exists to serve the Rice community, and there’s no better way for us to know how well we’re doing than by getting feedback from you, our readers. Happily, Rice Magazine seems to be hitting its mark more than missing it, but your responses will help us improve our aim.

Financial Contribution • Contribution to Rice in the last five years: 76% Publication Frequency • About right: 94% • Too often: 3% • Not often enough: 3% How thoroughly do you read Rice Magazine? • Most of the magazine: 51% • Skim entire magazine: 39% • One or two sections only: 8% • Cover only/don’t read it: 2% Why do you read Rice Magazine? • To keep current: 42% • Curiosity: 30% • Pleasure: 20% • Research: 6% • Business: 2%

Most Interesting Sections • Features: 21% • Research: 19% • Students: 14% • Through the Sallyport: 13% • Book Reviews and Arts: 9% • President’s Column and Sports: 8% Length of Articles • About right for features: 94% • About right for department articles: 90% Addressing Your Interests • Very good: 35% • Good: 41% • Average: 20% • Poor: 4% Usefulness of Sources of Information About Rice • Rice-produced publications: 71% • Email: 20% • Rice website: 21% • Word of mouth: 10% • News media: 9% Rice Magazine Online • Never visited online version: 72% • Prefer print form: 90% Miscellaneous Ratings • Journalistic quality: 97% “excellent” or “good” • Design: 97% “excellent” or “good” • Photography: 97% “excellent” or “good” • Coverage of campus/events: 83% “excellent” or “good” • Coverage of research: 92% “excellent” or “good” • Coverage of faculty: 83% “excellent” or “good” • Coverage of students: 84% “excellent” or “good” • Coverage of alumni: 57% “excellent” or “good”


The complaint lodged most often concerned the magazine’s lack of coverage of alumni. Some respondents suggested an alumni Q&A with President Leebron or current Rice faculty. Older respondents often complained about the font size. Many respondents said they’d like to see articles about the history of Rice, current courses being offered, changes on campus, events on campus and


student life. Few respondents were satisfied with the magazine’s sports coverage, but they differed on why: Some wanted more coverage, while others wanted to eliminate coverage altogether. There was an even split between those who wanted more science/ engineering coverage and those who wanted more liberal arts/humanities coverage. A few respondents mentioned they’d like to

see articles on religion and faith and on continuing education at Rice, and a few also voiced concerns about the magazine’s environmental impact, suggesting it either be produced electronically or printed on recycled paper. (Note: The papers we use for the cover and for the pages are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and contain 10 percent recycled content.)



Six Trustees Elected to the Rice Board Six prominent leaders in the business world have been

elected to the Rice University Board of Trustees.

T. Jay Collins ’68 is serving his first term on the board. Collins was, until this past spring, president and CEO of Oceaneering International Inc., which serves the offshore oil and gas and defense and aerospace industries. He joined Oceaneering in 1993 as senior vice president, was named president and chief operating officer in 1998 and was appointed CEO of the company in 2006. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from Rice and an MBA from Harvard Business School (1972). He is chairman of the Council of Overseers of Rice’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, former president of the Jones Partners and serves on the boards of several companies and associations. Lynn Laverty Elsenhans ’78, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Sunoco, has served two previous terms on the board and, after taking a year off as required by the board’s bylaws, was re-elected to a third term. Elsenhans joined Sunoco as its CEO and president in 2008 and was named chairman of the board in 2009. In addition to overseeing one of the largest independent oil refiners in the U.S., she also serves as chairman of Sunoco Partners LLC. Elsenhans was previously executive vice president of global manufacturing at Shell Oil Co. In 2009, she was No. 10 on Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful women. She previously served on the Rice board from 2002 to 2010. She has a B.A. in mathematical sciences from Rice and an MBA from Harvard.

Lawrence Guffey ’90, a senior managing director in the Private Equity group at the Blackstone Group, is serving his first term on the board. Guffey joined the Blackstone Group in 1991. Based in London, he leads all media- and communications-related investments for one of the world’s top investment and advisory firms and manages Blackstone Communications Advisors. Prior to Blackstone, Guffey worked in the Acquisitions Group at Trammell Crow Ventures, the principal investment arm of Trammell Crow Co. He has a B.A. in managerial studies and English from Rice. John Jaggers ’73, a general partner at the Dallas headquarters of Sevin Rosen Funds, is serving his first term on the board. Jaggers has financial, legal and administrative responsibilities at Sevin Rosen. This top-tier venture capital firm helps build businesses that transform high-technology markets, produce exceptionally high returns and continue to prosper long after the startup phase. Jaggers joined the firm in 1988 and was originally focused on software and information technology companies. Prior to Sevin Rosen, Jaggers was a venture capitalist at Rotan Mosle Inc. He has a B.A. and an M.E.E. in electrical engineering from Rice and an MBA from Harvard.

Ralph Parks ’66, chairman of the Hong Kong office and senior adviser at Oaktree Capital Management L.P., is serving his first term on the board. Parks joined Oaktree Capital Management in 2007 and has been responsible for developing investment opportunities and building closer relationships with governments, regulators and companies across the Asia Pacific region. He has held senior management positions in the Asia Pacific region, Europe and the United States and was chairman and CEO at J.P. Morgan Asia Pacific before working at Oaktree. Parks has a B.A. in history from Rice and an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. James Turley ’77, global chairman and chief executive officer of Ernst & Young, has been re-elected for his second term on the board. Turley leads one of the world’s largest professional services organizations that provides assurance, tax, transaction and advisory expertise. His career with Ernst & Young began in 1977 as an auditor in the firm’s Houston office. He became chairman and CEO in 2001. Now based in New York and London, Turley serves as senior advisory partner for many of the firm’s largest global clients. He served his first term on Rice’s board from 2007 to 2011. He has a B.A. in economics and a master’s in accounting from Rice.

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A V2C Progress Report

Part 3

As we continue our series highlighting achievements that have occurred at Rice under President David Leebron’s Vision for the Second Century (V2C), we look at the increase in the student population, some of the facilities and services that create dynamism and vibrancy on campus, and ways in which the university is growing in scope and engagement with the world.


Goal 7: We must increase the size of the university to attract the very best students and researchers from around the globe.

The 2010 edition of the Princeton Review’s “The Best 371 Colleges” ranked Rice No. 1 for best quality of life and No. 8 for happiest students.

Rice has made its renowned undergraduate education available to 30 percent more students over the past four years and, in a couple more, will have 3,800 students enrolled. The graduate student body now totals 2,275. And as enrollment grows, so do the diversity and talent of the Rice student body. Both add to the educational experience and prepare our students for the diverse, globalized world they will encounter in their professional lives. Efforts to increase enrollment have met with enthusiasm among prospective students from the United States and around the world, and this past year saw record numbers of applicants: more than 13,800 for admission to the Class of 2015. That includes impressive increases in applications from foreign nationals, African-Americans and non-Texans, even as the number of Texans has grown. Rice students now hail from all 50 states and more than 85 countries — 17 percent are from outside the U.S — making this the most culturally and ethnically diverse student body in Rice history. These expansions have caused a few growing pains, not the least of which are the need for additional facilities to house and educate our students. To help accommodate the growth in the undergraduate student body, two new colleges — Duncan College and McMurtry College — have been built, and new wings have been added to Baker College and Will Rice College. In addition, the new 137-unit Rice Village Apartments, located just a couple of blocks from campus, provide modern housing for graduate students. New faculty also are being hired in targeted areas, including new fields of study such as Latin America, to help maintain Rice’s extraordinary student–faculty ratio of less than 6:1 and median class size of 15. Additions of research faculty and facilities also have increased the opportunities for undergraduates to participate in real-world research. The addition of classroom and research facilities like the BioScience Research Collaborative and the Brockman Hall for Physics have added state-of-the-art learning spaces, while the Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion and the Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center have added new spaces for social and athletic activities. The growth appears to be sitting well with students. A ranking based on information gathered on College Prowler, an online college guide created by students, and U.S. News & World Report, named Rice No. 4 on its 2010 list of America’s 100 happiest colleges. Rice’s sunny student disposition caught the attention of others, too.

Goal 8: We must become an international university with a significant orientation toward Asia and Latin America.

Rice programs developed under the V2C engage researchers in a large number of initiatives worldwide, particularly in Asia and Latin America. On the Latin American front, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy’s Latin American Initiative fosters a better understanding of the cultures, economies, histories and contemporary affairs of past and present Latin America. The initiative’s two main programs — the Americas Project and the U.S.–Mexico Border Program — bring together leaders from government, the private sector, academia and civil society to exchange views on pressing issues confronting the region. Also significant is the Baker Institute’s initiative to improve Brazil’s petroleum production infrastructure. Another important development is the establishment of the Chao Center for Asian Studies, which offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to study Asia from a variety of interrelated perspectives: local, regional, national, transnational and global. The center coordinates Rice’s Asian Studies major and connects students with study abroad opportunities. Undergraduates also get a taste of the world through international study opportunities — and a head start in their careers thanks to their global experiences and perspective. Rice now offers more than 500 international study opportunities in 74 countries, many of those in Asia and Latin America, and the Leadership Rice Summer Mentorship Experience offers student internships in a variety of locales. In fact, several of Rice’s high-profile programs regularly send students to Latin American and Asian countries. This last spring, groups of architecture undergraduates and graduate students visited Mexico City, and another group of graduate students went to China. Shepherd School of Music students and faculty also are on the go in Latin America and China, some touring the Caribbean and others creating a cooperative program with the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music. Rice student impact on the global scene has not gone unnoticed. Last year, the Clinton Global Initiative recognized four students


for developing a microfinance project that fights poverty in areas such as China, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The project aims to help the poor help themselves by starting businesses. And this year, four more students were honored for student-designed technologies emerging from Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies. Rice students also can have an international experience right on campus and in Houston, one of the world’s international gateways. One-fifth of the Rice student body and an estimated 600 scholars and researchers are from other countries. They bring their cultures and customs into the day-to-day academic and social life of the university for a truly global experience. Goal 9: We must provide the spaces and facilities that will cultivate greater dynamism and vibrancy on the campus. It’s no secret that the technologies of research, teaching and learning have experienced a manifold transformation during recent decades. The chalkboard, while still in use, is supplemented by students connected virtually to multiple sources of information via their smartphones even as their professors lecture. The classroom, still a fixture, shares students with experiential learning opportunities in the community or other countries. The beakers and Bunsen burners of the lab have given way to sophisticated equipment and compounds that, not too long ago, were the stuff of science fiction. Under the V2C, Rice’s infrastructure has moved into the vanguard of educational and research facilities. If you looked no further, the BioScience Research Collaborative would be sufficient evidence. Recently named the best higher education or research building completed in the past year in Texas or Oklahoma by Texas Construction magazine, this remarkable new facility both provides researchers with cutting-edge labs and technology and increases Rice’s ability to partner with researchers at other Texas Medical Center institutions to further advance our knowledge of the biomedical sciences in ways that will translate into improved medical care and health. In addition to Brockman Hall, the Gibbs Recreation Center and Brochstein Pavilion, other new additions and significant renovations to Rice’s academic and support buildings include the Rice Children’s Campus, Tudor Fieldhouse and Youngkin Center, Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen and the South Plant. All new Rice campus building projects and renovations are being constructed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Two buildings have been awarded LEED Silver and two LEED Gold, one of which, Duncan College, is one of the most environmentally friendly buildings ever built in Houston. Goal 10: We must fully engage with the city of Houston — learning from it and contributing to it. As Houston’s oldest and most distinguished university, Rice matters to its city and, under the V2C, has done more than ever to make the Rice campus an intellectual and cultural destination. On the academic front, the Chao Center recently created Houston’s first Asian-American archive to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of Houston’s immigrant history by researching, preserving and sharing the rich cultural legacy and continuing contributions of Asian-Americans to the city. The Baker Institute, one of the leading nonpartisan public policy think tanks in the country, has hosted speakers such as Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright and several current and former presidents from around the world. In May 2008, the


institute welcomed former President Jimmy Carter and namesake James A. Baker III for the debut of the HBO movie “Recount.” The two statesmen participated in a discussion about the U.S. federal election system, and “Recount” stars Kevin Spacey and Laura Dern added to the flair of the red-carpet affair. For the last six years, the School of Architecture’s Rice Building Workshop has been helping revitalize Houston’s poorer urban areas by designing and building low-cost, energy-efficient housing. The school also has engaged with the city through the Rice Design Alliance, which has been instrumental in holding design competitions that resulted in the plan for downtown’s Sesquicentennial Park and brought significant improvements to Hermann Park and Memorial Park. On a cultural level, the Shepherd School of Music draws more than 75,000 visitors each year to its concerts, and public lectures across the spectrum of disciplines bring in many more. Art exhibitions and installations at Rice also are an attraction, and Rice’s new Public Arts Program and its showpiece, the Suzanne Deal Booth pavilion and Turrell Skyspace, currently under construction, is sure to make the Rice campus a mecca for art lovers.

