Herding Chickens at Rice’s Semicentennial

While I was looking around in the photo files for pictures of the Rice flag, the best ones I found were in the folders related to Ken Pitzer’s inauguration. Held on October 10, 1962, this event was part of the centerpiece of Rice’s year-long celebration of our Semicentennial anniversary.

There were a lot of great pictures in there and there’s a lot to be said about the Semi

centennial, but the photo at right is the one I enjoyed the most. My first reaction was simply that it’s just a cool looking image–I can understand why the photographer took it. Then I got distracted trying to identify the people milling around somewhere in Fondren library. At first I couldn’t, but gradually it dawned on me that I did in fact see someone I know.

So I sent Ron Sass an email of the picture with the subject line “Is that you on top of the table??” Here’s his reply: “Yes, that is me on the table.  I was the Marshall in charge of getting the foreign dignitaries in proper marching order for the academic precession leading to the inaugural ceremony.  It was like herding chickens plus there was a lot of bickering as to who should be in front of whom. My school is older than your school and the French should lead everybody, etc. etc,  Great fun though and I had to climb on top of the table to get their attention (sort of).  We did finally get together and march out as if nothing had happened.” The great thing about these pictures is there’s always a story, if you can get to it.

Ron Sass came to Rice in 1958 and has had a great career here. He retired from teaching a couple of years ago, but is still very active on campus. Here’s a good article about his contributions to Rice, written at the time of his “retirement.”

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2 Responses to Herding Chickens at Rice’s Semicentennial

  1. Pingback: Robing for Commencement, 1971 | Rice History Corner

  2. Pingback: “I have never seen a philosopher have such an ovation,” 1962 | Rice History Corner

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