“a dyed-in-the-wool Rice man,” 1941

Here’s one that just straight blew my mind. George R. Brown was one of the most pivotal figures in the development of the modern Rice University and a dominating presence on the Rice board for over twenty five years. His name is all over campus, from the School of Engineering to the tennis center that was recently built over by the football stadium. The idea that someone once needed to write a letter recommending him as a candidate for trustee had simply never occurred to me, but even George Brown didn’t start out as George Brown:

Thomas letter George Brown 1943

The writer, of course, was his freshman year roommate, Congressman Albert Thomas, and he was correct about all of it.

(Yes, I neglected to scan the second page. All that’s there is the closing and I was in a hurry. Sorry!)

Bonus: Albert Thomas as an upperclassman instructing a new freshman in campus tradition, c1920. His good judgment may have taken a while to develop.

Albert Thomas administering

Extra Bonus:


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3 Responses to “a dyed-in-the-wool Rice man,” 1941

  1. Bill Peebles, Hanszen '70 says:

    Who would you consider more influential in the history of Houston: George R. Brown or Jesse Jones?

    • Melissa Kean says:

      I don’t think I can answer that! They’re pretty comparable. They overlapped somewhat but I think of them as belonging essentially to different eras and each was just hugely important in his own time.

  2. Matt Barnett says:

    Ah, the Jones pillars. Next time you see me ask me about them and I can tell you the tale of their role in the origins of the Jones tradition “Freshman Sacrifice.”

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