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ARA Board of Directors

The Association of Rice Alumni is governed by a 28-member alumni board, which provides input regarding Alumni Relations operations and programs and serves in an advisory capacity to the Alumni Relations staff. Members of the ARA board represent the alumni body to the university and represent the ARA to its constituents—Rice alumni.

All Rice alumni are eligible to apply and be selected to serve on the alumni board. Board members serve a three-year term and must be committed to dedicating the time and energy necessary to make the ARA a success. Duties include attending triannual board meetings, serving on ARA committees, contributing to the Rice Annual Fund and providing overall support for ARA programs and activities. Applications are made in writing to the nominations committee; for more information, click on ARA Board Applications on the left menu.

Shannon T. Vale '77

President, ARA Board
Partner, Pirkey Barber PLLC
Austin, TX
BA 1977, Rice University
JD 1981, Southern Methodist University

Term as ARA President ends: 2017

Get to know Shannon
  • Executive Biography

    Shannon Vale currently serves as Association of Rice Alumni president and is a member of Sid Rich. He earned his BA in History and German Studies from Rice in 1977 and his JD in 1981 from Southern Methodist University. After 12 years as a partner in a large intellectual property law boutique and in a global law firm, Shannon has spent the past 7 years as a partner in Pirkey Barber PLLC, one of the nation’s leading firms devoted entirely to the practice of trademark and copyright law. Shannon is passionate about music, the outdoors, his family and of course Rice. Beginning in the late 1980s, he took a six-year break from life in large law firms to manage the careers of major-label recording artists based in the US and UK. His community involvement has included service on the City of Austin Music Commission and as president of the Austin Intellectual Property Law Association and Austin Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts; he also spent several years as the leader of a Venture Crew, a scouting program that helps high school and college students experience high adventure and wilderness activities.

    Shannon served as president of Austin Rice Alumni for four years, and is past president of the Rice Alliance for Technology & Entrepreneurship, Austin Chapter. He has interviewed prospective Rice students, represented Rice at college fairs, co-chaired the 35th Class Reunion Giving Committee and served as a founding member of Rice Attorneys in Austin.  He and his wife Jane have hosted and co-hosted send-off parties for incoming students from Austin and they were charter members of the Austin Rice Parents Committee.

    Shannon and Jane are the proud parents to two outstanding young men. Their oldest son Joshua graduated from Baylor University and works for that university’s Mayborn Museum. Their younger son Matthew (Martel ’14) just received his Masters in Systematic Theology from Notre Dame University; in 2015, Matthew married his wife Beata, a Fulbright Scholar from Salzburg, Austria and the niece of former Martel masters Beata Loch and Ted Temzelides.

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    I must admit that being allowed to peek behind the curtain and learn more about the complex operation of a national research university of Rice’s caliber has been fascinating, to say the least. It's been a privilege to get to know so many of the leaders who guide our university and to engage with them to share the perspectives of our alumni and parents. However, at the end of the day, the most rewarding experiences during my tenure on the ARA Board have been those moments when we genuinely feel that in some modest way we have helped the university maintain its unique qualities in today’s extremely challenging environment or have had a positive impact on the lives of members of the Rice community.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    As a new undergraduate, I took a course in Medieval Germanic Literature from the late Dr. Susan Clark, who was a gifted new professor in what was then known as the German department. Dr. Clark was as devoted to her students as she was to her formidable scholarship, and when I became inspired by some rather esoteric aspects of medieval Icelandic constitutional law (of all things) during our study of some of the great 13th century sagas, she inspired me to pursue that research and to make it the focus of my major paper for the course. She later told me she liked the paper so much that she wanted me to expand it and give a formal talk on my topic during a medieval symposium that Rice would be hosting in a few months. The other speakers at this symposium were all professors and Ph.D candidates from universities throughout the country who were experts in their fields (with the exception of one upperclassman from Rice), so I was fairly unnerved by the prospect of appearing on the program. However, supreme mentor that she was, Dr. Clark had faith in me and helped me rise to the challenge, which proved to be the most satisfying and exciting intellectual experience of my life up to that time. 

