Tommy’s Last Day, 2022

This was probably inevitable:

My colleague and comrade in arms Tommy Lavergne did some amazing work over more than three decades as Rice Campus Photographer. A decent chunk of it (but far from all) is collected in 48 boxes in the Woodson. There’s other stuff of his scattered around the archives as well and who knows how much work in digital form. Take a look and check out the crazy variety of things he (and his colleague Jeff Fitlow) took pictures of over the years:

This collection arrived all at once, by the way, and in what is no doubt a shock to all of you, piled in boxes with no apparent organizing principle. I learned a tremendous amount in the process of figuring it all out and I use the collection at least once a week. It’s incredibly valuable as a portrait of the institution and its inhabitants as they evolved over the years. I’m deeply grateful for his work.

I’m also deeply grateful I got to hang around with him. He knows how to tell a story and  he was frequently in rooms where something very interesting was happening but no one was paying attention to him. You learn a lot that way. Also important–if he ever took a bad picture of me, he never let anyone see it.

Godspeed, my friend. Don’t be a stranger!

Bonus: He brought over one more small box before he left.

Here’s part of what was inside: pictures of Rice’s Louisiana timber land, the announcement of the formation of the Baker Institute, Nobel prize images, Malcolm Gillis in his office, campus architecture, centennial projects, and indeterminate negatives. I’m looking forward to this.

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4 Responses to Tommy’s Last Day, 2022

  1. Michael L Schwartz says:

    Very interesting!
    I suspect that Jade Boyd also has some good stories he could tell.
    (Well … maybe he has *permission* to tell … “SOME” of them …)

    I have exchanged a few emails with Boyd … mainly a double-digit number of years ago; … e.g., one “thread” or “exchange” was Aug 27, 2010; and … it was about a topic that — admittedly — was kinda unrelated to Rice.

  2. Joe O. Arevalo says:

    Tommy might not remember me but he was a plus to my life. We met 1990 there about, at the time I was just starting at Rice as a Cabinetmaker at F&E so I was looking for friends. We met in the quad while I was working on the Economic Summit he came up and started talking to me and we became friends!! I was at Rice 29 yrs. and he stayed my friend, I’ve been to his home and the respect he ALWAYS showed ME was beyond measure! This man would meet and photograph Presidents but he would spend time with me! In TEXAS we say,” Muy Hombre “ Tommy….. I REMEMBER

  3. Tommy LaVergne says:

    Thank you, Melissa! I’m extremely honored and humbled that you recognized me on your blog! My time at Rice has been very surreal now that I’ve had some time to reflect. My apologies for my unorganized method (or lack there of) for archiving. I know you’ll put your magic touch on it all.

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