Rice now offers more than 500 international study opportunities in 74 countries, many of those in Asia and Latin America, and the Leadership Rice Summer Mentorship Experience offers student internships in a variety of locales. Rice students also enjoy Rice’s Passport to Houston, established in 2005, which allows them to easily experience all the city has to offer. The program provides a METRO card for unlimited access to MetroRail and buses, plus free or discounted admission to cultural venues such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the zoo and Houston’s big four: theater, symphony, ballet and opera. Conclusion As Rice prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2012, it continues to grow in size, reach and impact. Since welcoming its first students, Rice has been guided by Edgar Odell Lovett’s vision for Rice as an international university of the highest standards, and the Rice Board of Trustees and President David Leebron set those standards even higher when they adopted the Vision for the Second Century. With the V2C well into its implementation, Rice leaders and faculty members are now exploring the possibilities presented by three significant academic initiatives identified during an extensive consultation by Provost George McLendon: biosciences and human health, energy and the environment, and international strategies. Task forces are now at work under McLendon’s direction to determine how Rice can best emerge as a distinctive leader in these areas. Each will require a high degree of interdisciplinary collaboration across the university, and between academic and administrative leadership, as Rice continues to move into its second century of high aspirations and achievement. Learn more about the Vision for the Second Century: ›››

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Finding the Right Match When summer approaches, students turn their attention to new opportunities. Some travel, some find summer employment and some seek internships to gain real-world experience in their chosen professions. Rice programs often provide opportunities for student internships, and a few even require them — the School of Architecture, for example, sends fifth-year students on a nine-month preceptorship with one of a number of high-profile architecture firms as a key part of their education. But students in many programs who seek internships have been left to their own devices in finding and obtaining internships, and the task can be daunting. No longer, thanks to a group of enterprising Rice students who have created a website that not only lists internship opportunities, but also reviews them from a student perspective to help students find a good match for their skills and goals. The idea for the website — — started during a car trip with a roommate, said junior Eric Li. It was August 2010, and Li, an economics major, had just completed an internship with EasyBib in New York City. “I realized that one of the most helpful parts of applying for the internship was that I was able to connect with someone who had the position previously,” Li said. “They were able to provide personal and helpful information. I saw that I was fortunate to have this connection, but there was no real way for other people to find experienced alumni who have experience with particular internships.” “We were frustrated with searching for our own internships,” said junior and Wisga partner Aniruddha Sen.

Thus, Wisga was born. The website, which goes live in September, will be integrated with Facebook and will feature reviews from Rice students on internships, fellowships and research opportunities as well as give information and advice on how to apply to particular internships. The operation has been completely self-financed, with Li contributing several thousand dollars for Web development. Li held a focus group in November to seek interest and information from fellow students regarding their needs for this kind of website. He brought in Sen and junior Akash Morrison, and they sent a survey to the Rice community in late 2010, just before winter break. The survey had 350 responses, with 70 percent of the respondents answering that they would use a free service such as this. Working around a pingpong table at Li’s home in Katy over the winter break, the three students created a business plan, performed business analysis and designed the website’s look. The site will contain only a few subscription-based features, but the main features, such as searching profiles, will be free and will serve only those students and alumni with a Rice email account. Wisga will allow students to access more information than they would by relying only on Rice’s Center for Career Development or by viewing a company’s website, such as whether the position will be a good fit and benefit the student and whether the position offers opportunities to be published. “We really focus on the most relevant and feasible experiences,” Li said, “as opposed to larger job boards like Monster, where there is not as much tailored information. Wisga’s main purpose is to help other students discover and secure the experiences that are the best for them. It’s a more socially driven way of finding that great summer opportunity.” Recently, the Wisga team placed 12 out of 50 companies in an elevator pitch contest during the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship’s Information Technology and Web 2.0 Venture Forum. The forum, which invited venture capitalists and other entrepreneurs to the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, allowed companies to make 90-second pitches for the competition. “We think this is going to be nationally viral,” said junior Scott Norgaard, the company’s public relations representative. “This is a product for students, by students.” —Leslie Contreras Schwartz

(L-R): Aniruddha Sen, Scott Norgaard, Eric Li, and Ian Akash Morrison


Musicians of the Caribbean Despite this winter’s unusually cold weather, tropical memories continue to warm the faculty and students at the Shepherd School of Music who took their talents to audiences throughout the Caribbean. The musicians were invited aboard the January debut sail of Symphonic Voyages, a full-immersion, classical-music-themed cruise. Billed as a “full-fledged onboard classical music festival, featuring a roster of internationally renowned guest artists,” Symphonic Voyages rounded out its 50-member symphony orchestra with conductor Larry Rachleff, Rice’s Walter Kris Hubert Professor of Orchestral Conducting, and featured performances by Cho-Liang Lin, professor of violin; Susan Dunn, lecturer in voice; and Jeewon Lee, doctoral student in piano. “It was incredible,” Rachleff said. “Everyone just clicked. There was a sense of togetherness formed through the love of music and a spirit of adventure in trying something new. It was a great environment.” There were challenges, though. The theater where the musicians played was in the forward of the ship, where passengers — and performers — are more apt to feel the waves and movement of the ocean. “There were a few times where I had to hold onto the bolted-down piano to keep myself upright,” Dunn said. “But as a singer, you move around a lot anyway as you perform, so you quickly learn to just go with it.” Preconcert lectures also gave the audience a chance to learn more about the music, musicians and Rice University. “The Shepherd School was talked about a lot aboard the cruise,” Dunn said. “Rice and the Shepherd School were probably mentioned a hundred times in the preconcert talks alone.” One of her favorite aspects of the trip was the chance she and her family had to connect with the other families of Shepherd School musicians aboard. They dined together most nights, and found the

Under the direction of Marie Speziale (third from left), a quintet featuring Rice alumni and graduate students made its way to the U.S. Virgin Islands to perform during the 350th anniversary of the St. Thomas Reformed Church.

this special celebration, they reached out to me to arrange for one of our groups to perform.” WindSync, the chosen quintet, performed the anniversary celebration’s finale concert: an arrangement of “West Side Story.” Known for combining old and new works, WindSync performed in an interactive fashion that aimed to expand the woodwind quintet repertoire and unveil a musical art form to stimulate public engagement.

“It was incredible. Everyone just clicked. There was a sense of togetherness formed through the love of music and a spirit of adventure in trying something new. It was a great environment.” — Larry Rachleff

Rice table to be among the most international, with Dunn and her mother from Australia, Lin and his mother from Taiwan, Lee and her mother from Korea and Rachleff from the U.S. Musical Outreach Another group of Shepherd School musicians also took to the tropics last winter to provide a unique brand of outreach. Under the direction of Marie Speziale, professor of trumpet and chair of brass, a quintet featuring Rice alumni and graduate students made its way to the U.S. Virgin Islands to perform during the 350th anniversary of the St. Thomas Reformed Church and work with local children. It was an honor bestowed upon the musicians because of the stellar reputation of the Shepherd School. “The organist/choirmaster had heard of our successful brass and wind chamber music program at the Shepherd School from industry professionals,” Speziale said. “So as the committee planned

“WindSync always tries to channel new levels of artistic output and innovative presentation when putting on a concert production, but they outdid themselves with this performance, acting, dancing and singing so enthusiastically,” Speziale said. “Even though I’ve had opportunities to perform all over the world, this experience will stand as one of the most remarkable for me.” The ensemble features Shepherd School graduate students Garrett Hudson on flute and Kevin Pearl on oboe, alumni James Johnson ’09 on clarinet and Tracy Jacobson ’10 on bassoon, and Anni Hochhalter on French horn. “Rice is such a powerful launching tool for its students,” Speziale said. “WindSync members are full-time musicians throughout the city of Houston, maintaining teaching studios and performing professionally in the area, particularly at our weekly outreach seminars in Houston public schools through the Young Audiences of Houston program.” —Jessica Stark

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Connections B Y



Music is an odd thing. Like a smell, it can transport us instantly across decades to a time in our youth we remember fondly — or sometimes not. For me, that might be Cat Stevens, the then-too-​ often-true “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan, or even less pleasantly, my sister endlessly playing Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow.” Or it can connect in some way to past centuries and convey a bit of the spirit and sensibilities of a time long ago and draw a connection between classical composers and contemporary audiences. It can become a uniter of — or a divider between — generations. I, for example, was thrilled when my children developed what turned out to be a somewhat temporary liking for Nena, the German pop-rock band that performed “99 Red Balloons.”


uch of this is true of art generally; however, unlike the creating of a painting, each time music is played it is in some sense created anew, and each connection between performer and audience is a new experience. As Joni Mitchell once quipped, “Nobody ever said to Van Gogh, ‘Paint “Starry Night” again, man!’” Recognizing, of course, that each contemplation of visual art may inspire a different reaction, and that some pieces of art, like the Turrell now being constructed at Rice, may change dramatically as the environment changes. Music is something in which every segment of our society, from the wealthiest to the poorest, partakes. Music has meaning to each of us individually, even if we are embarrassed to sing outside the shower. And while a timeless piece like Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony requires an extraordinary orchestra and chorus — as in last year’s Shepherd School performance — to fully realize its power and beauty, even my son’s first playing of the simple melody from “Ode to Joy” on the piano was a thrilling experience. And although the most


sophisticated pieces are typically lengthy, the uniqueness of a piece of music is often established in just a few bars. This is reflected sometimes in contests to identify a musical piece after little more than a handful of notes or in the modern technology of applications like Shazam or SoundHound that “listen” to a snippet of music and tell us its definitive source. Music has a mathematical quality and deep structure, and yet it is able to provoke emotion at an extraordinary level. Performers can be technically brilliant but, like artists in any field of art, sometimes fail to embody emotion and artistry in their playing. Although we relish hearing music played on original instruments, such as a harpsichord, music frequently has shown itself adaptable to changes in technology, such as versions of Beethoven’s work played on a synthesizer for the movie “A Clockwork Orange.” Music often is regarded as a universal language, extending potentially beyond the earth, as famously represented in a memorable scene in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” And yet, few things can represent a culture as distinctively as its music. Whenever I hear the

sounds of gamelan, I am instantly transported back to Indonesia. Music is intensely cerebral, but in some aspects, it shares more characteristics with athletics than perhaps any other endeavor at the university. The music school is the only other part of the university to methodically identify the individual students it wants or needs and then recruit them. Like athletes, music students often are selected for specific positions or skills. Also as with athletes, musicians must stay in practice, or they likely will not be in shape to perform. I can testify to this from my own personal experience. I played pretty good trumpet when I was younger, but after a couple of decades of not playing, music is not what emerges when I blow on a horn. Musicians are, as pianist Leon Fleisher said, “small muscle athletes.” Like athletics, musical performance efforts range from the individual virtuoso performance — think about our pole vaulters — to team efforts in which the individual seeks only to contribute to the collective success. And although music is not usually performed as a competitive exercise, it is judged by the most demanding of standards.


