GILBERT CASILLAS ’93
Financial Consultant, Wells Fargo Bank
BA 1993, Rice University
MBA 2003, Stanford University
ARA Board term ends: 2018
Gilbert graduated from Rice with a B.A. degree in managerial studies and psychology in 1993. He served as the Chief Justice at Sid Richardson College, and is honored to have received the Joan Whitney Service Award while at Richardson College. He competed in public speaking tournaments with the George R. Brown Speech and Debate Team, and also occasionally joined other more recreational campus groups such as Rally Club and Baker 13.
Upon graduation, Gilbert left Texas to join Salomon Brothers in New York in the Latin American emerging markets team, eventually focusing on energy and utility companies across the region. While there, he interviewed and recruited high school seniors applying for admission to Rice from the New York area.
Since moving to California and graduating with an M.B.A. degree from Stanford, Gilbert has been more actively promoting Rice on the West Coast by planning Student Send-Off Parties, speaker events, fundraising, and welcoming parties for new graduates to the San Francisco Bay Area. He especially looks forward to bringing back the summer picnic this year where Bay Area alumni gather for an afternoon to reconnect and also to send the new group of matriculating Rice students on to Houston.
What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?
When I graduated from Rice, I left Texas, moved to the East Coast and later moved to the West Coast where I live now. Joining the Association of Rice Alumni (ARA) Board has been a wonderful way to get back to Rice, literally and figuratively.
The ARA Board does some important work, which has two pieces that need to come together to be successful. First, we advocate within the campus community for the alumni population, representing the voice of alumni interests as Rice continually evolves to maintain its position as a great and competitive research university. Second, we reach out to alumni and promote the many reasons why they benefit from staying in touch with Rice in their own meaningful way after graduation.
Alongside the work we do on the board, there is a spirit of social camaraderie and teamwork among members that I appreciate very much. Serving on the ARA Board has been an opportunity to come back to campus and experience again what makes the Rice community special.
What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?
The residential colleges are a distinctive part of the Rice undergraduate experience. As a high school senior, I went to campus for the first time for my application interview at Lovett Hall. I was welcomed by hosts at Jones College later for that weekend and realized then that Rice would become a fun college experience, if only I could somehow manage to get admitted. As a student at Sid Richardson College, I was encouraged and challenged in many ways. The masters at Sid at the time, Jimmy Disch and then Gordon and Susan Wittenberg, gave so much of their energy and dedication and were fantastic, as was Joan Whitney, the college secretary.
If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?
One of my favorite inspirational spots on campus is the Sallyport. Look up at the corners of the archway and you will see the four student faces, from the wide-grinning freshman to the senior with the graduation cap and tassel. May you keep your character, and I hope your sense of humor also, as you become more thoughtful and focused, too.