As long as I’m digging around in my Houston stuff I may as well share one last small thing that I think reveals quite a lot about his character. It’s a thank you note, sent to the couple who were then responsible for what we call today Housing and Dining. In December of 1953 Rice had hosted a major conference on low temperature physics. The attendees stayed in the dorms and ate in the Commons. After its successful conclusion Houston sent this letter:
In all honesty I see a fair amount of bad things in the archives so when I come across such a simple, forthright, and generous expression of respect and appreciation, especially coming from the president to people pretty far down the chain of command, I feel a deep sense of gratitude.
Bonus: The first Thresher of the semester carried an article about the conference, which seems to have been rather a big deal.
This of course immediately brought to mind a couple of posts from way back in 2012 about the spectacular Mrs. Frank Henderson and her gift to Rice of a helium cryostat for work in low temperature physics.
Well lo and behold, in the same issue of the Thresher I found this little notice:
Extra Bonus: I drove around campus this afternoon (too hot to go traipsing around) and stopped to take a few pictures. Just by chance I encountered this guy with his big happy grin, having his picture taken by his mama and his girlfriend:
He’s Braden Comeaux and he’s been our third baseman the last couple of years. They were having some fun for sure. The plan was to head to Reckling and hop a fence for some more shots. I’d just been over there myself and I’m pretty confident there’s a way in.
I was living in South Hall and we all appreciated a few days more for the regular Christmas Holidays for this meeting. All students had to vacate their dorm rooms as we understood they would be occupied by those attending the conference. I forgot that they all stayed in Weiss or North Hall. I wonder what some of the menus were that “Ma” Hardy served.
The delegates had to stay at Wiess? They probably wondered why there was a Motel 6 on campus.