“Students, Unknown, 1970s”

Amid the general turmoil of the day, I spent a few enjoyable moments talking with a friend who had some business in the Woodson and I tossed off almost thoughtlessly the notion that archiving is more an art than a science. That idea came back to me again just a few minutes later. I’ll let you in one of our special archive secrets: sometimes when we look at a photograph or document we don’t have any real idea what it is. So from time to time things wind up in the wrong place, or at least in a place that isn’t precisely right. (Here’s an earlier example.)

At some point, someone looked at this picture and decided it belonged in the file folder labeled “Students, Unknown, 1970s.”

It’s not a bad guess, really. Some of the people in the photo are certainly students, and I definitely don’t know who they are. The outfits absolutely scream “1970s.” But those guys in the back look a bit long in the tooth to be students, if you know what I mean. And at a glance I recognize two of them: Ira Gruber from the History Department and Bob Curl of Chemistry. So my guess is different–I think this is a picture of the college masters and presidents, and I agree that it was sometime in the 1970s.

I seem to have quite a few readers from that era, so any help in identifying the other people would be greatly appreciated. We can discuss later what the appropriate title for the file folder would be.


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20 Responses to “Students, Unknown, 1970s”

  1. Wendy Kilpatrick Laubach ('78) says:

    By the time I got there in 1974, nobody, but nobody, in the student body was dressing like that.

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    So–early 70s? even late 60s?

  3. C Kelly says:

    Second row from the bottom has John Billingsley (Lovett) and Bruce Coates (?) starting from the left. I can identify the others in a few minutes with a yearbook.

    CK Lovett ’72

  4. Charley Landgraf ('75) says:

    The professor in the middle — the rearmost of two bespectacled — is Dr. J. Venn Leeds, our Master of Sid Rich from its opening in 1971 until, I believe, late 70s. However, Sid Rich was the eighth residential college, so one of the then-existing colleges must not be represented in this 7×7 grouping.

    • Matt Noall says:

      Leeds was the master of Sid Rich, but his tenure for that ended around 1976, if my memroy is correct. His successor was Bill Martin in Sociology, who was recommended/selected by the student committee after what ended up being a rather long and difficult process. I believe none of us knew quite what we were getting into when we volunteered for the search committee, but it was a worthwhile process and experience. The Campanile for that year had some material for the year that happened. The SRC members were rather happy with the change.

  5. Mike Ross says:

    The title of this image file is “masters-and-presidents-c1970s”, which will give a good clue to the folks’ identities.

    Bruce Coates (4th student from the left) was president of Baker College and in my class (1970),

    I believe the student on the far right is now Ann Greene. She and her husband Tom (who was also a Baker president) are both from the Class of 1971 and are very active in Rice matters (For example: http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=7412)

    The 3rd professor from the left is Biology prof Bill Philpott, Master of Baker College.

    5th professor from the left (balding with glasses/reflection, light colored coat) is Materials Science Prof Lea Rudee, who left Rice for UC-San Diego in the early 70s. I forget which college he was master of (Weiss?) In addition to his academic excellence, Lea was noted for leading his intramural volleyball teams to dominating victories over any and all opponents. (I’m probably exaggerating there, but I know his teammates were very sorry when he left.)

    — Mike Ross (Baker ’70)

  6. C Kelly says:

    Melissa is correct – college masters & presidents in 1970/71 school year. Front row left: Pat Daniel (Jones), Tom Blocher (Hanzen), Dan King (Will Rice), Ann Patton (Jones). Next row up: John Billingsley (Lovett), Bruce Coats (Baker), John Hays (Weiss). I have a yearbook so I can look up the masters if nobody else identifies them.

    CK ’72

  7. Melissa Kean says:

    Many thanks, folks!

  8. Don Johnson says:

    In the back row center is J.V. Leeds, who was Master of Sid Rich. And I don’t recognize Bob Curl; he must have REALLY changed.

  9. Kathy says:

    I know Tom and Ann and the other kids all look familiar but I would have been hard pressed to remember names. What’s even worse is that I’m blanking on the Brown master’s name and that’s where I lived! He’s the second from the right. Dr. Gruber I had for American history so I recognize him.

    The Brown master’s name will probably come to me in the middle of the night. So I’ll hop up and get online and shoot it to you 😎

  10. Kathy says:

    It came to me before the middle of the night! Dr. Rogers! I think he was a geology prof. A very nice guy.

  11. Leonard Lane says:

    Ira Gruber was master of Hanszen at the time. I was a student and a member of Hanszen, too. Tom Blocher was president my freshman year, 1970-71. This photo appears to be outside Cohen House. A great find, Melissa!

  12. Yep, looks like the entrance to Cohen House.

    I wonder if this photo is in the Campanile. That would simplify the IDs.

  13. Douglas A. Gwyn says:

    I confirm the identifications for J. Venn Leeds, Lea Rudee, Bruce Coats, and John Hays. Hays was already active politically when he entered Rice (e.g., Young Republicans for Freedom) and thus this photograph may indeed have been of the college masters and presidents. It would have been around the time of my last year there, 1970-1971, so C. Kelly seems to have it right (except that one of the girls must be from Brown). The individuals could be looked up in the Campanile, or was that the year that the released it as a disgraceful cubical box of loose gobbledegook? (Either that year or the previous one.)

  14. Colleen says:

    Professor on the far right is Trenton Wann, master of Jones at the time.

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