And Who Could Blame Her?

It’s really hot out there and she’d certainly done more than her fair share.

Bonus: It’s almost shocking how quickly the campus becomes a wholly different place after commencement. The wreath is still up on Willy’s tomb, though. Tiny detail–can anyone tell me what kind of wreath it is? It looks to me like the stuff they add to rose bouquets.

Extra Bonus: Loyal reader and Friends of Fondren board member Jeff Ross ’75 correctly identified Friday’s mystery grad as Mary Lowery ’88, the Friends’ Executive Director. She graduated again this weekend with a master’s in Non-Profit Administration from LSU-Shreveport.

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“Thanks Mom and Dad,” 1988

Rain or shine, Mom and Dad deserve our thanks.

Look closely at the happy young woman, a colleague of mine at Fondren. Many of you know her! Ten points for the first correct identification.

Bonus: Commencement cleanup, 1927 and today. The only fundamental change in the task is the power source.

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Rain, 2019

It’s not looking good for commencement in the quad this Saturday. I’m out of town at a board meeting and the rain is predicted to be so bad that I’m frankly a little worried about getting home. Unfortunately Rice has had the same inclement weather plan since 1950–the gym:



Before the gym was built, though, a much prettier setting was in use and there were few enough attendees that they got reserved seats:

It didn’t rain in 1932 when that ticket was issued but it poured buckets in 1934, which may have been the last time we held a regular commencement across the street at St. Paul’s Methodist:

All I can say to the graduates, their families, and the blessed marshals is a hale and hearty “Good Luck!”

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What do you get when you leave Rice after 50 years?

You get an awesome cake with your face on it, that’s what!

In addition, Bart Sinclair ’73 ’74 ’79 receives the respect, affection, and trust of hundreds of colleagues he’s interacted with over those years. As a student, faculty member, and associate dean of the school of engineering he has done his best for the university thoughtfully, calmly, reliably, respectfully, and always with honor. He will be sorely missed.

An unknown photographer captured this beautiful image on a rare snowy morning in the early 1970s. It’s one of my two or three favorites–Bart and one of his classmates, hidden by umbrellas, about to cross the  empty quad after a 7:00 am class taught by Joel Cyprus ’59 ’61 ’63:

I’d long intended to use this picture as my final blog post, never imagining that Bart would leave before I did.

Bonus: Bart (left) and Chief Marshall Keith Cooper (center) attempting to keep the dignitaries under control at the Centennial Celebration in October, 2012/

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Not Today

Like Rice football Coach Ray Alborn I can’t even look, let alone try to explain what went wrong:

Nothing serious but I’m going to just have a glass of wine with dinner and start over in the morning.

Bonus: These cheer me up. They’re part of the commencement crowd control scheme but they make me think of Munchkinland in the Wizard of Oz.


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“The policemen like to be paid in cash,” 1952

It isn’t every day that you find this much trivia, and so much of it so amusing, condensed in such a short document. I think English professor J.D. Thomas had just been made chief marshal and was trying to figure out what exactly the job entailed. This memo is the report of Guy McBride, the Dean of Men, on his part in organizing the chaos of the 1952 commencement ceremony recently completed. I hardly know were to start with this one:


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History Department Follies, no date

As soon as I saw this I laughed too:

Harold Hyman and Frank Vandiver, both genuinely amused. It lifted my spirits.

Bonus: As several readers indicated, yesterday’s pole vaulter was Fred Hansen ’63 who confirmed it himself. Also, I got the sequence correct and he says he was still learning how to use the then-new fiberglass poles.


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