In sum, music is as essential a part of human culture and experience as any other form of expression. But that doesn’t mean that every university ought to have a school of music. Indeed, when the Shepherd School of Music was created at Rice 37 years ago from a fund established earlier by Sallie Shepherd Perkins, there was considerable skepticism and some outright opposition from the faculty. In many ways, they were right. There already were a number of great music schools: Juilliard, Curtis, the New England Conservatory. It certainly didn’t make sense for one of the U.S.’s best liberal arts colleges and emerging research universities to have a second-rate school of music. And on what basis could more be expected? Perhaps no one anticipated the extraordinary Michael Hammond, or what a university truly dedicated to excellence, even in a field already teeming with excellent endeavors, might achieve. Maybe no one thought we could recruit people like Larry Rachleff to inspire a student orchestra, Richard Bado to build an extraordinary opera program and literally the best musician/teachers anywhere, all with an

“The music school is the only other part of the university to methodically identify the individual students it wants or needs and then recruit them. Like athletes, music students often are selected for specific positions or skills.”


unrivaled commitment to the success of their students. Today, the Shepherd School of Music is one of the ways in which Rice most fully and effectively connects to the city of Houston, while at the same time building on an international reputation that draws students and faculty from around the world. The school remains one of the most important artistic anchors of Rice and represents perhaps the most successful element of our growing commitment to the arts. It is fair to say that Rice, without the Shepherd School, would be a different and less balanced institution, diminished both in the breadth of its endeavors and the commitments of its student body. Our music school brings together analysis, history, expression, performance, culture and creativity in ways that are truly the essence of a university. I agree with those who thought more than 30 years ago that it would make no sense for Rice to have a second-class music school. But the Shepherd School? That’s an entirely different story. If you want to hear what “no upper limit” sounds like, just come to the next concert.

—David Leebron

Rice Magazine

No. 10



r F eedom Fire and

By Christopher Dow



nside Stude Concert Hall in Alice Pratt Brown Hall, flutes and piccolos soar, racing up and down scales. Violins and cellos resonate. A lone bassist rehearses his part. Beautiful cacophony. Some of the orchestra members are deep in thought, others engrossed in conversation. Enter Larry Rachleff, the Walter Kris Hubert Professor of Orchestra Conducting. He pats a practicing cellist on the shoulder and passes with a smile. He greets the pianist and waves his arms, indicating the tempo he wants for the piece about to be played. More welcoming shoulder pats, then Rachleff steps up to the podium. The pianist hits a note, and a solo oboe plays, tuning the orchestra. All goes suddenly quiet. “Good afternoon, everyone,” Rachleff says. “Brahms.”

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No. 10



As the orchestra rehearses its all-Brahms program, Rachleff appears to levitate, lifting off his feet. His entire body conducts, and his every movement reveals the emotion he wants the instruments to convey. More than an hour later, the first run-through is complete. “Really good, everybody,” Rachleff says. “This is just excellent, excellent work — no small feat for just the third rehearsal.” From its inception, the Shepherd School of Music has emphasized orchestral training as a central element of its performing curriculum, and as the school has grown and matured, so has the program. Originally a small chamber orchestra called the Shepherd Sinfonia, the group grew to a full-sized orchestra and, in 1984, changed its name to the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra. Rachleff has directed the orchestra since 1991, and in 1993, he created a chamber orchestra to complement the symphony orchestra. Under his leadership, the program has risen to new artistic heights, and today, the Shepherd School Symphony is widely recognized as one of the finest university orchestras in the world. The group plays major pieces from a standard orchestral repertoire, premieres important new works and performs

“There is no nationally recognized poll or metric to measure how good music programs are. However, among people at other top music schools, there is somewhat of a consensus that the orchestra program here is, if not the best, then one of them.” —Robert Yekovich


with the Shepherd School Opera. “There is no nationally recognized poll or metric to measure how good music programs are,” said Shepherd School Dean Robert Yekovich. “However, among people at other top music schools, there is somewhat of a consensus that the orchestra program here is, if not the best, then one of them.” Yekovich first heard the orchestra on CD when he was being recruited to head the school. “I was amazed,” he said. “The first selection was Strauss’ “Don Juan,” which is a true virtuosity piece for an orchestra, and they sounded as good as most top-level professional orchestras. When I heard them perform live during my first year as dean, they sounded every bit as good as the recording.” Critics praise Rachleff’s keen musical instincts, excellent leadership and consistently polished performances molded with beauty and insight. These are difficult results to achieve, considering that, at the start of every season, university orchestras have to contend with different personalities and musical strengths as students graduate and new ones arrive. In addition to producing electrifying concerts at an astoundingly high technical level, Rachleff also is expert at teaching orchestral techniques, which prepares graduating students to go out and get good jobs in major orchestras. Cristian Macelaru ’06, who studied conducting under Rachleff and now serves as guest conductor for the Shepherd School Symphony and several other orchestras, said that the Shepherd School Orchestra is on the same tier with many major professional orchestras in the world. “The effort that everyone dedicates to this program, coupled with the musicians’ personal talents and achievements,” he said, “truly makes this an internationally recognized ensemble comparable with any professional orchestra out there.” The credit, he believes, goes to Rachleff. “When I was a violin student in 1997 at Interlochen Center for the Arts, I had the chance to play under Larry,” Macelaru said. “At the time, I realized two things: I was going to be a conductor, and Larry was going to teach me how to do it. Not only is his knowledge of music vast, but his passion for teaching is unparalleled. This combination makes for a very dedicated mentor, and he has been nothing short of extraordinary.” Rachleff achieves his extraordinary results by making sure that everyone in the orchestra gets 100 percent of his attention and that they thrive artistically. “As a former member of the violin section,” Macelaru said, “I can say that Larry always made me feel appreciated and, at the same time, encouraged me to achieve greater things. Students in the orchestra respect him not because of his position, but rather for his unique, intoxicating love of music.” It’s a love that Rachleff shares unstintingly with his students. “In the upper-level world of schools of music and conservatories, Larry is regarded as being one of, if not the top educating conductor,” Yekovich said. “He’s extremely dedicated, and his standards are as high as they can possibly be. Every detail is tended to with great care, and he’s an artist, so there’s a strong understanding of the musical gesture. He also has a real gift for getting the musicians to recognize that shape in the music.” Rachleff’s perseverance, determination and insistence on excellence are balanced by the nurturing way he goes about teaching. “I want the Shepherd School to continue to attract the very best young talent that is out there,” he said. “I also want to bring to those who come experiences that will serve them well after they’ve left,

not only in their professional development, but also in their quests to fulfill their dreams.” Each of the two orchestras performs three or more concerts a semester. While Rachleff decides most of the programming, he does seek input from the performance faculty at the school, who regularly drop by orchestra rehearsals to listen and offer suggestions. He tries to balance old and new works, challenging students to study all types of music. Playing in an orchestra is definitely a team effort and one that requires many small elements to fit together to produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. To give students a well-rounded musical education, Rachleff structures the orchestras in a way that maximizes students’ experiences. Typically, orchestras have a hierarchy in which particular musicians permanently reside as principal violin, principal cello and so forth. The Rachleff-led orchestras, however, are more egalitarian, with members in constant rotation. Students prefer Rachleff’s rotating system because it keeps the orchestra alive and different and keeps jealousies to a minimum. The benefits are obvious for a program that is so rigorous. In addition to shouldering a regular course load, orchestra members rehearse five to seven hours a week and take repertoire classes for brass, percussion, woodwind and string instruments. Students audition for concertmaster positions — coveted spots — and rotate on a regular basis so each player must learn multiple roles. The students relish the experience. Macelaru sees two primary advantages. One is time. “In preparing for each concert,” he said, “we have time to really focus on one or two pieces in-depth for nearly a month and gain incredible insight into the music.” The second is dedication: The student’s dedication to the work required, the faculty’s dedication to support this unique program by giving so much of their time in aiding with rehearsals, and a dedicated and supportive community that fosters such a great school, both financially and with their presence at our concerts. “These all together make for a very rare and unique orchestral program,” Macelaru said. “Our orchestra members are highly gifted, intelligent and dedicated, and they bring a special and unique energy to what they do,” Rachleff said. “My job is to help them give great performances balanced with the learning process, and both require an environment that is nonthreatening and inspiring as well as challenging.” Although the symphony rehearsals and performances are demanding, most students wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Orchestral training is required for all Bachelor and Master of Music degree candidates, and they understand that professional-sounding results are the product of hard work. They also know that the effort will pay off when it comes time to seek employment with professional orchestras. And pay off it does. Among American music schools, the Shepherd School’s job-placement rates are impressive. Shepherd School alums and faculty comprise more than one-quarter of the Houston Symphony, and other alumni have won appointments with the New England Conservatory, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, to name a few. “I recently was guest conducting in Kansas City,” Rachleff said, “and 10 or 12 Shepherd School alums were there.” Recent graduates also have secured

“Our orchestra members are highly gifted, intelligent and dedicated, and they bring a special and unique energy to what they do. My job is to help them give great performances balanced with the learning process, and both require an environment that is nonthreatening and inspiring as well as challenging.” —Larry Rachleff

faculty positions at Texas Christian University, Duquesne University, Texas Tech University, and Roanoke College, among others. In addition to providing excellent training for its students, the Shepherd School Symphony provides a showcase for Rice. “The fact that our concerts are free brings a lot of people here who might not otherwise have access to really high-quality music,” Yekovich said. “That’s good for the community, for Rice and for the Shepherd School.” It also sends a very strong message to the outside world about what Rice values. “One of the driving factors of the economy of major metropolitan areas — one of the attractions for people to live and work in a metropolitan area — is its cultural life,” Yekovich said. “To say that a university in Texas actually cares deeply about culture and the arts is an important statement about the university and about Houston.” For Rachleff, though, the most important thing is the process of the journey. “It’s a constantly invigorating, inspiring, stimulating, challenging experience,” Rachleff said. “If it has a great love, care and dedication, the rest will have freedom and fire.”

Rice Magazine

No. 10








Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano remembers her first critique while learning her first opera at Rice. “It was Mozart’s ‘La finta giardiniera,’” she said, “and I would get tongue-tied in the Italian. Professor Bado taught me how to break it down and drill it so I knew it cold. Ever since then, whenever I’m learning any kind of piece that I’m having trouble with, I know how to deal with it, step by step, until it’s as close to perfect as I can get.”

