There was a note with it from a friend of Ray Watkin Hoagland Strange asking if the man standing at the far left was her father, William Ward Watkin. Well, it’s not of course, although I can see how you might make that mistake. It’s actually Griffith Evans, the great mathematician, but both men were tall and lanky.
What we’re looking at here is the 1930 commencement ceremony and a couple of things jump right out at me. First, I’m pretty sure that the young man receiving his diploma is H. Fletcher Brown, who married Dr. Tsanoff’s daughter, Katherine (later a Rice faculty member herself as well as Dean of Students). Second, and the beginning of my long story, is the appearance of a microphone and loudspeaker. This commencement was the first to have artificial amplification.
And the first commencement speaker who didn’t have to shout was none other than Ralph Adams Cram, the architect of our first buildings. Here he is at the podium, or as they said back in those days, “at the desk.” You get a great look at the equipment here:
And here’s Cram again, next to Captain Baker and right in the center of the group photograph taken on this occasion, looking, if I may, like a total badass:
Bonus: Getting ready for baseball yesterday morning.