John McCants, Part I, with Deep Thanks to A Faithful Alumnus

I’m afraid I’m under the weather today but I do want to at least get started talking about one of the longest serving and most important administrators in the history of Rice, John T. McCants. McCants arrived at the Institute in 1910, well before it opened for classes. He served first as Edgar Odell Lovett’s assistant and later as bursar (among other things) until his retirement in 1953. This admittedly long overdue attention is prompted by an email I got a little while ago from Rice alumnus Ben Cooper, ’96–he had found something on ebay that he suspected we might like for the archives. He was right. It was this, a beautiful scroll that was presented to McCants by the Alumni Association the year he retired:


We’re very grateful to Ben for this generous and thoughtful gift. Here’s a picture from the January 1954 Sallyport of ARA President Carl Illig presenting it to McCants at the 1953 Homecoming in November:

Alumni President Carl Illig presents scroll to McCants Homecoming 1953

Assuming I feel better, I’ll talk more tomorrow about McCants and the central role he played in Rice’s early history.

In the meantime, here’s something different for today’s bonus. Ben and his wife Jenni Sommers Cooper,’97, have a “Rice Room” in their house which holds growing collection of memorabilia. When I asked him if I could use some of his pictures, he immediately agreed: You are welcome to use whatever you want. You can use my name as I am not ashamed of my Rice obsession…I mean pride. 

I predict a long future of Extreme Owl Collecting for the Cooper family.

Live here

bottle display


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