    My career as an intellectual property lawyer has benefitted greatly from the fact that I have given a relatively large number of talks at professional conferences over the years, a pattern that began within months after my graduation from law school. I have often felt that I might not have had the confidence to embrace the early invitations that launched me on my present path if Dr. Clark had not believed in me and convinced me that I could contribute to that otherwise distinguished symposium faculty despite my relative youth.  I’m not sure that many elite universities hosting a serious scholarly symposium would have given a student as green as I was such a remarkable and life-changing opportunity. Appropriately, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life came many years later when I was a young lawyer in a large law firm and Dr. Clark asked me to submit a letter of support as she was being considered for tenure. Candidly, it was an utterly intimidating process, since the theme of my letter was that Dr. Clark had changed the trajectory of my life by, among other things, being one of the two Rice professors (along with my dear friend Terry Doody in the English department) who truly taught me how to write. She did in fact secure tenure that year, so I was relieved that her chances were not torpedoed by any shortcomings of a certain letter from a former student who brazenly claimed that she had helped mold him into a writer of some competence.  

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Well, being a lawyer, I naturally have three pieces of advice: (a) Treasure the unique social and academic adventure of being a student at Rice, but be encouraged by an awareness that life can be even more fulfilling and intellectually exciting after graduation. (b) Realize that the number of ways you can achieve a fascinating and satisfying life and career is truly phenomenal, and the options are much more diverse than you can possibly imagine; consequently, if you’re having a hard time picturing yourself in one of the careers or life choices you currently have in mind, take solace in the notion that you may find a wonderful niche that you don’t even know about yet — or that doesn’t even exist yet. (c)  Relatively few accomplished people have what can fairly be described as a single career reflecting a linear or even a coherent path. Instead, many pursue a series of careers or episodes in which some segments seem rationally related and others not so much. 

    Over time, those elements can blend into a pattern that is truly unique to you and that bring you to a point you could not have plotted out as an undergraduate. I certainly would never have guessed that I could have found so much satisfaction in the field of international intellectual property law. When I was 22, I didn’t realize that my field was even a “thing.”  So work diligently but don’t stress yourself out by falling into the oppressive trap of fearing that your first career after college or graduate school must bear the burden of satisfying you for an entire lifetime — chances are, you may find yourself doing something completely unexpected after a few years.   

Sue Oldham '90

Past President, ARA Board
Executive Director, Recruiting and Admissions, Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University
Houston, TX
BA 1990, Rice University
MBA 1993, Vanderbilt University
Term as ARA Past President ends: 2016

Get to know Sue
  • Executive Biography

    Sue Kim Oldham earned a BA in English at Rice University and an MBA in Marketing from Vanderbilt University.  In her job at the Jones Graduate School, Ms. Oldham’s focus is the Rice MBA for Professionals and MBA for Executives programs and includes managing admissions and recruiting activities for the two part-time MBA programs.

    Prior to her job at Rice, Ms. Oldham had a 10 year career in information technology consulting spanning several companies and cities from Los Angeles to Charlotte to Dallas.  

    As an alumna, she has been a RAVA member for 18 years representing the university at college fairs and interviewing students when she lived outside of Texas. She and her husband Ted ’90 (Rice Engineering Alumni President) are involved with Rice through various organizations including: ARA Board, Annual Fund Chairs, Homecoming Chairs, 20th Reunion Planning Committee, ARA Nominating Committee, Staff Advisory Committee, RiceFest Chair.

    Her community involvement is extensive as she continues to be very involved with leadership positions at her church, children’s school, and neighborhood.  Sue currently serves on the board of directors for Camp Cho-Yeh and the Houston Arboretum.

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    I love the camaraderie across class years. That has proven to be most valuable, most rewarding and most representative of what Rice was and continues to be: a safe place to be surrounded by really interesting people from all backgrounds and walks of life. I love getting to know the “young kids” and the “seasoned veterans.” This interaction is truly a priceless gift of being a part of this board.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    Only at Rice would you have college masters who open up their home on the weekends to feed us on Sunday evenings.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Remember that it’s not about you — people have come before you and have paved the path and created the community that you all are a part of. You have to pay it forward. You have to give back to Rice. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s also what Rice is all about.

Matt Haynie '03

President-elect, ARA Board
Senior Counsel for the American Petroleum Institute
Washington, DC
BA 2003, Rice University
MLitt 2005, University of St. Andrews
JD 2008, George Washington University

Term as ARA President-elect ends: 2019

Get to know Matt
  • Executive Biography

    As a student at Rice, Matt Haynie was Student Association president and received both the Rice Outstanding Senior Award and Will Rice’s Gilbert Cuthbertson Service Award. After earning a B.A. in 2003, he was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he earned a Master of Letters in Shakespeare Studies. In 2008, Matt earned a J.D. from The George Washington University, where he was awarded the GW Alumni Association Prize.

