One of the things we do a poor job of at Rice is keeping track of memorials, of the things that are named in honor or in memory of our people. The saddest example of this I’ve ever come across is here, along the cloister of the RMC:
See those small rectangles just about eye level on alternating columns? Those are memorial plaques. I first noticed them over ten years ago. Who do they honor? Well, a couple of them have family names that I recognize–Chavanne and Hess, names that mean a lot in the history of Rice–but I could not learn anything about the particular individuals named. The rest–I had no idea, not one clue. I looked for an answer every place that might make sense and then I looked in places that didn’t make sense at all. In the end I found nothing. This has troubled me every time I walked past.
And then suddenly there they were–the donation forms that the families filled out when the RMC was being built were buried deep in boxes full of old Alumi Association records. Why there? Who knows. You’d think this would make me happy but it didn’t, at least not yet.
Here are two–they are, not surprisingly, sad. The plaques themselves are not in the best shape but still readable:
I need time to do some research and then I’ll have more.