About six or eight months ago I took the contents of the campus photographers’ file cabinets out of the basement of Allen Center and brought them to the Woodson, where my colleague Lauren has been processing them. There were a lot of pictures–probably eight large boxes worth, dating from the early 70s (well before the current photographers, Tommy Lavergne and Jeff Fitlow, were here) to roughly the late 1990s, with a few from the early 2000s. Late last week Lauren told me she was nearly finished, and reminded me that I had told her there was probably one more small box of images over there. So I went back to check. By the time it was all over, I had been shown a storage room on the fifth floor that contained yet another file cabinet plus twenty-two (22!!) large boxes of slides, some loosely sorted, others not sorted at all. Believe it or not, I was nearly speechless. This is going to be a major undertaking–and slides are tough to deal with.
But some treasures have already surfaced in the print files. There’s a folder of nice photos from George Rupp’s inauguration on October 25, 1985, including a few that have become quite moving with the passage of time and the changes that Rice has experienced. Many of the pictures in this file were used in the book that chronicles the inaugural festivities, but others somehow missed the cut. I know this was a serious occasion, but I believe I would have put this one in.
In the Awesome Hat Contest, although you have to admire Rupp’s bold JFK-style hatlessness, I’m going to give the nod to Bishop Fiorenza, who I think is the only person I’ve ever seen on campus wearing a biretta. It’s hard to beat a bishop in a hat contest.