Special Convocation, October 24, 1960

Ike reserved ticket


Ike program

Ike was here, right before the 1960 election. I know from correspondence in the Oveta Culp Hobby Papers that he was in Houston at her invitation and that she made the arrangements for him to speak at Rice. The internal arrangements are actually the most interesting thing about this event to me. There’s a memo from Acting President Carey Croneis that runs to 24 pages. Just for fun, here are a couple of pages, not in sequence, just chosen because I thought they were fun. I always enjoy air conditioning issues.

Ike Operations plan 1

Ike operations plan 2


This was a very big event and there are consequently quite a few pictures of it. Unfortunately, almost all of them are mediocre images. But, we get what we get:

Ike at Autry Court

Ike at autry crowd2


It turned out to be hot, by the way, and since they went without air conditioning in that packed gym I’m sure the gentlemen were all relieved when President Eisenhower told them they could remove their jackets.



Bonus: Unknown

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12 Responses to Special Convocation, October 24, 1960

  1. I remember seeing Ike’s motorcade going through downtown Houston near Foley’s that year. I was a kid, in my mom’s tow, and I don’t remember the date, but I remember it was 1960, so it may have been the same trip for Eisenhower; I doubt he made two trips to Houston in 1960. I usually found being dragged downtown to shop a barely suffer-able way to spend a day, but that day sticks in my mind. Ike was in a convertible, hatless (and hairless) and obviously enjoying himself. I don’t remember who else was in the car, and I doubt I would have recognized anyone else, but we all knew what Ike looked like. Its funny, but my memory of that day is black & white. Of course, it was a black car, and Ike was in a black suit, black tie, white shirt, but the background seems grey. Perhaps it was an overcast October day.

    I’m not surprised that Mrs. Hobby was involved in getting him to visit. A most amazing woman.

    • mjthannisch says:

      Interestingly enough, while most of our generation dreamed in black and white, most people born in the 70s and afterwards dream in colour. Many think that movies and TV affected how we dreamt, or at least how we remembered those dreams.

  2. Marty Merritt (Hanszen '84/85) says:

    Wasn’t the visit of some dignitary (Mikhail Gorbachev, Yasser Arafat, Kofi Annan, Dalai Lama?) the reason why Autry Court was eventually air conditioned in the 1990s? I thought it was like the last large assembly space in Houston that wasn’t.

  3. C Kelly says:

    That’s the same format used for old Rice football tickets. I didn’t realize they were printed in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Seems like most other SWC schools (and U of H) used the same format. I assume that means their tickets were printed in Fort Smith, too.

  4. Karl Benson says:

    I was there, and it was hot and packed. To date, Ike remains the only president I have seen in person – before, during or after his term. For some long-forgotten reason I missed the JFK visit a few years later.

  5. effegee says:

    I have tried for years, without success, to identify Eisenhower’s visit. I guess I’m not that good at googling.

    I remember watching the motorcade as an 8-yr old. In my mind (which is hampered doubly by my age then and my age now), this occurred near Bell Park on Montrose.

    Has any documentation on the route of the motorcade from downtown surfaced??

  6. almadenmike says:

    A front page article in the July 12, 1991, Thresher (http://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/68009/thr19910712.pdf?sequence=1) describes the effort, led by Joyce Hardy, to air-condition Autry Court. It mentions that Georgetown refused to play there because it was not air conditioned and that it was the last SWC basketball venue to be cooled … but it does not mention any dignitary visits as being a precipitating factor.

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