It was’t until I walked through this gathering last spring that I realized the courtyard in front of Duncan Hall has a name. Click to zoom in and you can see it’s the Pollard Courtyard, named for Jack Pollard ’25 and his wife:
Jack Pollard graduated with a degree in electrical engineering back before engineering became a five-year degree. He originally thought he would go to work for GE but instead wound up working in geophysics at Humble Oil and became a member of the first refraction seismograph team in the United States.
He went on to a distinguished career in the field, first working for several major companies and then forming a successful and long-running partnership with his lifelong friend and Rice classmate (and fellow member of that first Humble seismographic team), Robert Ray ’25. Like Ray, Pollard served many years on the Rice Board of Governors and Board of Trustees. I love this picture of him holding what looks like the microphone of a tape recorder in his hand:
Robert Ray, of course, also has a courtyard at Rice named in his honor, the one behind the RMC. (Here’s what I wrote about him and the courtyard a few years ago.)
After I noticed the name of the Pollard courtyard I promptly forgot about it. What brought it suddenly back to mind was a photograph I came across the other day of all the Rice engineering students in 1924. If you look closely you can see Robert Ray just to the left of the middle, easy to spot because of his letter sweater. Pollard isn’t right next to him but he’s not far off, second to the right of Ray.
All is right with the world.
Bonus: I’m out of town for some meetings and when I stopped in at the local Half-Price Bookstore I was rather surprised to find this. I walked away but I’m thinking I’ll go back for it tomorrow.