The technique has served her well. After receiving her master’s in vocal performance from Rice in 2008, Cano went directly into the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. More recently, she took first prize in the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, won a 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant and made her Carnegie Hall recital debut. Cano is one of a growing number of outstanding graduates from the Shepherd School of Music’s Opera Studies Program, which has seen considerable enrichment during the last six years thanks to a concerted effort by Dean Robert Yekovich to bring the opera program on par with the university’s acclaimed orchestral training program. Professor of Opera Richard Bado, who has conducted at venues such as Teatro alla Scala, Opéra National de Paris, Houston Grand Opera (HGO) and the New York City Opera, was named the program’s first director. Among his extensive professional experiences, Bado has been HGO’s chorus master since 1988 and regularly accompanies renowned soprano Renée Fleming. “We’re really stepping up our game,” Bado said, “and we’re now competing on the highest level around the country with the major opera vocal training schools.” The effort has included bringing in guest stage directors for productions, adding graduate classes in diction, providing instructors for everything from movement to stage combat, and staging productions in Stude Concert Hall and the department’s black box theater. There even are aspirations about building a new opera house on campus. With the increased focus on the training program, Rice students are winning major competitions, being selected for acclaimed programs and participating in prestigious summer programs such

Richard Bado and Renée Fleming

faculty and the incredible degree of individual attention they give to students. “The study of music has, historically, been a one-onone experience,” Cano said. “At the Shepherd School, they are continuing that tradition in the best way possible.” “Everybody gets a lot of individual training,” Bado said. “The goal is to develop students as far as we can and then have them go into the major young artist development programs.” The university stages two full opera productions a year, each with full orchestra. The repertoire is based on the talents of the particular

“We’re really stepping up our game and we’re now competing on the highest level around the country with the major opera vocal training schools.” —Richard Bado

as San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program and Wolf Trap Opera program. After graduation, they have gone on to young artist programs at the Metropolitan Opera, HGO and the Washington National Opera, among others. A lot of the credit goes to the department’s talented, committed


students that year, but operas also are chosen to challenge and stretch the students as artists. This approach has proven invaluable. “The teachers take an individualized interest in the singer,” said Aaron Blake, a 2009 Rice graduate with an undergraduate degree from Juilliard. “With one exception, every role I played at Rice, I have performed in the real world.” Blake was the Dallas Opera’s Emerging Artist for the 2010– 11 season, and he recently learned that, in fall 2012, he’ll make his debut with the Washington National Opera in “Anna Bolena.” Cano also learned her first complete opera roles while she was at Rice. At the small Midwestern school she attended as an undergraduate, she was only able to do scenes suited for small groups. Learning an entire role for the first time is a daunting task, but she credits her teacher, Kathleen Kaun, the Lynette S. Autrey Professor of Voice, and Bado for teaching her how to make it possible. Like Cano, bass-baritone Michael Sumuel ’09 came from a small undergraduate program. “I wanted to find a graduate program small enough to have a tight-knit community where I would feel comfortable learning and exploring as an artist but that also was big enough to provide opportunities to perform onstage,” he said. “Rice was a perfect fit.” Sumuel is a 2010–11 HGO Studio Artist and an alumnus of the 2009 Merola Opera Program, and he’s coming up on his second season as a Filene Young Artist at Wolf Trap Opera. Facility with languages and proper diction are integral to an opera singer’s performance. Students avail themselves of Rice’s

“There is such a high level of professionalism among the faculty at the Shepherd School. They bring high expectations and standards, and their students rise to the occasion.” —Adam Lau

excellent general language programs as well as diction classes within the music school. Language study culminates in the unique Margaret C. Pack Language Institute for Singers, an intensive three-week Italian immersion program in Florence, Italy, for graduate opera students. In addition to taking language classes, students live and dine with local families with whom they speak only Italian. Bass Adam Lau ’10 was in the first group to go to Florence. “Learning the correct diction and nuances of sentences are things you can’t quite grasp unless you go there,” Lau explained. “It gives you an edge over students who’ve learned languages via books rather than by practicing in a live situation.” By the end of two weeks, Lau said, he’d begun to think in Italian. Having a strong program is important, but it doesn’t mean much if you don’t have talented students. As practicing professionals, Bado and other faculty judge competitions all over the United States as well as teach at and visit various summer programs, “You try to identify talent early on, especially for the master’s level,” he said. “For the past three years, I’ve been recruiting a student who just agreed to come here next year. It’s like athletic scouting: We try to find those students with great gifts and talents, and then our job is to develop the skills to support those talents.” Kaun is one of those scouts. With 30 major roles in her 13-year operatic career in Austria and Germany, Kaun brings real-world experience to her work, and she was a judge on a panel for a competition in which Cano was participating. Kaun, who noticed that Cano would soon graduate, asked her after the competition if she’d considered Rice. “I’d only known Rice as a great orchestral training ground for instrumentalists,” Cano said, “but I really liked Kathy.” Inspired, Cano flew down for an audition and checked out the program, and the Shepherd School quickly became her first choice. “The opportunity to work with [Professor and Chair of Voice] Stephen King was what made me come to Rice,” said baritone Samuel Schultz ’09, who transferred to Rice from Wheaton College as an undergraduate and continued on in the graduate program. Schultz made his Houston Symphony and HGO debuts this past spring. In addition to a performance career that has included recitals as far-flung as China, King is a highly sought-after voice teacher with a large professional studio. Lau, who also studied with King, concurs. “By the time you reach a graduate level,” he said, “you want to find a teacher who has a really good ear.” After Lau received his

master’s last spring, he went on to debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. He also has been accepted to the prestigious Merola Opera Program. “There is such a high level of professionalism among the faculty at the Shepherd School,” Lau said. “They bring high expectations and standards, and their students rise to the occasion.” Lau especially appreciates the nurturing he received at Rice. “In school, you’re still figuring out how the body works and how the voice works. The teachers here are supportive and encouraging, and they create a safe environment in which to try out new things and even make mistakes. Rice was a wonderful experience.” Having faculty who are world-renowned practicing professionals is invaluable to students. When Sumuel played Antonio in the HGO production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” he shared the stage with his former Rice professor of voice, Susanne Mentzer. The best way to summarize Mentzer’s lengthy and impressive resume is to say she has appeared in nearly every great opera house on four continents. Debra Dickinson, artist teacher of opera studies, instructs students in acting and movement, a subject she knows from experiences onstage and off. Before she became a director, Dickinson spent 15 years in New York as an actress and singer. During that time, she performed on Broadway in “Camelot” with Richard Burton. One of her first forays into directing was as associate director of “The Pajama Game” for Beverly Sills’ New York City Opera at Lincoln Center. The opera program’s excellent faculty is supplemented throughout the year by a number of visiting artists and instructors who provide students not only with specialized training, but also connections to the larger world of opera. HGO is one particularly valuable resource for the program. It provides dress rehearsal tickets to opera students, as well as technical and advisory assistance to the department, and also is the source of many visiting artists. In fact, at the Houston Symphony’s all-Ravel weekend early last spring, almost 40 percent of the musicians on stage either studied or taught at the Shepherd School. “The experiences you go through are what prepare you,” Cano said. “Thanks to the opera faculty, I was stretched musically and artistically, and I developed a skill set that has gotten me through whatever I’ve encountered.” That’s high praise indeed from someone who has taken her talents from a small college stage to the footlights of the Met.

Rice Magazine

No. 10



Hitting the Right Note

B y

D a v i d

T h e i s

It was a rather giddy mid-April night in the Shepherd School of Music’s Wortham Opera Theatre. As the end of the semester approached, Shepherd School students — composers and musicians alike — gathered there for a concert of experimental and electronic music — some recorded, some live — composed and performed by their peers.


uch of the student music was playful and witty and drew laughter from the audience. One composition was titled “What’s This Dingus Called?” Another, “Walking Home,” was of sounds literally recorded on the street: dogs barking, cars murmuring past, laughter, unidentifiable sounds, a bus hissing to a halt so that the person carrying the recorder could board. Other compositions were more moody. On “Motion Control,” doctoral student Ben Krause played his own music on the piano while accompanied by a haunting, throbbing, ultimately mysterious recording he’d written. But just when it seemed the evening was turning serious, Liteman showed up. Liteman was an unnamed student, apparently a percussionist, dressed in a canary-yellow superhero outfit, ornamented with a pair of plaid boxers. Picture Spider-Man as Canary-Man, and you’ll get the picture. Liteman took the stage with comic flair, saying “Let me show y’all what I can do.” Then with a pair of drumsticks, he began “playing” a series of microphones that surrounded him, all the while busting a series of hip-hop moves. Liteman had his fellow students cracking up and eating from the palm of his yellow hand. But while this playful, adventurous music was a hit with its target audience — fellow classically trained musicians — would it attract a general, ticket-buying audience? Today’s audiences are notoriously hesitant to listen to contemporary music other than various forms of popular music, preferring the tried-andtrue, such as Beethoven and Mozart. How is a contemporary composer supposed to compete with the long-dead masters? The challenges facing the contemporary composer are much on the mind of the Shepherd School’s seven-member composition faculty. “It’s an incredible thing that music requires of a listener. It’s abstract; it happens in real time,” said Associate Professor of Composition and Theory Anthony Brandt. “Trying to understand what somebody’s trying to express requires a lot from an audience hearing a piece for the first time.” Brandt has an amiable, unassuming presence, like most of his fellow faculty. But he combines that warmth with intellectual rigor and a quasi-scientific approach to composition that includes study on how music affects the brain. He readily agrees that the heroic age of composition is long past, partly because, since the early years of the 20th century, music has moved in a bewildering variety of directions. “Modern music is the first music in the history of the world without a common practice. You could list 20 common practices from Bach, Beethoven and Brahms based on their use of tonal harmonies and so on,” he said. “But today we couldn’t name one practice that applies to all composers.” But he looks at this as a positive challenge, and the established greats as tall shoulders


on which today’s composer can stand. “Almost every modern composer becomes a composer because we love music that already exists,” he said. “We just want to push it further.” He noted that students arrive at Rice already informed by all kinds of influences, from rock to avant-garde, and that a large part of his job is to encourage students to seek influences different from those with which they arrived. “You don’t want to drive down only one road with blinders on,” he said, “seeing only what you’re used to seeing.” The blinders are certainly off during an early April meeting of Brandt’s Theoretical Studies IV class, a required undergraduate offering for all music students. Through the semester, Brandt has been exploring the fracturing of the “common practice” and how each individual composer has gone about creating his or her own way of making music. Today’s subject is John Cage, who, Brandt told his students, “made forgetting tradition his life’s work.” Brandt has structured the Cage class in the form of a Cage composition. That is, it’s based on chance and on random connections between sounds. He passed out a handful of envelopes, each marked on the outside with a specific time: 11:13, for example. While Brandt gave a traditional lecture on Cage’s work, students opened their envelopes at the specified time and performed the action prescribed therein. They called out random lines, sometimes from their seats, sometimes from near the podium. 11:05’s “I’m going through a big life change right now” drew the most laughs. Associate Professor of Composition and Theory Karim AlZand’s Tonal Counterpoint class is restricted to upper-level undergraduate and graduate composition students. He describes it as a “style study” class focusing on the specific compositional technique of counterpoint in the music of Bach. During one class, he and his students focus on Bach’s approach to the fugue. Unlike Brandt’s Cage class, this one is highly technical. Al-Zand stood in front of the class, a piano between him and the students, and tracked the progress of the music on the chalkboard. He pushed his students to find the link between one measure and the next by asking the simplest possible question: “Which note comes next?” When the students didn’t have a ready answer, he showed them how to proceed. “Pencil in what you know — how, as part of a fugue, the next measure must end — and then work backwards.” He wrote suggestions on the board, but a gap remained in the measure. “We need one and a half beats worth of material.” On the piano he played some of the suggestions. One of them sounded dull. “Do you agree there should be more activity?” The class answered, “Yes,” in unison. Ben Krause

Al-Zand stopped often to ask, “What do you think?” drawing the notes out of his students rather than giving them the answer. But the farther into the fugue they got, the harder it was for the class to make suggestions. At one such impasse, he cheerfully said, “Let me give you some more advice,” eliciting nervous laughter. When he asked, “How do we get to the G sharp?” a student quickly answered “F sharp?” then hurriedly retracted her answer. “Oh, God, no!” Al-Zand took another suggestion and said, “It could be! It could be!” After playing it on the piano, he commented, “Nice!” The class ended with his lovely performance of an “exposition on a subject from class.” One student walked out humming the tune. This immersion in Bach’s technique feeds Al-Zand’s own work as a composer, as does the enthusiasm of his students. “I wouldn’t teach,” he said, “if I wasn’t inspired by them.” He originally planned to be a performer rather than a composer. “But during my undergraduate years at McGill University, I realized my professors were also composers — that creating new music was a practical possibility.” He discovered that he wasn’t interested in practicing one piece until he could play it flawlessly. “I wanted to be involved in the creative process,” he said.