    Matt's alumni volunteer work has included serving on the Washington, D.C., alumni planning committee, through which he has helped coordinate numerous events. He also interviews prospective students for Rice Alumni Volunteers for Admission, co-chaired his 5- and 10-year reunion giving committees, served on the Rice Centennial Commission, and was an ARA Board member. He currently serves on the Rice Annual Fund Steering Committee and Rice's Initiative for Students Commission.

    Matt is senior counsel for the American Petroleum Institute, where he provides legal advice on a variety of oil and gas industry issues. Before joining API, Matt was an attorney at an international law firm in D.C. and served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Clayton Greene Jr. on the highest state court in Maryland.

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    I could point to so many different things, but most rewarding for me has been our work to make sure that current Rice students are ready to be engaged Rice alumni. We have a lot more to do, but we've made huge progress in showing students that their involvement as alumni is critical to a strong Rice network. We've helped the Student Association set up their Future Alumni Committee, built and refined the annual Ring Celebration, and worked with the university on the new Sallyportal networking portal. I feel confident that this work is going to pay big dividends for the entire Rice community.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    I always think of college theatre as being "Only at Rice." I have so many great memories that I can't point to just one favorite. I was involved with shows all over campus, from the Baker commons to game rooms, dining rooms and basements. I had the chance to perform with a few people who went on to be professional actors, but more often with future engineers, scientists and doctors. As a director, I got to manage a staff, work with a budget and coordinate with college government. College theatre is a great example of how many chances Rice students have to try new things and learn leadership skills in surprising ways.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Take advantage of all the amazing opportunities that Rice gives you. You may never have so many chances to try things that you never thought you'd try, learn from some of the most brilliant people in the world and make a real difference through a wide variety of leadership roles. At the same time, don't forget to take time to relax and really enjoy living on a beautiful campus, in an exciting city, with some of the best friends you'll ever have. You'll be a Rice alum out in the real world soon, and Rice prepares you for when that day comes. In the meantime, enjoy the incredible experience of being a Rice student!

Jeff Abbott '85

ARA Board Executive Committee
Author
Austin, TX
BA 1985, Rice University

ARA Board term ends: 2019

 

Get to know Jeff
  • Executive Biography

    Jeff Abbott is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of eighteen mystery and suspense novels. His novels have been “summer reading picks” by The Today Show, Good Morning America, O the Oprah Magazine, and USA TODAY. His latest novel, The First Order, is the fifth in his series featuring Sam Capra, a former CIA agent who now owns bars around the world. His next novel, Blame, a suburban thriller about the aftermath of a mysterious accident on two families, will be published in March 2017 by Grand Central Publishing. Jeff is published in over twenty languages and has also been a bestseller in the UK, France, Germany, and other countries.

    He is currently adapting his novel Panic for television with The Weinstein Company; his novel Collision is also in film development, and his science-fiction short story “Human Intelligence” has been optioned for a television series.

    At Rice, he served on the student admissions council, as an orientation week coordinator at Sid Richardson, as an orientation advisor at Brown, as a Student Association senator, and was a recipient of Sid Richardson’s Athenian Award for service. He received a Bachelor’s degree in History and English.  He has served on reunion year giving committees and as an alumni interviewer.

    For 2016, he is serving as President of Mystery Writers of America. Jeff lives in Austin with his wife and two sons.

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    Getting to work with and know alumni from many different years. They have such a rich and varied experience in life — but are united by a love for Rice and a desire to serve their fellow alumni, the student body and the university.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    Not so much one story as the collective experience of O-Week, from being a freshman wondering if I would find my tribe to being a co-adviser at Brown (when it was still all female) to being O-Week coordinator at Sid Rich. I think the residential college system is one of the truly great strengths of Rice, and many of my happiest Rice memories come from those times and seeing the difference the residential college system makes in the Rice quality of life.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    These will be very special years of your life … enjoy them. Work hard, but have fun, too, and treasure the people you meet here. These will be your friends for life.

