Not long ago something came into my hands that made me nearly giddy with delight. It’s a photo album that contains the record of a two-day fishing trip that took place in the summer of 1956. Dow Chemical seems to have kept a fishing boat down in Freeport and in classic fashion used it both for fun and for relationship cultivation. Here’s the boat, nestled in among the beautiful storage tanks:
Why do I care about this? I care about it because of the characters they were cultivating. Here’s the group photo:
There are lots of Dow people, but the sharp-eyed among you will be able to pick out several Rice faculty members if you zoom in on it. The tall bald man standing next to the pole at the right is the Dean, Holmes Richter from the Chemistry Department. Second from the left, wearing sunglasses, is Chemical Engineer Bill Akers. Harder to recognize is Franz Brotzen from Materials Science in the back middle with sunglasses and his cap pulled low. I’m sure it’s him, though, because of this:
“Well,” I can hear you objecting, “this is all very nice but hardly worth getting giddy about, Melissa.” And you’re right. Here is the picture that is so perfect it made me laugh out loud:
Not all of the academics on this trip were from Rice. In addition to a couple of engineering deans from the University of Oklahoma and Lamar, there was the chairman of the Chemistry Department at the University of Texas. I’ll bet he was a decent poker player. And it seems to have been Franz Brotzen who brought Norman Hackerman’s name forward when Rice was searching for a president in the aftermath of the Masterson Crisis. Brotzen was a pretty fair card player too.
Bonus: This windswept beauty looks like Nancy Akers.