Pre-Thanksgiving Chapel Service, 1959

Three nights in a row! I wish I’d been able to hear the one entitled “Constructive Fanaticism.” I’m pretty dubious about that.

At first I mistakenly thought these were delivered by Rice biology professor Charles Philpott, but that immediately felt wrong. The answer, as usual, is found in the Thresher. (Surprise of the day: The Thresher had a Religion Editor.)

Note: I’m taking the rest of  the week off, although I do have something squirreled away for Thanksgiving Day.

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13 Responses to Pre-Thanksgiving Chapel Service, 1959

  1. William A Cooke, '75 says:

    Can’t quite understand why a young Hank Hudspeth would have been lecturing the men of Baker College about “Overpopulation,” but I bet he made it entertaining.

    • almadenmike says:

      The same issue of the Thresher that contained the article above on Dr. Philpott’s talks (Nov. 13, 1959), also included a short advance piece on Hudspeth’s (who had graduated from Rice 19 years earlier, BTW) with this prospective summary:

      “Problems Many

      “As background Mr. Hudspeth will point out that from the beginning of mankind to the birth of Christ, the world population remained at about one-half billion people. By the Seventeenth Century, the world population had increased to three-fourths billion people. Today the world population has jumped to 2.8 billion people, and the outlook for the future, in our time, is a world population of possibly five billion.

      “How To Solve

      “This tremendous increase in population produces problems, namely, natural resources. Countries relatively underdeveloped in natural resources and industry are reproducing not only at the same rate as before, but at a faster rate than the more advanced countries. Thus, shortages in food supply and other natural resources are expected to occur, unless something can be done to increase the world output in order to feed posterity.

      “Mr. Hudspeth will discuss possible means of attempting to solve the problems.”


  2. almadenmike says:

    We can all read it here … … a link to a pdf of the ditto-copied text of his “Sermon preached in the Duke University Chapel” a month earlier (Oct. 19, 1959): “CONSTRUCTIVE FANATICISM (Scripture Lesson: Ecclesiastes 7:11-22)”

  3. Keith Cooper says:

    The last item puzzles me. “Shepherd School of Music” in 1959?

    • almadenmike says:

      The lead article in the Winter/Spring 2007 issue of the Rice Historical Society’s publication, The Cornerstone — “Benjamin, Sallie, and the Shepherd School of Music” — will solve this puzzle (

      The school’s origin is due to the “munificence of the Shepherd family” and the desire of Sallie Shepherd Perkins, a piano studies graduate of Hollins College in Virginia, to honor her grandfather, Benjamin A. Shepherd. The initial $350,000 gift of Sallie Shepherd Perkins and her husband, Malcolm W. Perkins, was made on December 2, 1950.

      “It was clear from the start that the moneys would not be sufficient to initiate the new school of music for some time. Mrs. Perkins added to the gift throughout her lifetime until it totaled a little over $1 million. But only upon her death in 1968 and her bequest of $4.5 million would it be possible to plan seriously for the Shepherd School.There were, however, lectures presented by the Shepherd Foundation (which was also specified in the early documents) during these early years … as well as concerts by local chamber music groups and outside artists. Professor Arthur S. Hall, a composer and leader of the musical activities at Christ Church Cathedral, was brought to Rice in 1953 to oversee the development of what was then the Department of Music, offering some courses in music history and theory and establishing two glee clubs—one for men and one for women.”

  4. marmer01 says:

    Yes, I meant to mention that. Campus-sponsored music activities were under the aegis of the Shepherd School of Music for many years. In 1974 the faculty and course offerings were greatly expanded and the major in Music was created.

  5. Bill Harris says:

    When I was accepted at Rice, I told my orthodontist, among others. I grew up on the East Coast and was used to people not knowing about Rice — or Oats or Barley, as my fellow high school students would say.

    My orthodontist knew Rice, though. As I recall, he said he had a cousin in North Carolina, Sallie Shepherd Perkins, who had donated a lot of money to Rice for a music school. He said she had specified that the music building be built in the Georgian style. Needless to say, that didn’t quite fit the rest of the campus. According to him, Rice was waiting until she passed away so that they could go to court and break the will or the bequest before starting work.

    In the intervening years, I’ve never heard that part of the story mentioned. Does anyone have any data to confirm or disconfirm the idea that this happened?

  6. marmer01 says:

    They didn’t break the will, but there was only enough money to hire a faculty and start admitting students. The decision was made to start building the school and its reputation first and the building, while sorely needed, would come later. The thought was that once the school was well established, fund raising for a building would be much more effective, and that turned out to be true.

  7. Bill Harris says:

    Perhaps my orthodontist had read of Rice’s famous breaking of a will and jumped to an unwarranted conclusion.

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