Professor of Composition and Theory Pierre Jalbert recently had a chamber piece performed by the Emerson String Quartet, one of music’s leading ensembles. He won the Rome Prize, the BBC Masterprize and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s 2007 Stoeger Prize. The faculty’s accomplishments as working composers were naturally very attractive to Krause. “For a composer,” he said, “that’s pretty appealing.” But, in a comment that many others will echo, he said that his fellow Shepherd School students, particularly the musicians, were an equally powerful draw. “The Shepherd School Orchestra may be the best student orchestra in the country,” he said. And the performers are eager to work with the student composers and perform their new work: By the time of graduation, or shortly thereafter, each composition student is guaranteed not only a concert performance, but also a recording, of his or her work. Krause also found other attractions at Rice, particularly how much freedom the Shepherd School students have to create and then pursue their own voices. “Some schools have a certain style or type of music they want their students to pursue,” he said. “But here, the faculty is open and curious, and no two of them are alike.”

“It’s an incredible thing that music requires of a listener. It’s abstract; it happens in real time. Trying to understand what somebody’s trying to express requires a lot from an audience hearing a piece for the first time.” —Anthony Brandt

Al-Zand has gone on to compose chamber and orchestral pieces and has won numerous awards, including the Louisville Orchestra Young Artist Competition and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Composition. Most recently he won the 2011 Arts and Letters Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In fact, each member of the composition faculty has found success. Brandt has written chamber and orchestral music, much of which has been recorded and released by Albany Records. Associate Professor of Composition and Theory Shih-Hui Chen’s work consists, in large part, of combining Eastern and Western music practices. She has written concertos for various instruments and other chamber music and won a 2007 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Professor of Composition and Theory Arthur Gottschalk is the senior member of the faculty, having arrived in 1975, one year before classes actually began. He has perhaps the widest range of any faculty member, having scored film, television and commercials. He also is the founder of Rice Electro-Acoustic Music Labs (REMLABS), the Shepherd School’s electronic and computer music laboratory. Composition and Theory Department chair Richard Lavenda was in that first class. His opera “Barricade” won first prize from the National Opera Association, and he has written a wide range of chamber music and orchestral compositions. Kurt Stallmann, the Lynette S. Autrey Associate Professor of Composition and Theory, who includes environmental sounds and “purely synthetic sounds” in his compositions, may be the most experimental of the group. He won a 2009 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship.

Anthony Brandt and Karim Al-Zand Krause said he finds that freedom exhilarating. “Everything is new to me. Every new project, such as my REMLABS composition during the ‘Liteman’ show, is a total departure.” Krause also likes the way the faculty prepares him for life in the academy. These days, freelance composers write everything from operas to video game music, but freelancing is a perilous life. Krause and others also affirmed that Rice pushes its students to pursue academic careers. “They’re teaching me to teach,” he said, “and this includes the details of how to write cover letters for job applications.” Krause noted approvingly that a recent graduate secured a job at the highly regarded music department at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. The composers at Rice take their challenge as music educators so seriously that Brandt, Al-Zand and Jalbert have joined with composers from the University of Houston’s well-regarded Moores School of Music to form a new music ensemble, Musiqa. Musiqa puts on new music concerts for the general public, but also performs for Houston-area school children, many of them from underserved schools. In 2010, they performed for more than 6,000 school kids. Does this young audience appreciate challenging new music? “They go bonkers!” Brandt replied. This emphasis on music education for everyone, not just for Shepherd School students, is a response to the challenge today’s composer faces in finding a willing audience. “I believe that modern classical music is very beneficial to everyone,” Brandt said. “We have to get over the notion that it’s a specialized, rarified thing. Ultimately, the arts give us the greatest access to our inner lives. When you don’t teach students the arts, you’re depriving them.”

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Is music in 30

Al in te By Leslie Contreras Schwartz

Fami y the blood? A number of recent studies give credence to the notion that a love of music has a definite genetic component, and for affirmation, you need look no further than the four Kufchaks currently enrolled at the Shepherd School of Music. To Heather, Matthew, Rachel and Meredith Kufchak, who hail from Columbus, Ohio, their enthusiasm for music is no mystery: Their parents are amateur musicians. But what really sparked the siblings’ passion was the day their grandfather brought a violin to their house. It was an event that strengthened the power of music over the household. “Christina, who was 4, was enchanted by it,” Matthew said, “and Grandpa told my parents to have her take lessons. Each of us picked up an instrument when we turned 4.”

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the children grew older, they began to play together in chamber music groups, refining their love of music through interaction with other musicians. “When I was very young, my dad would have the three older siblings play and would arrange music for us to play at weddings and church,” Heather said. “It’s a little more individualistic training than being in an orchestra because each of us had our own part, but we still collaborated with other people. This brings up a great energy because playing off of other musicians is more interesting than playing by yourself.”

Heather Kufchak and Kathleen Winkler Coming to Rice The Kufchaks gravitated to Rice in different ways and at different times in their academic careers, but their reasons were similar. They were looking for a place that would nourish their love of music, that would strengthen their skills through intense training and that would help finance their dreams through scholarships. The Shepherd School, with its strong music program, supportive community and university setting, seemed ideal. And it didn’t hurt that, after cellist Matthew ’11 began here, the Rice family was truly family for them. “Rice gives its music students the advantage of a top conservatory-level music school attached to a top-level university,” said Matthew, who has played on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” as well as its PBS TV show from Carnegie Hall. “I really enjoy the fact that there are so many different types of people here. “If you go to a conservatory such as Juilliard that’s only a music school, you don’t really get to meet other types of people.” The Shepherd School orchestra program was another big draw, and he noted that, unlike other universities’ music schools, the Shepherd School holds 10 to 13 rehearsals for each concert. “Not only do we work on all these great pieces, but we also get to look at the music in so much greater depth. When we join a professional orchestra, we’ll have learned the music really, really well, so that we’re not just cramming in the notes but have really gotten to experience the music.”


James Dunham and Rachel Kufchak A violin graduate student, 23-year-old Heather was drawn by the supportive community, which she’s learned about from Matthew, and by the faculty. “I initially applied to Rice on the recommendation of my previous violin teacher,” she said. “I applied specifically to study with Violin Professor Kathleen Winkler.” Indeed, Rice was such a powerful draw for the family that violinists Meredith and Rachel, both sophomores, joined the Shepherd School this past academic year. “I was really impressed with the level of musicianship at Rice,” Rachel said. For Meredith, who enjoys taking physics classes, it was the academic strength of the university, along with the stellar music program, that drew her to Rice. Here and Now Heather and Matthew currently play together in a string quartet, and Meredith and Rachel both say that the required chamber music program at the Shepherd School is their favorite component of the program. “Most musicians want to be soloists,” said Meredith. “But I think we’re all mainly in love with chamber music.” “Maybe it’s because that’s what I played growing up,” Rachel said. “I think the cool thing about it is that everyone has their own part, so you can be expressive. You’re making music in a way that you can’t in an orchestra.” According to accounts from their principal instructors, the four musicians all have strong emotional expressiveness in their music.

“Heather is innately musical and uses that gift as a springboard to generate creative and inspired performances,” Winkler said. “She clearly has a distinctive ear for musical vision. And more importantly, Heather is relentless in her pursuit for success. Her patience, initiative and work ethic are admired by both faculty and students alike.” Cello Professor Desmond Hoebig said that Matthew “has a beautiful, rich sound and a natural musical sense. When he performs, you feel his connection with the music. He is not playing the notes on the page, but re-creating the emotional intuitions and desires the composer writes down in the music.” Viola Professor James Dunham is no less laudatory. “Rachel plays with energy and commitment and has a real point of view when she performs. I was immediately taken with her playing when she auditioned for us last winter, and since her arrival, we’ve

Desmond Hoebig and Matthew Kufchak

had wonderful opportunities to explore a wider range of expression and finer technical detail. She has proven to have all the character I hoped for.” Like her siblings, Rachel sees playing music as something deeply personal, something that helps her articulate emotions. “When my grandpa died, it was not easy to deal with, and I didn’t have anywhere to turn,” she said. “Music became an outlet for me. When I’m upset or sad, I can express that through music.” As for Meredith’s talents, Viola Professor Ivo-Jan der Werff calls her a naturally gifted musician with a real, individual voice. “Even as a freshman, she made a great sound and had a very good facility around the viola,” he said. “She has a strong personality and can convey a great emotional feeling for the phrasing of a piece of music.”

Ivo-Jan der Werff and Meredith Kufchak What’s Next?


All of the Kufchak siblings’ future plans include some involvement with music, and most of them want to pursue chamber music. Heather hopes to land a position with a professional orchestra, but eventually would like to play in a string quartet. Meredith looks forward to playing in a touring string quartet, playing concerts, or playing in an orchestra and teaching lessons. Rachel is less certain of where her future will lead, but she knows that it will involve music. Matthew wants to pursue a doctorate of musical arts in cello performance and will be attending graduate school at Rice beginning in the fall. He would like to either teach at the university level or play for an opera or ballet company. “I also have a dream of creating a nonprofit music organization for underprivileged children,” he said. Wherever the Kufchaks end up, it’s sure to be to the benefit of anyone who hears them play. “I learned from a young age what it means to be disciplined and consistent in order to see improvement, and the focus it takes to be efficient and thorough,” said Heather. “It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of perfection, but it’s important to remember that music does speak to people, and that when performing, you have an obligation to say something.”

—Heather Kufchak

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Beyond Performance

Photo: Thomas Wu

From left: Charles Halka, Tracy Wu, Jeewon Lee, Makiko Hirata and Clara Yang

By Tracy Wu

Bringing classical music to the stage takes more than adept fingers on strings and keys — it also requires knowing your sources.

You would expect to find Shepherd School of Music students in practice rooms or on stage in Alice Pratt Brown Hall, not digging through the archives in the Library of Congress. But this time, before we could take to the stage for a special performance, a handful of my fellow graduate music students and I spent a week in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. As participants in the Insights: Exploring the Collections concert series at the Library of Congress, and in a unique collaboration between the Library of Congress and the Shepherd School,

directors for Chamber Music America, had a conversation with Chamber Music America colleague Anne McLean, who also was a librarian at the Library of Congress. He proposed that a small group of Shepherd School graduate students visit the Library of Congress for a week of research and then give a concert based on their musical findings. “It occurred to me that at the Shepherd School, we have the ideal combination of superb artist/scholar students who could both make the most of the library and showcase its wonderful holdings,” Dunham said. “The thought was to help the library promote its commitment to education while allowing our students access to rare works. It seemed like a win-win situation.” Shepherd School Dean Robert Yekovich strongly endorsed the idea, and, in 2010, the wheels were set in motion when four graduate students were invited to explore the vast music collections in the vaults of the Library of Congress and create a public music program based on those works, which include original manuscripts with handwritten notes by composers. They also gave a concert based on their research.