Michol Ecklund '97

ARA Board Executive Committee
Deputy General Counsel – Operations Law & Corporate Communications, Marathon Oil Company
Houston, TX 
BA 1997, Rice University
JD 2000, Harvard University

ARA Board term ends: 2017

Get to know Michol
  • Executive Biography

    Michol L. Ecklund is Deputy General Counsel – Commercial & Operations Services at Marathon Oil Company.  In this role Michol oversees a team of thirteen legal professionals who support all phases of exploration and production activities including day-to-day operations and M&A activity.  During her time at Marathon Oil, she has held various roles within and outside of the Law Organization including Assistant General Counsel – International, Senior Counsel for Equatorial Guinea, Litigation Counsel and Investor Relations Manager.   Prior to joining Marathon Oil in 2002, Ms. Ecklund practiced at Baker Botts LLP. 

    She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, economics, and managerial studies from Rice University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree Harvard Law School. 

    Michol is a current board member of the Association of Rice University Alumni  and recently served as the Chair of the Rice Annual Fund Steering Committee.  She is active with other campus organizations including Rice University Lawyer Alumni, the Rice Women’s Athletics Advisory Board, Rice Alumni Volunteers for Admission, and Lovett College. 

    She is a current board member of the World Affairs Council-Houston and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a past board member of the State Bar of Texas International Law Section.  She was Co-Chair of the 2014 Home Safe Home Gala benefitting Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse.  Ms. Ecklund was recently named a Finalist for the Houston Business Journal “Best Corporate Counsel” awards.  

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    I am enjoying the opportunity to take a deeper dive into the strategic thinking of our university — continual thinking about how to build the university of the future that grows leaders who make a difference in the world well “beyond the hedges.”  Together with faculty, students, administrators and alumni, we are making great things happen.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    October 16, 1994 — When the Rice Owls beat Texas in front of a national TV audience! As my cheer partner Kenny Yates said as the Longhorns walked on the field that night, “They have arms like legs and legs like PEOPLE!” But the mighty Owls prevailed (with perhaps some divine intervention in the form of a well-timed rain storm that stalled the UT offense), and many of us — as soaked as we were! — have an unforgettable memory.   

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Soak it all in! Rice is such an opportunity-rich environment, and your time on campus will go by much more quickly than you can imagine. Make a conscious effort every single day to get to know someone new, take a class outside of your core discipline, visit a different place in our thriving city, attend a lecture on a subject of interest, or simply watch the squirrels for a few minutes. Never again will you have access to so much!

Stacy Gilstrap-Piña '88

ARA Board Executive Committee
Director, The Bank of New York Mellon
New York, NY
BA 1988, Rice University
MBA 2004, Columbia University

ARA Board term ends: 2018

Get to know Stacy
  • Executive Biography

    Stacy Gilstrap-Piña works at GFS Investments where she is responsible for sourcing international deals and equity investments. Projects include creating a banking presence for the unbanked and underbanked in the UAE and transacting strategic global acquisitions. She was a Senior Innovation Strategist at the IBM Watson Research Center in Financial Services & Smarter Risk. Her Research team developed analytic solutions by creating data driven models to mitigate banking transactional risk and analyze transactions near real time. She has authored several papers around analytics within Wealth Management and introduced key technology-enabled business functions for Research development.  Her research also includes qualitative and quantitative analysis on the global Investment Management Industry across institutional investors and providers, including: multi-class asset allocation patterns, performance analysis, alpha production, fee structures and country analysis of economic growth.

    Prior, Ms. Gilstrap-Piña was an Assistant Vice President at Merrill Lynch managing initiatives as part of a federal savings bank launch and platform development of commercial/consumer bank and cash management products through Advisory distribution channels. Ms. Gilstrap-Piña began her finance career as an Equity Research Analyst at Gabelli Asset Management, Inc.

    Prior to finance, Ms. Gilstrap-Piña held leadership roles at Eastman Kodak where she developed hybrid traditional and digital imaging technologies for Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and European markets.

    Ms. Gilstrap-Piña’s specialties include academic research, financial modeling/analysis, business model development, corporate valuation, competitive landscape and industry analysis, deal execution, project management and negotiations.

    Ms. Gilstrap-Piña holds a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rice University and a MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    Having this shared experience with other enthusiastic Rice alums of working together on initiatives that impact and are important to our alumni community. This includes engaging with the administration, students and staff and learning about what is happening on campus. 

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    My favorite memory is when the student body voted a refrigerator as Homecoming Queen. An "Only at Rice" classic! 

