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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.

Matt Haynie '03

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

Term as President ends: 2018

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 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 five- 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 (API) 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!

Shannon T. Vale '77

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

Term as Past President ends: 2018

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.   

Michol Ecklund '97

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

Term as President-elect ends: 2018

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!

Jeff Abbott '85

ARA Board Executive Committee
Author/Screenwriter
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.

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.

Kristjan Stone ’08, ’10

ARA Board Executive Committee
Technologist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA
BS 2004, University of California, Los Angeles
MS 2008, Rice University
PhD 2010, Rice University
 
ARA Board term ends: 2020
 
Get to know Kristjan
  • What part of serving on the ARA Board are you most excited about?

    I feel very connected to Rice, having been a graduate student for six years, and I have been looking for a way to give back more to the university. Serving on the ARA Board is the perfect way to make an experiential contribution, bringing a grad student perspective to the organization. I had the opportunity to speak with the ARA Board several years ago when I was the Graduate Student Association (GSA) president, bringing them up to speed on the state of the GSA and sharing our current concerns. It is exciting to think that now I have the opportunity to volunteer on the ARA Board, and I look forward to helping increase multi-directional communication.

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

    One of my favorite memories from my time at Rice started as a frustration. A large percentage of the graduate student population are international, which is part of what strengthens the community, but can also create challenges when trying to unify the student body. At the time, the larger groups hosted their own targeted large-scale events, which was wonderful but made it difficult for smaller organizations to find their voice on campus. As the president of the Graduate Student Association (GSA), I decided to host an international graduate student summit at Rice. One of the most unexpected and amazing outcomes of the summit was the creation of the International Cultural Night, hosted by the GSA. This incredible event, created collaboratively by the summit participants, gave each international organization the chance to be highlighted equally. It still warms my heart to think of this uniquely “Rice" experience: the collaboration, learning and celebration of different cultures — and students empowered and supported to affect positive change.

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

    I would highly recommend investing in personal relationships. Rice is full of brilliant people, and I’ve often seen people prioritizing work and projects over socializing. Coursework and research are clearly important, but personal connections will make your time at Rice more enjoyable and meaningful. The social skills you develop here will give you a decisive advantage when looking for a job. It’s not about working less hard, it’s about making sure you have balance

  • Share a positive experience or outcome you’ve had via Sallyportal.

    I was lucky enough to recently host two Rice externs here at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Sallyportal was a great way to share pictures and stories from that experience and to encourage others to sign up for the externship program. Additionally, it was great to get positive feedback through the “Like” feature from other alumni.

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
MEd 2014, University of Houston

ARA Board term ends: 2019

Teddy Bucher '09

MBA Candidate, Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University
Houston, TX
BS 2009, Rice University

ARA Board term ends: 2019

 

Alicia Burns-Wright ’08

Attorney, U.S. Federal Trade Commission
Washington, D.C.
BA 2008, Rice University
JD 2011, Harvard University
 
ARA Board term ends: 2020
Get to know Alicia
  • What part of serving on the ARA Board are you most excited about?

    The thing I am most excited about doing on the ARA Board is hopefully providing a voice for a set of alumni that may feel like their voices haven't previously been heard. It is my understanding that the selection is made with this in mind, and I am very much looking forward to being that voice for whichever alumni I can best represent.

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

    My favorite "Only at Rice" story: On my first day on campus, I met Bridget Gorman, then RA at Jones. Over my time at Rice, I came to know Bridget not just as my RA, but as my professor, mentor, boss (I worked for the Department of Sociology and served as her teaching assistant) and friend. Two years after I graduated, I attended her wedding, and to this day I often stop by the Will Rice Master's House when I am in Houston to catch up!

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

    My advice to Rice students would be to know that no matter what they want to do, they can make strides towards it at Rice. The university is supportive of career paths, research ideas, the creation of new organizations and larger-than-life projects if you are willing to find the right people and put in the work. You can almost literally do anything with Rice's support!

  • Share a positive experience or outcome you’ve had via Sallyportal.

    Sallyportal has allowed me to reconnect with Rice folks in my field and also discover that people I have worked with in the past were fellow Rice alumni — we just hadn't discussed it! Rice alumni are everywhere, even if you don't know it.

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.

Peter Chang ’74, ’77

Cardiologist
Houston, TX
BA 1974, Rice University
PhD 1977, Rice University
MD 1981, University of Texas Medical School
 
ARA Board term ends: 2020
Get to know Peter
  • What part of serving on the ARA Board are you most excited about?

    It may sound cliché, but I’m really looking forward to making a difference, to working with people who likewise want to make a difference and to have a ball while trying to make a difference.