“The thought was to help the library promote its commitment to education while allowing our students access to rare works. It seemed like a win-win situation.” — James Dunham

we had two mandates to fulfill. The Library of Congress asked us to provide new ways of understanding and appreciating familiar and not-so-familiar music and musicians, with special emphasis on American creativity. The Shepherd School requested that we help kick off Rice’s Centennial Celebration by featuring compositions written during the Rice Institute’s inaugural years, 1910 to 1912. We had just one week to scour the vaults of the Library of Congress and concoct a concert program — to be performed at the Shepherd School Feb. 22, 2011, and at the Library of Congress March 5 — that would reflect not only the motivations of our two sponsoring institutions, but also our own interests as performers and scholars. The project began in 2008, when Shepherd School Viola and Chamber Music Professor James Dunham, then on the board of


In the Shadow of Giants This year, graduate students Makiko Hirata (piano), Clara Yang (cello), Jeewon Lee (piano), Charles Halka (composition) and I (violin) were chosen to spend the first week of the 2010–11 winter holidays ensconced in the Library of Congress’ music division. There, we eagerly pored over manuscripts and personal papers of musical personages, from the Franco-Flemish Renaissance giant Orlando di Lasso to latter-day greats like Leonard Bernstein, that fluent speaker of the languages of conducting and composing, from classical symphonies to Broadway music.

We started off our first week of research with a special tour by Norman Middleton, concert producer of the Library of Congress, followed by an orientation in the music administrative offices with Chief of the Music Division Susan Vita and other staff members. By this time, completely overwhelmed by the massive wealth of knowledge stockpiled in the cavernous national archives, we paused and took a collective moment to consider our objectives and the guidelines. For our concert program, we chose Rebecca Clarke’s emotionally charged Piano Trio, Charles Ives’ youthfully impish Piano Trio, Samuel Barber’s perennial audience favorite “Souveniers” and a very freshly minted composition by fellow researcher– musician Charles Halka. We were able to bring back copies of Clarke’s Piano Trio, whose score is held at the Library of Congress. Having Clarke’s very own handwriting to corroborate specific musical directives that appear in the printed edition was an invaluable asset. Ives’ Piano Trio, completed in 1911, fulfilled Rice University’s request that we showcase a musical work written during Rice’s nascent years. As we began the rehearsal process in Alice Pratt Brown Hall in late January, all of us felt the urgency and excitement of the work before us. We scheduled a strong cocktail of rehearsals, coachings and informal performances. Professors Dunham, Kenneth Goldsmith and Norman Fischer and artist–teacher Brian Connelly wholeheartedly drew from their own stores of musical knowledge and experiences to expedite the cultivation of the works we had chosen. I told Clara, only half-jokingly, that I knew her entire schedule by heart, since, on the average day, we would begin with a few rehearsals at indecent hours, run to a professor’s studio for much-needed coaching during which we would soak up musical guidance like dehydrated cacti, tote our instruments over to Duncan Recital Hall to perform for a studio recital and then reconvene to discuss the latest musical developments in our playing.

Professors Dunham, Kenneth Goldsmith and Norman Fischer and artist–teacher Brian Connelly wholeheartedly drew from their own stores of musical knowledge and experiences to expedite the cultivation of the works we had chosen.

Taking the Stage

By the time our preview concert at Rice rolled around, I felt like my life had been put into a pressure cooker over the last month and compressed about a year’s worth of musical learning into me. New ideas of phrasal construction, hierarchical musical themes and the character and evolution of motives through a multimovement work jumped around in my head at night. I knew my brain was soaked through and through with the concert repertoire when I began waking up in the mornings with the opening line of Clarke’s Piano Trio streaming cyclically through my head. Going on stage for the preview concert at Rice, we were greeted by a more than usually enthusiastic audience. Makiko and Jeewon delivered a constellation-like “Souveniers,” painting a musical sky with dramatic stars. Then Clara and I joined Jeewon on stage for a colorful portrayal of Ives’ Piano Trio, highlighting the character of the turn-of-the-century, small-town agrarian society life that Ives lived. Next came our premiere of Halka’s

My research experience as a graduate student and as a classical musician in the Library of Congress has exposed me to another world: one full of archival materials documenting not only the products of some of the world’s greatest minds, but also of the living history of the process of creativity.

piece, which showed the flavor of his compositional skill in its driving notes and sharp rhythmic junctures. The concert ended with Makiko, Clara and me presenting the Clarke Piano Trio, with its vivid post-World War I tones of hope amid despair. The second trip to the Library of Congress was fulfilling for us as students and performers. Alongside Shepherd School professors Fischer and Goldsmith, we presented an appreciation concert for the Library of Congress staff that included works by Menotti, Mendelssohn, Cowell and Brahms. The next day, filled with excitement, we performed the main concert to an enthusiastic audience, exploring the acoustic abilities of the famed Coolidge Auditorium with great emotion. Immediately after the concert, I ran to the Music Division to do more research. I had learned that, at the inaugural ceremonies of Rice Institute, the Kneisel Quartet had presented two concerts, one of which included the Debussy Quartet, and I was eager to get a copy made from the microfilmed manuscript at the Library of Congress. Musical Depth

My research experience as a graduate student and as a classical musician in the Library of Congress has exposed me to another world: one full of archival materials documenting not only the products of some of the world’s greatest minds, but also of the living history of the process of creativity. Bringing classical music to vivid dimensions were items such as a farcical letter by Ruth Crawford Seeger, pioneer of American music, to her editor, making comedy out of her daily familial tribulations, and a slip of notebook paper on which Oscar Hammerstein II jotted the initial, second and final drafts of the words to the beloved song, “My Favorite Things,” from the musical “The Sound of Music.” Classical music, with its roots tracing back to the 14th century, lives a rich and varied existence through the artistic efforts of those of us actively participating in the field. Through my experiences at the Library of Congress, I found this art form to be resilient to the core and highly adaptive, yet in need of musicians who spend time not only in practice rooms but also in its files, searching out the historical imperatives that inform our performance interpretations. Thanks to unflagging support from the Shepherd School administration and faculty as well as Library of Congress staff, Clara, Makiko, Jeewon, Charles and I enjoyed a fruitful adventure, perusing the innumerable manuscripts, personal letters, compositional sketches and music programs squirreled away in the world’s largest library. Knowing that our belief in this academic and musical enterprise was recognized by Rice University, I feel heartened that our university is sailing into its second century with its original ideals intact. As founder Edgar Odell Lovett proclaimed, Rice University is still an institute without upper limits.

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Let’s go to




Rain or shine, hot or cold, the market is always open.

Well, every Tuesday from 3:30 to 7 p.m., that is. Since April 2007, the parking lot adjacent to Rice Stadium has been transformed from an expanse of asphalt into a field of greens — literally. Local farmers and small-business entrepreneurs, offering everything from environmentally safe bug repellent to soaps and lotions and organic meals for two, have become a regular fixture and a much-anticipated part of the Rice campus.


he market, which had been doing business in the parking lot of Christ the King Lutheran Church across the street from the stadium, outgrew its space and was invited by the university to move onto campus. In late 2010, after seven years as an independent, nonprofit organization, Houston Farmers Market Inc. became an official Rice entity and was appropriately renamed Rice University Farmers Market. While the name changed, what the market offers hasn’t, and marketgoers continue to reap the harvest. Carol “CJ” Claverie, market manager, affirms that with the addition of the university’s resources, the market will continue to grow and improve. “Having a farmers market on campus enriches the lives of students and community residents who have access to all the cultural resources of the fourth-largest city in the U.S. but may not experience the rural perspective represented by the food producers who come to the market every week,” Claverie said. Typically between 200 and 500 people visit the market each week. Rice faculty, staff and students are regular patrons,

but the market also draws people of all ages from the Texas Medical Center and surrounding neighborhoods. And many have grown accustomed and look forward to the seasonal delicacies the market offers. Springtime provides succulent strawberries and bountiful flowers, and early summer brings corn on the cob and perfect peaches from the Boerger Farm in Wharton, Texas, and other area orchards. “People new to the market are always surprised at what a tree-ripened peach tastes like,” Claverie said. “Once they’ve had them, they line up to buy twice as many as the week before.” In fall and winter, cool-weather crops, including spinach, kale and Swiss chard, and root vegetables, such as turnips, carrots and beets, return to the market’s tables. Weekly emails keep patrons abreast of the week’s featured items, and the organization’s website has a produce availability guide and recipes using available meats and in-season produce. An e-newsletter, also published weekly, provides readers with tips on a variety of topics, including how to store different types of vegetables, pictures of available products and news about upcoming musical entertainers, who often are on-site and complement the outdoor experience. While Rice’s market appears to be like any other farmers market, Claverie points out that there is one major difference. “The Rice Farmers Market is committed to being — first and

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foremost — a farmers market. We limit how many prepared food vendors there are,” Claverie explained, “and to ensure that what is sold at the market is truly local and honestly represented, we personally visit farms.” Market rules stipulate that everything has to be grown within 200 miles of campus. With the exception of one vendor from Mexia, Texas, vendors are, at most, located within a 60-mile radius. And most have established a following among customers. “There is no greater reward to doing what I do than seeing the smiling faces of my loyal customers who come out every week to get a treat for themselves or pets,” said Stacey Bigley, owner of BarkyDogZ, which specializes in organic pet treats and homemade people treats. “These actions speak louder than words, and that appreciation of my hard work and creativity makes my job so worthwhile.” Having the market on campus has been a win-win for all. Consumers are supporting and sustaining the region’s foodshed, and vendors, particularly those maintaining small farms and ranches, are able to provide an additional educational opportunity about the agricultural products and services they provide. This past year, Richard Johnson, director of sustainability at Rice, and Elizabeth Long, department chair and professor of sociology, co-taught a class in which students started a composting project. Working with Baker College chef Cari Clark and Bobby Atkinson, owner of Atkinson Farms, the largest farm producer in the Rice market, the students created the Farm-to-Fork program. The Baker College servery purchased



arket rules stipulate that everything has to be grown within 200 miles of campus. With the exception of one vendor from Mexia, Texas, vendors are, at most, located within a 60-mile radius. And most have established a following among customers. food from Atkinson Farms, and while delivering the comestibles, Atkinson would take collected kitchen scraps back to his farm for composting. The program was so successful it will expand to include Sid Richardson College and an additional servery this fall. It has put Rice in a leadership role in Houston as the first institutional buyer of local food and provided tremendous benefits for students, the environment and the local economy. “The program certainly speaks to the synergy created by having a market on campus,” Claverie said. “Students have become increasingly interested in where the food served in the colleges comes from, who grows it and how it’s grown, so the Farmto-Fork program provides the perfect opportunity to actively engage with students and get them involved.” Besides a plethora of homebaked goods, fruits, vegetables and a large variety of handmade cheeses, the market offers furry four-legged packages, too. In April 2009, True Blue Rescue, a nonprofit organization that finds homes for dogs rescued from shelters that euthanize unwanted animals, made its market debut. The only dog rescue located at a farmers market, True Blue has adopted out more than 200 dogs and is a popular and endearing attraction. “A regular visitor to the market relayed a story to me one Tuesday that perfectly summed up our mission,” said Janice Blue, founder of True Blue. “He said, ‘When I tell my kids that we are going to the market at Rice, they think that it’s a puppy market that sells fruits and vegetables.’” When in the neighborhood, come see how our garden grows. But bring an appetite — did we mention that the macaroons are magnificent?