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Rice has amazing people and offers such a broad variety of incredible opportunities. Take time to explore outside of your familiar zone and embrace its diversity to the fullest.

Natalye L. Appel '80, B.Arch. '82

President, Natalye Appel + Associates Architects LLC
Houston, TX 
BA 1980, Rice University
B.Arch. 1982, Rice University
M.Arch. 1986, University of Pennsylvania

ARA Board term ends: 2017

Get to Know Natalye
  • Executive Biography

    Natalye Appel is an architect and founding principal of Natalye Appel + Associates Architects LLC in Houston. She established her firm in 1987, following her B. Arch. from Rice in 1982, Preceptorship in Philadelphia and an M. Arch. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. 

    NA+AA’s projects range from public art, art studios, civic, religious and institutional spaces, to a wide variety of residential architecture. Practicing an economy of means and sense of place, the firm has achieved national recognition through numerous awards, exhibits and publications. In 2012, NA+AA was honored as the AIA Houston Firm of the Year. 

    Natalye has also taught architecture at Rice, the University of Texas, the University of Houston and Texas A&M, and has served on the boards of the American Institute of Architects, Rice Design Alliance, the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and the Hermann Park Conservancy. 

    Along with her husband, John Casbarian ’69, a Harry K. & Albert K. Smith Professor of Architecture at Rice, and two daughters, Claudia ’12 and Julia, Natalye was Master of Lovett College from 2000–2004.

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    I’ve loved getting to know so much more about Rice students, faculty, the colleges, administration and alumni. We have fantastic individuals and groups doing amazing things on campus and all over the world.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    I have a couple of favorites from our time as Lovett College Masters:

    During our first year at Lovett, we got the pleasure of explaining to our young daughters (ages 2 and 10 at the time) why they were seeing our college president running around our quad covered in shaving cream. Focusing on the number 13, we explained that Rice students get quite excited about mathematics, and from that day on the girls looked forward to checking the calendar and looking out for the runners.

    Late in a fall semester, just before Winter Break, a poor choice of topics for one week’s CC meeting minutes was turning into a total disaster for the secretaries and the entire college. But in typical Rice fashion, those students saw an opportunity for the lessons learned to be taken in a positive light, so they asked permission to round up and ritually burn all copies, inviting everyone to witness their remorse. The request was approved, and we turned it into a Fire and Ice cookout TGIF to be repeated every year in honor of their bravery and good humor.

     

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    With all Rice has to offer both in and out of the classroom during your years as students, my only advice is to say yes to all you can with no worries and no fears. Your experiences during your time at Rice, as well as your future path, can’t help but be fulfilling if you let it all in without trying to plan it all.

Doyle Arnold '70

Alumni Trustee
Vice Chairman & CFO, Zions Bancorporation
Salt Lake City, UT
BA 1970, Rice University
MBA 1976, Stanford University

Trustee term ends: 2017

Get to Know Doyle
  • Executive Biography

    Doyle graduated from Rice in 1970 with a B.A. in economics and mathematics. He received an M.B.A. from Stanford University in 1976. As a Rice student, he served on the Wiess College Cabinet for two years, was a fellow of Wiess and performed with the Wiess Tabletop Theater. 

    Presently residing in Salt Lake City, Utah, Doyle is the retired vice chairman and CFO of Zions Bancorporation, the largest bank holding company headquartered in the Intermountain West, with $50 billion in assets and eight banks from Texas to Washington. 

    In addition to hosting alumni outreach and fundraising events in his homes in California and Utah, Doyle’s involvement with Rice has included serving on the advisory board to the dean of the School of Social Sciences and on a peer review committee for the provost to make recommendations regarding the future direction of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. He has co-chaired both the Class of 1970 reunion giving and non-reunion giving efforts, and has volunteered as a Rice Alumni Volunteers for Admission interviewer for more than two decades, as well as Utah team captain the past several years. 

    An active participant in a number of professional organizations, Doyle also serves on the boards of several community groups, including the endowment investment committee of the Utah Symphony and Opera and the Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center of the University of Utah.

