Hally Beth Walker Poindexter, 1927-2016

Halley Beth smiling 1983 047

I was deeply saddened to learn last night of the passing of Hally Beth Poindexter. This is truly news that I hate to hear.

Hally Beth arrived at Rice in the fall of 1944 and she immediately became a busy young woman. She was on the Campanile staff, in the Canterbury Club, and served as Business Manager of first the Owl Magazine and then the RI Magazine. She was also a member of the Owen Wister Literary Society, an association that she treasured all her life.

Here she is with her OWLS pledge class in 1945. Can you see her? I spotted her right away—she’s fourth from the right, standing just at the spot where the dark and light meet—because that smile was always just the same:

Halley Beth OWLS pledges 1945 048

I spent part of this afternoon quite confused because I couldn’t understand how she was in this pledge class in 1945 but graduated in 1947. A quick trip to the Registrar cleared it up: by attending classes year round with the Navy V-12 guys she managed to graduate in the spring of 1947, 19 years old and already married.

After several years of further education, interrupted by a temporary return to campus in the 1950s, Hally Beth came back to Rice for good in 1965:

Hally Beth 2

There is no way to say how much she meant to this university. If you tried to make me say what was the most important thing she did for us I couldn’t. She had a legendary career in her field, chaired Kinesiology for two decades, ran intramurals, and was instrumental in the establishment of intercollegiate women’s athletics at Rice. She served with integrity and tenacity on a series of commissions in the ’80s and ’90s on the climate for women on campus and gave her time on countless other boards and committees. Always, she spoke her mind plainly, she handled disagreements without rancor, and she worked to make her beloved Rice better. In so doing she earned the respect and trust of everyone who encountered her. I will miss her and especially miss her counsel.

Hally Beth Walker Poindexter, rest in peace.

Women's athletics Hallie Beth 1951

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6 Responses to Hally Beth Walker Poindexter, 1927-2016

  1. Keith Cooper says:

    Halley Beth also played a large role in Commencement over the years. We will miss her.

  2. Vicki Whamond Bretthauer says:

    From the time she walked on to campus until she left us, she always gave Rie her best!

  3. Lou Ann Montana says:

    I was at Rice in the late seventies, when Title IX was just starting to kick in. As a self-avowed feminist, a member of Jones College and quite the “gym rat”, I saw Dr. Poindexter often and she was an inspiration! Thank you for the lovely tribute, Melissa. She will be greatly missed.

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