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The Art of Shadows The space felt incredibly tranquil, and there was even a convenient bench where you could sit to take it all in. Perhaps you glanced around to find the source of the angled light only to realize there was none. The shadows were cast from a corner of the gallery where there are no windows. Maybe you even walked up to the shadows and held out your hand to block them, but if you did, the shadowy images remained unchanged. That’s because the subtle images were not real but an illusion created by New York artist Mary Temple for her installation “Northwest Corner, Southeast Light.” To bring the illusion to life, Temple took composite images of trees from Central Park and magnolias from the grounds of the Menil Collection, projected them on the gallery walls and floor, then carefully traced them and painted them in lightly contrasting gray and white. Where the shadows fell across the floor, Temple painted the wood with stain to create silhouettes slightly darker than the floor. The result was a delicate, calm environment that felt like a transient moment that was somehow frozen in time. The sun never went lower or higher, the shadows never lengthened or shortened. Everything remained as it was, as if you were somehow viewing the scene from some other point on the space–time continuum. Temple had a theory about the effect her work had on viewers. “The only other time you would notice that kind of light and beauty is on a Sunday morning when you are having coffee,” she said. “You’re relaxed, you have time, and your brain will actually let you notice that. You are in a different state; your body and your mind associate that image with the feeling of, ‘It’s my day off.’ To be able to create a couple of minutes of that for someone is important to me.”


Photos: Nash Baker ©

At first glance, it looked like Rice Gallery was in the middle of installing the next show, because nothing was in the dimly lit gallery space except a section of wooden flooring. Then, as if cast from nowhere, faint shadows began to fall across the walls and floor. The rectilinear outlines of window frames cropped the silhouettes of trees and foliage that spilled across the far corner of the room and over the floor.

Although Temple’s installation will disappear when the show closes in mid-August, she will be creating a permanent installation for Houston’s Mickey Leland Federal Building as part of the structure’s upcoming renovation. —Kelly Klaasmeyer

Next at Rice Gallery In September, look for a new installation by Mexican-American artist Ana Serrano, whose work is inspired by people in low socioeconomic positions and focuses on customs and beliefs, architecture, fashion and informal economics.


The Art of Music Scholarship Training musicians, singers and composers might be the most obvious contribution to music made by Shepherd School of Music faculty, but studying the way music affects individuals, society and human culture can be as important as playing. Shepherd School musicologist Gregory Barnett is a case in point, and some pretty prestigious groups agree. No sooner was Barnett awarded a fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) than he received another honor: a monthlong residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. “This is some of the earliest feedback that I’ve received on this project,” said Barnett, associate professor of musicology, “so I’m encouraged that it’s been positive.”

Italian Musical Thought and Counter-Reformation Ideology.” His residency at the Bellagio Center, located on Lake Como in northern Italy, will help him become fully immersed in this project. The Bellagio Center residency program offers scholars, artists and policymakers a setting conducive to goal-oriented work as well as opportunities for establishing new connections with fellow residents and other professionals.

“The residency at the Bellagio Center is something new for me. Bellagio gathers together a diverse group of people and puts them in a relatively isolated and beautiful environment. The idea is that we work with few distractions and exchange ideas intensively.” — Gregory Barnett Barnett was one of about 60 influential scholars out of more than 1,160 applicants to be selected for the ACLS Fellowship program, which promotes research in the humanities and social sciences. The fellowship’s stipend will allow Barnett to work on a book on 17th-century Italian music, musical theory and religious culture, provisionally titled “The Symbolism of Modal Design:

“The residency at the Bellagio Center is something new for me. Bellagio gathers together a diverse group of people and puts them in a relatively isolated and beautiful environment. The idea is that we work with few distractions and exchange ideas intensively. The prospect is exciting, and I expect to learn a lot from people working not only outside my discipline, but also outside of academe.” —Jessica Stark

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Skyspace Breaking Ground for

The new skyspace by celebrated artist James Turrell is one step closer to reality following the installation’s groundbreaking ceremony May 17.

The skyspace will be located between the Shepherd School of Music and McNair Hall, home of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. Construction will last through November, and opening dates will be announced in late fall. The work will be a centerpiece of the Rice Public Art Program. The installation is made possible by a multimillion-dollar gift by alumna and Rice Trustee Suzanne Deal Booth ’77.

—Franz Brotzen

For more information, visit

Shepherd School Students Dazzle D.C. More than 100 Rice alumni and friends gathered around the Kennedy Center stage April 29 to watch a performance by high-caliber students from the Shepherd School of Music. For the eighth consecutive year, Rice students have been selected to partake in the Conservatory Project through the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The Conservatory Project is designed to introduce audiences to the top young musical artists in classical music, jazz, musical theater and opera from the nation’s leading undergraduate and graduate conservatories, colleges and universities. “We are honored to be a part of the Conservatory Project, and we appreciate the efforts of the Kennedy Center to showcase the next generation of young artists to audiences in the nation’s capital,” said Gary Smith, associate dean of music. “I cannot begin to say how incredibly fulfilling it is to watch our students perform on the stage of the Kennedy Center and represent Rice at the very highest level.”

One of the project’s founding participants, the Shepherd School has had students selected to perform every year since the program’s inception in 2004, when Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center, extended the invitation. The program has grown to include 15 other schools and conservatories, including the New England Conservatory of Music, the Juilliard School, the Berklee College of Music and the Yale School of Music. Performing for Rice this year were Kevin Brown, double bass, student of Paul Ellison; Austin Howle, tuba, student of David Kirk; Luke Hsu, violin, student of Cho-Liang Lin; Jeewon Lee, piano, student of Jon Kimura Parker; Aaron Perdue, flute, student of Leone Buyse; Brent Ryan, tenor, student of Stephen King; and Aya Yamamoto, piano, student of Brian Connelly. The concert, which included works by Vaughan Williams, Eldin Burton, Eugène Ysaÿe, Moritz Moszkowski and others, is available online. —Jessica Stark

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Arts “The difference in ability between the highest level and lowest level of cellists has gotten so close that incoming freshmen have no problems performing chamber music with graduate students.” ­— Norman Fischer

Rigorous but Rewarding On one of the walls in Norman Fischer’s office hang snapshots of the cello professor surrounded by beaming college students. They are memories, souvenirs from each class that has passed through his Shepherd School of Music studio during the last 18 years. As Fischer looks over them — a timeline from his respected career at Rice — he can pinpoint how the study of the cello has aided each one of his students: as a soloist, as a member of a quartet or as a fellow teacher. During the last few months, Fischer has been able to tack on a few more accolades received by his former students. Rice grads have snagged the last four nationwide orchestral auditions for the cello, landing in the St. Louis, Atlanta, San Antonio and Virginia orchestras. It was an almost unheard-of string of success for a program whose renown only continues to grow. “For any audition there will be maybe 80 to 90 applicants, all of whom are capable of doing the job,” Fischer said. “You have to be completely on. The success of them getting a rare job like this is incredibly thrilling.” Such an impressive feat can certainly be credited to the cello program’s thorough training, but Fischer also attributed the placements to the Shepherd School’s communal focus. As Fischer’s photographs illustrate, he and his fellow cello professors — Desmond Hoebig, Brinton Averil Smith and Christopher French — have sought to foster a sense of family not only within the cello program, but within the Shepherd School as a whole. Still, Fischer is quick to point out that that sense of community has not diminished the rigors of study. “The program is very intense,” he said. “One of the things that’s amazing about Rice is that the faculty is consistently great in all the academic areas. And in all the instrumental areas, the professors are among

Norman Fischer

the top in their professions.” Fischer, who has seen the Shepherd School grow into one of the premier music schools in the nation, said the type of student now matriculating at Rice must have a dual passion for both academics and music. Such a focus puts Rice in a unique position. Not only must the students succeed through the rigors of a Rice education, but they must also succeed in a music school comparable to the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music and

Eastman School of Music. “One of my former students became a Rhodes Scholar, and at the orientation for the Rhodes she was told that it was going to be really rigorous at Oxford, that she was going to have a really difficult time,” Fischer said. “She responded, ‘I did my undergraduate at Rice — you can’t scare me.’” Fischer noted that as the Shepherd School has risen in reputation, it has attracted increasingly talented students. “The difference in ability between the highest level and lowest level of cellists has gotten so close,” he said, “that incoming freshmen have no problems performing chamber music with graduate students.” While another run of four straight orchestral positions may be a bit much to ask for, Fischer said, he is only happy when he knows that all of his students, not merely those at the very top, have achieved a level of harmony he and his colleagues have tried to impart. “It’s our job to see that they have a balance in their life, in their art, in their relationship to music and their relationship to people,” he said. “We want to make sure that they’re incredibly happy doing what they’re doing. When that happens, there’s a kind of unity, of resonance, that they have in their life.” With this, Fischer, a renowned cellist in his own right, looks at the wall opposite the photographs. On it hangs a group of foreign masks he has collected during different tours and performances, and it also holds masks that former students have sent him from around the world: from Brazil to East Asia to Africa. All Fischer has to do is look up at them to see just how far — and how many thankful students — the cello program has reached. —Casey Michel

Rice Magazine

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Healthy Eating

The subtitle of Robyn McCord O’Brien’s ’98 “The Unhealthy Truth” (Broadway Books, 2009, co-authored with Rachel Kranz), says it all: “One Mother’s Shocking Investigation Into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply — and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself.”

Delicious Entertainment Friendship bread is a type of bread or other baked good made from a sourdough starter that often is shared with friends. It’s also the title of a new heartwarming novel by Darien Hsu Gee ’92. Gee received the idea for “Friendship Bread” (Ballantine Books, 2011) along with a bag of starter that her daughter brought home from school. Gee was hooked on her first bite, and as she finished the slice, she envisioned a woman receiving a bag of starter, just as she had. The novel opens when Julia Evarts finds an unexpected gift of friendship bread and starter on her porch, along with a note that reads, “I hope you enjoy it.” Still reeling from the death of her son, Julia struggles with the smallest of tasks, but to make her daughter happy, she bakes the bread, surprising everyone — most of all, herself. The simple act of baking opens her up to new possibilities, and Julia forges new friendships with two women by sharing her bag of starter with them. In no time, the bread is everywhere, bringing people together in ways no one — especially Julia — could have dreamed possible. “Friendship Bread” is literary comfort food — and like the bread itself, savory enough to pass on to any reader hungry for a good story. —Christopher Dow

By her own admission, O’Brien is a reluctant crusader who had remained blissfully unaware of the dangers of food additives until one of her children became extremely ill following an “ordinary” meal. Her daughter was diagnosed with food allergies and treated. But O’Brien was unable to let things slide. She began searching for answers to one simple question: “What had changed in our food supply to make it suddenly so toxic to our children?” She was stunned to learn that food allergies have more than doubled in the last decade, but she was shocked even more when she realized how little information there is on this topic and how research into it often is funded — and skewed — by corporations with vested interests in what Americans eat. Her subsequent investigation led her to a number of damning statistics revealing the startling increase in allergies, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cancer and asthma among children. The list of potential offenders is so ubiquitous that we barely notice them: genetically engineered food products, additives, artificial colorings, artificial sweeteners, hormones and high-fructose corn syrup, among others. One example in the book is the StarLink scandal. A genetically engineered form of corn, StarLink was intended to be used to feed animals, not humans, but somehow it found its way into the human food supply and ended up in taco shells sold in grocery stores and used by a major restaurant chain. “As often happens,” O’Brien wrote, “no one knew there was a problem until a bunch of people started getting sick.” —Robyn McCord O’Brien A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 17 sufferers whose symptoms ranged from allergylike manifestations to upset stomach to anaphylactic shock concluded that the corn had not provoked an immune-system response. A subsequent investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency, however, criticized the CDC study for being limited in scope and not looking into the possibility that many other people had come down with symptoms but not reported them. “If you’re wondering why the EPA and not the FDA was regulating StarLink,” O’Brien wrote, “it’s because StarLink corn was considered an insecticide … genetically engineered to contain its own insecticidal toxins.” O’Brien’s journey and discoveries, covered thoroughly in the book, prompted her to establish the AllergyKids Foundation, whose goal is to protect families from the additives now found in the American food supply. She has appeared on CNN, “Good Morning America,” “The Early Show” and “CBS Evening News.” The book closes with several appendices that provide useful resources for information on organic foods, grocery store brands that contain few or no additives, and books and films on the subject of nutrition and food allergies.

