The Robert H. Ray Memorial Courtyard

P1060778I walk past this rock on a pretty regular basis. I noticed it fresh the other morning on my way in to the library and began wondering whether the Ray courtyard was an original part of the RMC. It didn’t take long to turn up a Thresher article from 1968 about its genesis:Ray courtyard Thresher May 1968(By the way, the SA President, Warren Skaaren, who was quoted here, would play an absolutely pivotal role in the Masterson Crisis the following spring.)

Here’s an undated photo looking out from the courtyard. It’s almost shocking how close that parking lot was:RMC courtyard with parking lot nd

As I was digging around I realized that I really had no idea whatsoever who the courtyard’s namesake, Robert H. Ray (’25), was. This proved to be the more difficult problem. There is very little about Mr. Ray in our files and not a single photograph. This is especially interesting since it turns out that he was a member of the Rice Board (serving at various times in the old system as Term Governor, Governor Advisor, and Trustee) for almost twenty years, from 1949 to 1968. I can only conclude that he was a quiet sort who didn’t much like to have his picture taken. This is frankly refreshing and I think it’s borne out in this short memorial piece that I found in The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, which describes a loyal, deeply intelligent and hardworking man. Take a look at it — it’s both short and well written:

(And a note for future reference: Ray’s lifelong friend and business partner Jack Pollard also served on the Rice board.)

The only other thing I could find was his graduation picture from the Campanile:

Robert Hillyer Ray 25

Bonus: After I wrote this I realized that we actually do have some pictures of him in the Woodson. He’s third from the left in the front row.

Robert Hillyer Ray football.

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6 Responses to The Robert H. Ray Memorial Courtyard

  1. It is a little weird that I was pretty sure that the Robert H. Ray courtyard was the RMC courtyard. Of course, I went through there thousands of times, working at The Thresher, KTRU, and Willy’s.

  2. And that is where I proposed to Linda!

  3. I’ve always loved this part of the Rice campus, and I was married under the tree that grows next to the stone with the dedication plaque.

  4. Pingback: A Surprising Picture of the RMC, early ’60s | Rice History Corner

  5. Pingback: The Jack C. Pollard Courtyard | Rice History Corner

  6. Pingback: Back of Their Heads, no date | Rice History Corner

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