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    Of course, working with a lot of great alumni whose attendance at Rice spans multiple generations has been its own reward. Being nominated by the ARA board to be an alumni trustee, serving on the university Board of Trustees and chairing the Finance Committee has been a particularly rewarding way to learn about the university and its challenges, and to give back to our alma mater.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    There are so many! I’ll mention two. One was when my friend and classmate, George Greanias, came back from the summer to begin our sophomore year with the script for “Hello, Hamlet,” and announced that the Wiess Tabletop Theatre was going to produce it in only, I think it was, two weeks. Starting with no set and only the beginnings of a cast, we actually did it. And, some of us were able to get together this spring to attend the most recent quadrennial revival nearly a half-century later. A second was during my junior year — a particularly tumultuous time of Vietnam War protests, Kent State, etc. A large group of Rice students occupied the Allen Center administration building, but with the objective of keeping a group of more radical protestors from off-campus from doing so. The next morning, we gave the building back to the university. We didn’t think we needed outside help to tell us how to protest!

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Don’t hesitate to get outside your comfort zone academically. Today’s distribution requirements at Rice are more “flexible” than in my era — during which, for example, all science/engineering majors had to take one of two history courses and had to take English literature. Without those requirements, I likely would never have taken a history course, but doing so altered the trajectory of my career and life. Don’t just satisfy the distribution requirements of today with as little “stretch” of your own comfort as possible; try something really different.

Gilbert Casillas '93

Financial Consultant, Wells Fargo Bank
San Francisco, CA
BA 1993, Rice University
MBA 2003, Stanford University

ARA Board term ends: 2017

Get to Know Gilbert
  • Executive Biography

    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.

Kate Hallaway '04, MBA '13

Project Manager, Brown and Gay Engineers, Inc.
Katy, TX
BS 2004, Rice University
MBA 2013, Rice University

ARA Board term ends: 2017

Get to Know Kate
  • Executive Biography

    Kate Hallaway graduated from Rice in 2004 with a B.S. in civil engineering and received an M.B.A. in 2013 from the Jones Graduate School of Business M.B.A. for Professionals program.
     
    She has a decade of experience in the engineering consulting industry with projects ranging from complex hydraulic modeling to highly urbanized linear infrastructure design projects. She is a licensed professional engineer, a certified floodplain manager and currently works as an assistant project manager in the Public Works Department for Brown and Gay Engineers, Inc. in Houston. 
     
    Ms. Hallaway was a member of the Rice Engineering Alumni Board of Directors from 2009 to 2014, serving as president from 2012 to 2013. She served on the Rice Houston Young Alumni Committee from 2004 to 2011, presided as chair from 2009 to 2010 and spearheaded the popular Young Alumni Book Club. In 2013, she was a recipient of the Rice Young Alumni Builder’s Award. 
     
    As a member of Lovett College, Ms. Hallaway took part as a sports rep, a Beer Bike coordinator and captain of the Lovett Bike Team. Aside from her involvement at Rice, she is a passionate long distance runner and achieved Houston Marathon Veteran status in 2013.

     

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    I have enjoyed having the opportunity to serve my fellow alumni.  I love being able to communicate Rice's objectives to the alumni I interact with.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    ?The Rice Baseball team won the College World Series in 2003 when I was between my junior and senior years. Even though it was the middle of summer and school was out, there were still plenty of Rice students, alumni and fans who were able to come together and support the team by filling up Reckling Park to welcome them home.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    ?Never be afraid to ask a Rice alumnus for help. Most of us want to lift up our fellow alumni in their careers and in any other aspect in life.  ?

John E. Wolf, Jr. '61

Chair, Department of Dermatology, Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX
BA 1961, Rice University
MA 1963, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston
MD 1965, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston

ARA Board term ends: 2017

Get to Know John
  • Executive Biography

    Dr. Wolf is professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine. He is a graduate of Rice (1961) (Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2003) and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (M.A. 1963; M.D. with high honors 1965). He completed a medical internship at Cornell University/Bellevue Hospital in New York City before serving two years as a Peace Corps physician in the Micronesian Islands. Dr. Wolf was subsequently a dermatology resident at the University of California in San Francisco, a fellow in tropical dermatology in Guadalajara and senior registrar at St. John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin in London.

    Dr. Wolf was a history major at Rice and has served as historian of several scientific societies. He has made numerous presentations on the history of medicine. He has authored more than 170 publications and delivered more than 1,000 professional lectures, including presentations in 27 foreign countries. Dr. Wolf was on the Rice debate team for four years, and his motto is “have tongue, will travel.” He has also participated in many radio, television and print media interviews, including The Wall Street Journal and NBC’s “Today Show.” 

