I Can’t Explain This, 1962

This unusual shot of President Pitzer is dated April, 1962 but I can’t find anything in the Thresher to explain it and from the little we can see it’s a pretty odd setup. Some kind of public relations film maybe? If so, I bet he felt goofy standing there by himself in full regalia.

Pitzer with cameras printed April 62 but nd

Bonus: Bottle brush shrubs around campus. First, there are a number small ones in the north courtyard of the Shepherd School. If I recall correctly this is called the Winterman courtyard.


And next, a really large and beautiful one over by Facilities. There were bees all around it when I took this.


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12 Responses to I Can’t Explain This, 1962

  1. Keith Cooper says:

    Rice’ smallest ever Commencement?

  2. almadenmike says:

    I wonder if there might be a closeup of Dr. Pitzer that matches this photo in “The Golden Years,” a film created for the Rice’s 1962 semicentennial?

    An article on the front page of the Feb. 2, 1962 Thresher (https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/50238) said filming started with the June 1961 commencement and ran throughout the next school year, which “allowed covering major activities which take place during the academic year. The movie is designed to cover all phases of life at Rice now and will recreate events of historical significance dealing with the University.”

    A review of the film’s Homecoming “premiere” appeared on page 3 of the Oct. 17, 1962, Thresher (https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/50343). But there was also mention on page 7 of the May 11, 1962, Thresher that it would be shown in conjunction with that Spring;s Commencement festivities (https://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/66327/thr19620511.pdf?sequence=1)..

  3. marmer01 says:

    I think Mike is onto something. I’ll bet that this was a retake of the commencement address or President Pitzer’s remarks which was inserted into the commencement footage of the film.

  4. almadenmike says:

    Indeed it was.

    The entire film (32:24 duration) can be viewed online (http://edtech.rice.edu/www/?option=com_iwebcast&action=details&event=736). I watched it this morning, and near the end (30:57 – 31:22) Dr. Pitzer is seen speaking from in front of Lovett Hall. He said, In part, “The future will be Golden Years, too.”

  5. almadenmike says:

    Other highlights (for me) from the film:

    2:10 – View of a packed Rice Stadium … but a spectator is waving an orange pennant. Grrr.
    10:25 – Bud Rorschach in a physics lab
    10:38 – Kathleen Drew teaching
    10:55 – Squirming armadillo
    11:30 – Paul Pfeiffer in a meeting
    12:30 – Dr. Tsanoff, smiling broadly
    12:42 – Dr. Hubert Bray helping a student
    14:40 – R.B. Turner in chem lab
    15:00 – Jerry Phillips at the Bonner Lab
    15:15 – Riki Kobayashi
    15:35 – Franz Brotzen & Alan Chapman
    22:55 – Niels Nielsen
    24:16 – Frank Vandiver giving a talk on the Civil War
    24:35 – Rice Football!
    29:08 – Holmes McNeely directing a Rice Band practice in the RMC basement.

    The beginning and ending music is a beautifully played version of “Rice’s Honor” … but it’s so slow it seems like a languid dirge.

    Signs of the time throughout the movie: people smoking, coeds wearing Bobby socks, men wearing ties, embarrassingly short-length gym shorts.

  6. almadenmike says:

    A 25:00, the narrator mentions that two Rice football players had gone on to get their PhDs. I know about former quarterback, Dr. Frank Ryan (math). Who was the other one?

    • vkbenson says:

      I believe that would be Richard Chapman (BA ’54, MA ’55, PhD ’57, Physics) who went on to a distinguished career at Texas Instruments. He was on the ’54 Cotton Bowl team and can be seen (no. 78) in the famous film of the Maegle tackle by Tommy Lewis.

      • vkbenson says:

        P.S. Since the ’62 film was made, there has been at least one more football-playing PhD – Robert Johnston (BA ’62, BS ’63, MA ’66 Oxford, PhD ’73 Columbia). I believe Robert was also a Rhodes Scholar.

        • almadenmike says:

          Thanks, vkbenson!

          Also getting his PhD since the film was made was the late Dick Lagow (http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2010-2011/memorials/lagow.html) , a chemist for whom I worked for as an undergraduate … fluorinating all sorts of stuff — like turning polyethylene bottles into Teflon-coated bottles — using a clever process he and John Margrave had developed.

          (When he was ~35 or so, I believe he petitioned the NCAA to reinstate a final year of eligibility so he could try out for the team again. As his obituary said, “Dick Lagow had a larger than life character and was a truly unique individual.”

        • Galloway Hudson '60 says:

          Robert was indeed a Rhodes Scholar, as evidenced by his degrees from Oxford (two). His phenomenal life and career are well described on the page for the 1962 Bob Quinn Award. It does contain one error. It says he was a junior on the 1961 football team that went to the Sugar Bowl. That was actually the 1960 team. I was still at Rice, working on my B. S. in M. E. Also, I dispute the statement saying that team was the high point of Rice football. They were 5-2 in the SWC. After they had received a Sugar Bowl bid, they fooled around and let Baylor beat them in the final game of the regular season. I saw that game in Waco, and later, the game in New Orleans. The 1949, 1953, and 1957 teams were arguably as good or better.

  7. Carolyn Brewer says:

    Larry Whitmire was another football star (same class/team as Frank Ryan) who went on to get his PhD.

  8. Kathy says:

    Great photo of the bottle brush and Campanile!

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