I had more or less forgotten that the student-run coffeehouse in the RMC was once located here, right next to the door to Sammy’s:

The two pictures I found are undated but taken well within my era at Rice. I’d guess late ’90s or so, which doesn’t sound like that long ago but actually is:

There have been several other things in this spot since, including a Chinese outlet and the still mourned Droubi’s. It’s a taco place now:

And the CoffeeHouse has expanded, improved, and moved over to the Kelley Lounge, where it’s always packed:

Bonus: Reader Maria Martinez writes with the solution to the alien billboard mystery. Thanks a million!

I just wanted to let you know that there was a series of billboards produced (six total) from Chris Sperandio’s Advanced Drawing course (ARTS 425) that were up during the month of April in Bryan, TX. I don’t have a lot of details regarding the project other than his students created the images/art for them, but if interested I could ask him to send you more information. 
I posted the images to our social media pages earlier this week and if you’re interested in viewing them all (6 total) you can do so here:
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Track Standouts, circa 1964

I received quite a few emails after my post a couple weeks ago that featured a sequence of pictures of a Fred Hansen ’63 vault. One of the best came from Terry Cloudman ’65 who sent me two wonderful photos. Even better, they look to be kodachrome slides, the best and highest of all formats in my opinion. This first one is, he thinks, another Hansen vault:

This next one is my favorite, though–Hansen and his teammate Bobby May ’65, who served Rice as coach and Athletic Director for over forty years after an outstanding career as a hurdler. They’re out by the track on what looks like a cool afternoon. This is just gorgeous:

Bonus: Only too true.

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Strange Times at the Hackerman Inauguration, Part 2

As I said yesterday, there were balloons all over. There were people all over too, spread across the lawn, up on the balconies on Lovett Hall, even in the oak trees. It looks like a hot and windy day but I can’t account for the man in the hat carrying a coat:

Among my favorite images in the Woodson are procession photos, which give me the chance to see so many people I love. Here right up front is Katherine Tsanoff Brown, behind her in the Harvard regalia is geologist Carey Croneis, who would have been Chancellor Emeritus at this time after serving as provost for many years. He would pass away only a few months after this event. For the life of me I can’t call up the name of the guy next to him, but behind them are a couple of trustees so it must be someone important:

Here’s the man of the hour, Norman Hackerman, walking next to the Chairman of the Rice board Malcolm Lovett, Sr. In front of them are Frank Vandiver, who looks absolutely delighted to be escaping the office of Interim President with his head still attached to his shoulders–more on this later–and Herb Allen, looking quite pleased to have selected a president without causing an uprising:

I’ll end with another odd one: Norman’s wife, Gene, undaunted by either heat, wind, or sun. Right off her shoulder is Mary Lou Margrave with a fur piece around her neck!

Bonus: A reader up at A&M sends this, wondering if anyone here can explain it. The lettering at bottom left of the billboard with the alien says “VADA.RICE.EDU” Beats me, but . . . well, they’re artists, you know?

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Strange Times at the Hackerman Inauguration , 1971

The other day one of my colleagues was working with the collection of materials generated by the committee that organized Norman Hackerman’s inauguration in 1971. In one of the boxes I found the completely standard looking official scrapbook. It’s classic Rice in fact– dark blue cover, dignified gold lettering:

This cover was totally deceiving. I’d once seen a black and white image of Neal Lane at the inauguration but it did not prepare me for what I found in this book, which was weird, uncanny, and almost unearthly. The best word for it might be “Felliniesque.”

It all starts with the balloons, which seem to have been everywhere. (Knowing what I have come to know about Norman I find this choice inexplicable but I suppose at the time no one knew that.)

The first page sets the tone:

Then the delegates robe:

And the faculty processes. That’s Geologist and general rabble-rouser Jean-Claude deBremaecker with the balloon:

There’s more but I’ll save it for tomorrow. I would love to know who took these pictures.

Bonus: This one hung on through commencement then gave up the ghost.  RIP.

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Friday Follies: #MeToo, 1965

The front cover of the 1965 Rice Follies program sort of resonates with contemporary concerns:


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HMRC Thursday: “Enforce the Monroe Doctrine,” 1962

I continue to be boggled by the riches in the HMRC. Still working through the Houston Post photo archives I’ve reached 1962, which was quite an eventful year. This morning I found the Post photographs from President Kennedy’s famous moon speech at Rice. There are a lot of them and it’s hard not to just gorge myself on these images. Many of them, of course, are exactly what you would expect: JFK at the podium. But many others are completely unexpected, even weird, as the Post photographers were taking lots of pictures at a fairly rapid clip. I’ll leave you with one short sequence. I apologize for the bad scans but I was in a pretty big hurry. We’ll make better ones later. (All these images can be found in the Houston Post Collection RDG-0006N-1962-6106).

First, why is Kennedy looking up? He really seems to be focused on something.

Whatever it is, it’s moving. In the next shot everyone’s attention has shifted from right to left:

And here’s the answer–a plane carrying a banner: “Enforce the Monroe Doctrine.” We tend to forget that less than a week before this speech JFK had publicly warned the Soviets against installing offensive weapons in Cuba and the Cuban Missile Crisis would begin unfolding soon after.

Bonus: I had to laugh at Holmes Richter ’26 ’27 ’29, just above Kennedy’s head a couple of rows back with a cigar stuck in his mouth. Classic.

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Welcome New Alums!

You can send your checks directly to the Development Office!

It’s undated but seems to be at the very peak of the short shorts era, so I’m guessing late 1980s.

Bonus: Today I saw boots with no people in them.

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