    Dr. Wolf is an advisory board member of the Houston Health Museum, the Friends of Fondren Library and the Shepherd Society, and is president of the Friends of the Texas Medical Center Library. Dr. Wolf is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society and has had numerous listings in Best Doctors in Houston, Texas, and America.

  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    Interacting with a very bright group of Rice over-achievers. I learned quickly that I was not the smartest chap in the room.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    The Great Snow of 1960 — 4.4 inches. We built snowmen with creative flare and had a snow day (how many of those in Rice history?).

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Regardless of your major, take time to develop good written and spoken communication skills. Debating for four years and writing for the Thresher have enhanced my career more than any formal class work.

Jason Perlioni '94

Chief Investment Officer, Pritzker Group Asset Management
Lake Forest, IL
BS 1995, Rice University
MBA 2001, University of Chicago

ARA Board term ends: 2017

Get to Know Jason
  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board

    I have built quite strong relationships with a number of fellow Rice alumni board members from all decades, across the country, on relatively few interactions, reinforcing the belief in strong threads of commonality among Rice students, and reinforcing my strong belief in the power of the network, if and when its members engage it and use it. 

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    I have seen numerous times fellow board members open up their homes to fellow Rice alums on trips to their hometown (myself included!) ... the warmth and openness of Rice alumni to their peers is uniquely remarkable.
     

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    While you may be (exceptionally) intelligent, actively and always seek advice and council from those more experienced than you in the particular area of any key decisions you need to make. Seek opposing and varying viewpoints, and respect and appreciate the perspectives from which those views come. You may find yourself changing your mind (for the better) before it is too late!

John Cabaniss '63

Retired Senior Partner, Andrews Kurth LLP
Houston, TX
BA 1963, Rice University
LLB 1966, University of Texas at Austin

ARA Board term ends: 2018

Get to know John
  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    I have found most rewarding my interaction with other members of the Rice Alumni Board, a diverse group of people, in representing the alumni to address important issues designed to promote and advance the mission of Rice University.  As part of that interaction, I have been pleased to find that the Board receives substantial (and in many cases, non-public) information about actions proposed and being undertaken that will serve to benefit not only undergraduate and graduate students, but Rice alumni and the community at large.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    Aside from the fact that I attended Rice when no tuition was charged, my favorite memories of Rice would have to relate to the college system in general and Hanszen College in particular, and the friends and good memories that resulted from that four year association.  For one specific, I can recall when Hanszen College invited noted author J. Frank Dobie to appear in the college and speak.  I had the privilege to ferry our evening speaker to and from the Warwick Hotel in my 1950 Plymouth.  He was very complimentary of the ample headroom it provided for him on the trip, unlike many of the more current vehicles.  Another fond recollection involved the daily suspension of studies around midnight to walk to the Toddle House on Fannin to enjoy the customary order of a cheeseburger, hash browns and black bottom pie.  I slept like a baby, and not an ounce of weight was gained.  If it only were so today.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    You are attending a great university with a beautiful and functional campus in the middle of a great and very diverse city.  Use and enjoy all as much as you can without losing sight of the prize.  The university curriculum will give you exposure to literature, arts and sciences in the hope that you will find an enjoyable and rewarding career to pursue. Notwithstanding your career choice, always be prepared to adapt to new circumstances as when the need arises.

Kevin Bailey '04

Director, Business Development & Capital Markets, CommonBond
New York, NY
BA 2004, Rice University
MBA 2010, University of Chicago

ARA Board term ends: 2018

Get to know Kevin
  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    My ARA Board colleagues represent the very best of the Rice community, and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know and learn from these fellow Rice alumni.  Their passion and enthusiasm for Rice's past, present, and future continue to inspire me to do more for this university that means so much to me.  

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    Only at Rice could a group of graduating seniors from Brown College invite themselves over for a cocktail reception with President & Mrs. Gillis a few days before Commencement.  They couldn't have been more gracious and welcoming to our boisterous group, and were very interested to hear what careers and further study awaited us after Rice. It's a fantastic memory to cap off a wonderful four years at Rice.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Make whatever arrangements you need to make in order to study abroad.  It's a life changing experience and one that will remain with you forever.  

