I mentioned yesterday that Ed Dupree was the first student to enroll in the Institute. What also bears mentioning is that the first woman to enroll at Rice was his classmate, Hattie Lel Red. The distinction of being first was recognized in photos taken at the 1916 commencement ceremonies:
Left to right are English Professor Stockton Axson, mathematician Griffith Evans, Dupree, Dr. Lovett and finally Hattie Lel Red. The diploma she holds in her left hand now hangs on the wall in the back room of the Woodson. Look closely and you’ll see that “with distinction” is written in President Lovett’s own hand:
It’s a small thing, I know, and from a very different time, but I still find it somehow moving.
Bonus: Here she is posing that same day with her friend and classmate, Ruth Robinson, who soon married Rice engineering professor J.H. Pound. Both taught for many years in the Houston public schools, Miss Red at Lamar and Mrs. Pound at Lanier.