I don’t think I can come up with a comprehensive list of everything Kent Anderson ’62 contributed to Rice. I started, then gave up. As a student he was all over the place: the debate team, the German Club, the baseball team, the Rally Club, the Thresher staff. He was a Hanszen guy, back when they still styled themselves the “Hanszen Gentlemen.” In the fall of 1961, as a senior he advised a group of new freshmen in the college, including young Mr. Jim Crownover, who later chaired Rice’s Board of Trustees. What Jim says about him reflects my own experience: “Kent’s quiet demeanor, caring attitude and wonderful sense of humor gave real meaning to me at Rice and all the way through to our work together on the Rice Board of Trustees.”
Over his lifetime Kent served Rice with devotion. As a member of the board from 1986 he led several important committees, chaired the presidential search that brought Malcolm Gillis to Rice, raised money and generously gave it himself for everything from athletics to the Shepherd School to most recently Continuing Studies’ Anderson-Clarke Building. He did everything he was ever asked to do for Rice, and he did it quietly, calmly, and thoughtfully. Although he saw his fair share of campus controversy he invariably showed respect for other people and their opinions even when he didn’t share them.
And here’s a telling thing: although he was at the center of decision-making here for many years, it’s almost impossible to find a decent photograph of him at Rice. He left the podium to others and can usually be found in the background or off to the side as ground was broken or ribbons were cut. Aside from a single bland headshot they must have made him sit for when he joined the board I’ve only ever found one good picture of him. It’s a beauty, though–Kent beaming with Coach Graham and his friend and colleague on the board, Bucky Allshouse:
Kent Anderson, Rest in Peace.