AJ Beard '01

Account Manager, Matisia Consultants
Seattle, WA
BA 2001, Rice University
M.Ed. 2014, University of Houston

ARA Board term ends: 2019

Teddy Bucher '09

Engineering Consultant
Houston, TX
BS 2009, Rice University

ARA Board term ends: 2019

 

Gisela Blohm Cherches '85

Parent Volunteer Liaison, St. John's School
Houston, TX
BA 1985, Rice University
JD 1988, University of Texas at Austin

ARA Board term ends: 2018

Get to know Gisela
  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    I have found it most rewarding to have a better understanding of what is happening now and in the near future at Rice, as well as having the opportunity to connect with other engaged alums and current students. 

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    Only at Rice....could a Will Rice College resident and her dog be elected as "Homecoming King and Queen" and announced during the MOB's half time performance (I think it was in 1981 or '82). 

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Connect, connect, connect. Have amazing conversations with students of different backgrounds and whose ideas differ from yours. Have lunch with professors and ask them how they got to where they are. Use the Sallyportal to connect with alums!  These personal interactions will enrich your life in every way. 

Corey Devine '03

Partner, Muskat, Mahony, Devine & Moses, LLP
Houston, TX
BA 2003, Rice University
JD 2006, Tulane University

ARA Board term ends: 2019

Adriana Grivas '08

Commercial Banking Fraud Risk Subdirector, HSBC
Mexico City, Mexico
BA 2008, Rice University
JD 2011, South Texas College of Law

ARA Board term ends: 2019

Wanna Hadnott '84

Manager of Human Resources, Aggreko, LLC
Houston, TX
BA 1984, Rice University
MBA 1987, University of Texas at Austin

ARA Board term ends: 2019

Akilah Mance '05

Attorney, Olson & Olson LLP
Houston, TX
BA 2005, Rice University
JD 2008, University of Georgia

ARA Board term ends: 2018

Get to know Akilah
  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    Learning about the inner-workings of the University and hearing from Rice leadership in several different areas.  Similarly, getting to know so many smart, involved, dedicated and amazing board members has really been life-changing. 

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    O-Week.  I have many great memories, but most of all, the scavenger hunts where we would beg random people to come back to campus to get us points.  It's a wonder we didn't get a more negative response, but people seemed to be very much intrigued by the "odd" Rice kids.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    Take full advantage of all that Rice has to offer before you exit the Sallyport.  It will never be this easy to explore different topics, cultures, and adventures in a safe and supportive environment, as it will be at Rice.

Robert A. McKee '74

Managing Director, Cypress Associates
Austin, TX 
BA 1974, Rice University
MBA 1978, University of Pennsylvania

ARA Board term ends: 2018

Get to know Robert
  • What have you found to be most rewarding about serving on the ARA Board?

    What I have found most rewarding about serving on the alumni board is becoming more closely connected to the University.  Learning about what a great institution Rice has made me very proud to have gone to school at Rice.  I find that I truly love this school.  Going to homecoming even when I do not have a class reunion is really fun.

  • What is your favorite “Only at Rice” memory or story?

    My favorite Rice story is about the MOB so infuriating the Aggies during the halftime show of a game that we won that the MOB had to be evacuated from the stadium in food trucks.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to Rice students, what would it be?

    My advice to students is to learn about things they are curious about or find intellectually stimulating.  I spent most of my academic career preparing myself for a career after college.  I wish I had taken more courses about things that I enjoy learning about now.

Fausto Miranda '88

Chairman, Orca Energy Holdings
Mexico City, Mexico
BA 1988, Rice University
MBA 1994, Stanford University

ARA Board term ends: 2018

Allan Shenoi '79

Partner, Shenoi Koes LLP
San Marino, CA
BA 1979, Rice University
JD 1982, University of Texas at Austin

ARA Board term ends: 2017

Marty Sosland '75

Attorney, Butler Snow, LLP
Dallas, TX
BA 1976, Rice University
JD 1983, University of Texas at Austin

ARA Board term ends: 2019

Amy Sutton '89, MBA '90

Alumni Trustee
Tax Partner, Deloitte LLP
Houston, TX
BA 1989, Rice University
MBA 1990, Rice University

Trustee term ends: 2018

Gloria Tarpley '81

Alumni Trustee
Chair, Dallas Planning Commission
BA 1981, Rice University
JD 1984, University of Houston

Trustee term ends: 2019

Scott W. Wise '71

Alumni Trustee
President & Treasurer, The Cullen Foundation
Houston, TX
BA 1971, Rice University
MPA 1973, University of Texas at Austin

Trustee term ends: 2020