“As often happens, no one knew there was a problem until a bunch of people started getting sick.”

—Christopher Dow




Preserving the Alaskan Frontier When Secretary of State William H. Seward pushed for the purchase of Alaska in 1867, the acquisition was quickly dubbed “Seward’s Folly.” That began to change 30 years later with the Klondike gold strike, and ever since, Alaska has held a place in the American imagination. Some saw strategic value, others saw abundant economic resources, while still others thought of Alaska as the nation’s last unspoiled wilderness and fought to preserve it. The struggle over what to do with Alaska’s more than half-million square miles of rugged, sparsely populated territory has not abated, and now, in “The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom, 1879–1960” (HarperCollins, 2011), Douglas Brinkley recounts the efforts of environmentalists and the federal government to contain the excesses of the fur, timber, coal, fishing and oil industries in the territory, which became the 49th state in 1959. Brinkley, a professor of history and a fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, delivers a narrative filled with an assortment of historical figures who played a role in Alaska’s development, including John Muir, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harold Ickes, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, William O. Douglas, Walt Disney and Dwight D. Eisenhower. To write the book, Brinkley mined a dozen archival sites, including the Library of Congress, Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va. To get better acquainted with wild Alaska, he

“Curating Consciousness: Mysticism and the Modern Museum,” by Marcia Brennan, associate professor of art history at Rice (MIT Press, 2010)

“The Other Emerson,” edited by Cary Wolfe, the Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English at Rice, and Branka Arsic (University of Minnesota Press, 2010)

even camped in the Arctic, sailed the Aleutians and hiked the Denali wilderness while spending months living in the state. A prolific writer, Brinkley has written biographies of Dean Acheson, James Forrestal, Jimmy Carter and Henry Ford, as well as the best-selling histories “The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion,” “Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War” and “Parish Priest: Father McGivney and American Catholicism.” His book, “The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” won the prestigious 2007 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and he edited “The Reagan Diaries,” released in 2007. And last year’s “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America” chronicles how the 26th president transformed his interest in the outdoors into edicts that preserved such sites as the Grand Canyon, Devil’s Tower and the Petrified Forest. —Franz Brotzen

“Surfer Girls in the New World Order,” by Krista Comer, associate professor of English at Rice (Duke University Press, 2010)

“The Impossible Border: Germany and the East, 1914–1922,” by Annemarie H. Sammartino ’96 (Cornell University Press, 2010)

“The Spirit Lens: A Novel of the Collegia Magica,” by Carol Neilon Berg ’70 (Roc Books, 2010)

Rice Magazine

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Graham Notches 900th Win Rice junior Michael Ratterree may have driven in three runs with a home run and a double to push Rice into the lead for an 8–2 Conference USA road win over crosstown rival University of Houston May 6, but the loudest cheers of the night were reserved for head coach Wayne Graham as he notched his 900th career win at the helm of the Rice baseball program. As Graham reached his 900th Division I win and marks his 20th season at Rice, he added a couple of other milestones on the side. The Owls (30–16) have now reached the 30-win plateau for a 19th-straight season. Only five other schools in the country have longer active streaks of at least 30 wins. With two earlier victories over Houston in March, Rice also clinched the annual seasonlong best-of-five series against UH for the Silver Glove Trophy as the city’s collegiate champion. Rice now has won 13 of the 14 series with the Cougars since play for the Silver Glove began in 1998. The Owls won the trophy in its first two years and have held the hardware now for 11 years in a row.

Mr. Rendon Goes to Washington Under the daily practice regimen of Rice head coach Wayne Graham, Anthony Rendon vaulted from being a 27th round draft pick out of high school by the Atlanta Braves to the No. 6 pick overall when he was chosen by the Washington Nationals in the 2011 Major League Baseball amateur draft. Rendon is the 18th Rice player to be taken in the first round of the MLB Draft. The AllAmerican and 2010 National Player of the Year is the first Owl to be selected in the first round since Bryan Price ’09 was a supplemental first-rounder in 2008. Rendon is the program’s highest pick since the pitching duo of Philip Humber ’05 and Jeff Niemann ’05 went back-to-back with the third and fourth overall picks, respectively in 2004. A national semifinalist for both the Howser Trophy (as the nation’s top collegiate player) and Golden Spikes Award (as the nation’s top amateur), Rendon quickly ascended to the upper echelon of the Rice record books. In just three seasons, Rendon moved to third in career home runs (52), fifth on the school’s all-time list for batting average (.371), sixth in both runs scored (201) and RBIs (194), and fourth in both total bases (463) and slugging (.679). As the 2010 National Player of the Year, Rendon remained one of the most-respected sluggers in the nation, and opposing teams in 2011 constantly did their best to work around him. He led all Division I players with an eye-opening 80 walks — he registered a walk in 16 of 17 consecutive games, and he was walked four times in a single game three different times. Read Anthony Rendon’s full Rice bio: ››› 3

Hammer on the Field, Nailing Down the Grades James Casey, known as Thor when he played football for Rice and helped the Owls win the Texas Bowl in December 2008, was drafted by the Houston Texans the following year. Despite the grueling schedule of professional football, Casey was determined to complete his Rice education. On May 14, 2011, he fulfilled that dream and received his degree. These days when he speaks to kids, he uses his own life as an example about asking for help when help is needed and not giving up. “If you think about it, there’s no way I should be here,” he told Houston Chronicle reporter Richard Justice. “Rice gave me an incredible opportunity.” Casey graduated in four years despite taking two fall semesters off to play for the Texans. He accumulated a 3.67 GPA while doing a triple major in economics, managerial studies and sport management with a minor in business. —Jeff Cox

Read more about James Casey’s inspiring story: ›››



No Omaha, but Plenty to Cheer About

While Rice clearly was not ready for the baseball season to come to an end so soon, 2011 marks another successful campaign in the face of a host of challenges. Despite Rice’s 6–3 loss to California State University at Berkeley on our home field June 5, the Owls’ strong showing during the season kept the team on the books for several longstanding strings of successes. The program posted its 17th-straight regular season of 40 or more wins (40–21) as well as its 17th-straight year to reach an NCAA Regional. The Owls were league champions for the 16th-straight year, winning both the 2011 Conference USA Tournament title and C-USA regular season cochampionship. And, for the ninth time in the past 11 years, the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee named Rice University’s Reckling Park as a host site for the opening round of the Road to Omaha. During the season, Rice fought through some nagging injuries that sidelined two prominent players for the entire season, but the team’s talented young freshmen players gained a wealth of on-the-job experience. Two seasoned Owl players, Anthony Rendon and Tony Cingrani, were taken in the early rounds of the MLB Draft, but a host of returning stars and a talented recruiting class will ensure that Rice baseball is on solid ground for years to come.

Rice Magazine

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Swimmers Clinch 2011 C-USA Championship The Rice swim team got its feet wet with its first league title when the Owls took the 2011 Conference USA crown after more than three days of rugged competition in late February at the University of Houston. The Owls had built a narrow five-point lead after the final event on senior Kait Chura at fourth, freshman Michelle Gean at sixth and day two, and the next day, the blue and gray extended the lead and sophomore Stephanie Wei at seventh. Freshman Chelsea Fong and swam away with the championship, finishing with a total of 702 sophomore Kim Steinhouse were seventh and eighth, respectively, team points. East Carolina University was second with 676.5 points, in the 100-freestyle with a pair of solid swims. O’Brien came up Southern Methodist University was third with 658, and meet host big with third in the 200-backstroke, and sophomores Kylee Talwar Houston was fourth with 522. and Ashten Ackerman were eighth and 10th. In the For Rice head coach Seth Huston, the 2011 C-USA 200-butterfly, senior Erin Mattson scored third and juCoach of the Year for the second-straight year, the rollnior Shelby Bottoms was fourth. Ackerman chipped in er-coaster season was a matter of getting everyone on a top 10 in the race, and the Owls were in business the team on the same page — something that is even heading into the final relay: the 4x100-freestyle. more critical when a swim team does not have any At this stage, Rice almost had the meet mathematicompetitors in springboard or platform diving. Rice cally locked up, as no other team in the field could won the league crown without competing in the three hope to best the Owls’ total score. The Owls needed diving events. only to finish the race and not get disqualified due to “Without diving you’re not going to win — that’s a false start or leaving the blocks too soon. That meant just the way it is,” Huston said. “Over the years, I kept that the relay foursome of Steinhouse, Gean, Bottoms pondering how we might take the title without divers. and Fong could have played it embarrassingly safe, This year, we did a lot of things right, and it all came and even East Carolina, in second place, would not together at the conference meet. This was a complete have been able to catch up. But to prove they’d earned team effort, and I’m really proud of them.” their laurels, the Owls finished second with a season Seth Huston The Rice distance swimmers set the tone early on best of 3:24.36 — a score that provisionally qualified the final day, with the Owls landing three of the top four spots them for the NCAA Championships. and six in the top 10 to pile up some needed breathing room in After Rice locked up the title and collected the championship the team standings. Freshman Quincy Christian finished second trophy, team members gave Huston a celebratory shove into the with season-best 16:45.58 — the fifth-fastest mile in school history. natatorium, and he was quickly followed by assistant coach Jada Sophomore Danielle Spence came in third and junior Alex O’Brien Hallmark. The champions followed their coaches for a victory dip was fourth. to the rousing sound of the university’s familiar “Stand & Cheer,” as Team depth and getting into the championship finals proved to a contingent of happy Rice fans in the stands sang along. be the key. Rice grouped three in the finals of the 200-backstroke:



Broadcasting Legend Gives Rice Center Stage Bill Arhos ’57 (right) was honored by the PBS affiliate KLRU in Austin, Texas, for his lifetime achievements in public broadcasting and for his role in founding “Austin City Limits.”

When Bill Arhos ’57 helped launch the PBS television music series “Austin City Limits” in 1974, Austin was better known as the state capital of Texas than as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” It wasn’t easy for Bill, a young program director for Austin’s PBS affiliate, to convince his boss to take a chance on the series — but the gamble certainly paid off. Today, the program boasts millions of viewers and is the longest-running music series in American television history. During his broadcasting career, including six years as a PBS board member and serving as a director for the Country Music Association, Arhos met world-famous people, from Willie Nelson to Aldous Huxley to Julia Child. Yet he is just as likely to chat about his humble beginnings as the son of Greek immigrants or to recount in picture-perfect detail his days as a Rice basketball and baseball star. Arhos, who received the Association of Rice Alumni’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007, regales listeners with stories from his Rice experience. To ensure that future Owls experience the same, he uses a number of creative giving methods, such as establishing a charitable gift annuity and naming Rice as a beneficiary of his TIAA-CREF account. He also endowed a cello scholarship at the Shepherd School of Music and continues to support the Rice Annual Fund.


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No. 10



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Birds of a Feather

Although most Rice owls have gone home for the summer, three of them have gone out on a limb and are still hanging around. Who knew. Maybe they’re waiting for O-Week. Photo: Tommy LaVergne

Rice Magazine Issue 10  

Rice Magazine is published by the Office of Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate stu...

Rice Magazine Issue 10  

Rice Magazine is published by the Office of Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate stu...