Admiral Burke, 1957

I was looking through some images I scanned quite a while ago but never used and this one jumped right out at me. First off, that’s George Brown in the background, between the two cars at left. It isn’t every day you see someone being saluted while GRB is off to the side. Second, do you see where this is? It’s the front of the gym, with absolutely nothing–nothing at all–across the road. That’s really empty:

Then I started to think about who these guys were. It turns out to be a visit in February, 1957 from Admiral Arleigh Burke (see here), who was then Chief of Naval Operations. I’m wondering if those doing the saluting might be members of the Rice NROTC. They certainly look young enough.

Here’s another shot, this one of Burke visiting in Lovett Hall with Mr. Brown and then-provost Carey Croneis (I’d guess that President Houston must have been out of town):

A quick check of the Thresher reveals the reasons for Burke’s visit. I’ll give you all of both pages just for a taste of life at Rice in the eventful spring of 1957:

Bonus: Speaking as someone who has pushed and pulled heavily laden carts all over campus I can say that this new ramp into Rayzor Hall will be a boon to anyone or anything on wheels.


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10 Responses to Admiral Burke, 1957

  1. Bob. Swanson says:

    “Rice seal Appears on Dogs” – great headline

  2. Bill Johnson '57 - '58. says:

    So is it any wonder that a graduate of ’57 wonders where al he buildings came from. The campus used to be much less built up.

  3. Lynne Hsu Xavier (WRC '88) says:

    “Juniors Startled by College System” was an interesting article. Apparently the college system was not universally liked during its initiation. And the Salk polio vaccine was just starting to be distributed. This was a meaty issue of the Thresher!

    • WILLIAM A COOKE says:

      If any of those Juniors from 1957 could go “back to the future” and see what Rice of 2020 looks like, they would be astounded and would think they were on another planet.

  4. William says:


    Even this ’83 grad is startled by the number of new buildings and the lack of open space on campus.


  5. Carolyn Brewer says:

    Melissa: As a Junior from 1957 it is not a stretch to say we are on another planet. The Thresher you show us is fun to see, including people mentioned in articles & comments on College System. Great memories from that time !!

  6. marmer01 says:

    Almost certainly ROTC. Note the Marine officer and the Marine enlisted man (possibly driver.). That is the Winter Blue uniform, which was newly established. (You will see Tom Hanks wearing that in _Greyhound_ but I really don’t think it is correct for WWII era.). Admiral Burke’s chief of staff is a naval aviator with the Distinguished Flying Cross.

  7. marmer01 says:

    Actually, now that I read the article, it’s probably the CO and XO of the NROTC unit. Those are the proper ranks for those two officers. Beautiful 1957 Imperial with the four-star flag mounted on the fender trim. This was when Imperial was a separate make from Chrysler, as Continental was separate from Lincoln at this time.

  8. Ron Ladd says:

    These are NROTC midshipment, wearing the ceremonial uniforms worn by the NROTC Drill Team for Drill Team competitions and special occasions, instead of the Winter Blue uniform. The Winter Blue uniform did not have the white gloves (black were optional on cold days), had a black belt vice a white belt, and did not have the gaiters covering the lower trousers and upper shoes. (For a lot more detail on these uniforms, see the comment to this post related to a picture of the NROTC Drill Team in a parade. )
    The Marine office and the enlisted man are almost certainly the NROTC unit Marine instructor, who taught the classes in their last 2 years for the midshipmen who were going Marine Option after graduation, and the Marine sargent, who taught basic marching and drill instruction. These two Marines were heavily involved in the drill team, since they were much more experienced with military drill than their Navy counterparts on the NROTC staff. I expect that this is an honor guard for the arrival of Admiral Burke, using the Drill Team members who would be the most proficient at executing the appropriate military honors of the Admiral’s arrival and not make any embarrassing mistakes.
    I concur that the Captain and Commander following the Admiral are certainly the NROTC unit CO and XO, who would be escorting the Admiral to the various events, since they would know the campus and the school officials the Admiral met and also where he needed to go in each of the buildings.

  9. Richard Miller, BA 1975, MEE 1976 says:

    Read the article and it repeats the misconception that ’31 knot Burke’ was an accolade.. The 31-knot comment was actually a minor poke at then CAPT Burke. (Because of a boiler issue with one of his destroyers he had to reduce his speed in the attack to 31 knots instead of the top speed of around 35 knots)

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