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

    What else other than the never-boring, ever-creative Rice MOB! And to have Tommy Kramer being the quarterback during those years just makes it so much more unforgettable!

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

    Instead of grades, focus more on experience. Instead of straight As, focus more on building trusting relationships. Later in life, you will find out that what impacts your life the most is not your college grades but the experiences that shape your life perspective and the lifelong friends you made during those years.

Gisela Blohm Cherches '85

Community Relations Manager, 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

Senior Regional Commercial Banking Fraud Risk Manager, Latin America, HSBC
Mexico City, Mexico
BA 2008, Rice University
JD 2011, South Texas College of Law

ARA Board term ends: 2019

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

    Meeting fellow alumni who also love Rice and want to continue to be actively involved in the Rice community long after graduation. 

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

    Being a new student O-Week advisor for two years was an incredible experience – I am still in touch with one of my O-Week students and best of friends with some of my fellow advisors. 

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

    As Rice students we often feel as though we need to have the next 5 or 10 years mapped out – it turns out we don’t. Be open to new opportunities and experiences, even if they weren’t listed in your “plan”. 

  • Share a positive experience or outcome you’ve had via Sallyportal.

    I’ve offered to review current students´ CVs and provide feedback, especially those seeking international opportunities in the financial industry. One student contacted me immediately after I posted the offer to help and it’s a great feeling to assist someone beginning their career. It’s also fascinating to see all the incredible activities our current students are involved in!

Wanna Hadnott '84

Human Resources Consultant
Houston, TX
BA 1984, Rice University
MBA 1987, University of Texas at Austin

ARA Board term ends: 2019

Wendy D. Hoenig ’86

President and CEO, H & H Business Development, LLC
Houston, TX
BA 1986, Rice University
Dip. 1998, Babson College
 
ARA Board term ends: 2020
Get to know Wendy
  • What part of serving on the ARA Board are you most excited about?

    Serving on the ARA Board is a great way to give back to the university. I have been very involved for the last six years with REA and the School of Engineering, and now the ARA gives me the opportunity to get more involved across all Rice activities. I look forward to connecting with even more alumni and students. 

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

    Beer Bike has to be my favorite “only at Rice” memory.  We were still a single-sex college at Brown at the time, so we had guys from Sid that worked with us on the bike team. The camaraderie and teamwork that was required to field a team was a great experience, and it made lasting friendships that I still have today. 

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

    Study hard, but don’t forget to take time to make friends. Those relationships that you make at Rice will last a lifetime and can lead to great networking opportunities in the future. Also, take advantage of alumni mentoring opportunities when they are offered on campus. Rice has so many amazing alums that can open doors for you that will make a huge impact on your career path, regardless of your major choice. Use those resources wisely!

  • Share a positive experience or outcome you’ve had via Sallyportal.

    I signed up for Sallyportal the first week it was launched, and I have interacted with several students since then. It has also allowed me to reconnect with some college friends that I have not seen in many years due to no contact information. It is a powerful social media tool that will be extremely valuable for the Rice community in the future.

Tommy O. Huie ’87

Alumni Trustee
Advisor to Financial Services Firms
Glenview, IL
BA, BS 1987, Rice University
MBA 1993, University of Chicago
 
Trustee term ends: 2021
Get to know Tommy
  • What part of serving on the ARA Board are you most excited about?

    With the benefit of previous experience on the ARA Board, I am looking forward to continuing to advance the connections of Rice alumni with the university. Each year brings new board members from all over with a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds to contribute voices on issues of importance to the Rice community.

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

    The shared experience of O-Week always brings smiles and personal anecdotes to every past and current Rice student — I still fondly remember my O-Week! Acclimating to the community and building new friendships is representative of the entire Rice adventure. Having dropped off two children to begin their own college experiences at Rice, I am amazed at the impact of that first impression on the students and their families.

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

    Two challenges of attending a selective, smaller-sized university are the realization of being surrounded by classmates of equal or greater promise, and delivering on your personal potential upon discovering your chosen path to success. Embracing these challenges with the help of your family, classmates, advisors and alumni will help you prevail.

  • Share a positive experience or outcome you’ve had via Sallyportal.

    Kudos to all those who were involved in developing Sallyportal! The unique camaraderie of bringing together fellow Owls for professional development is ideal for reaching out to those with whom you may not have been aware of a shared connection or shared professional interest.

Michael D. Maher ’75, ’79, ’80

Senior Program Advisor, Center for Energy Studies, Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University
Houston, TX
BA 1975, Rice University
MA 1979, Rice University
PhD 1980, Rice University
 
ARA Board term ends: 2020
Get to know Michael
  • What part of serving on the ARA Board are you most excited about?

    I look forward to collaborating with other Board members who have a strong commitment to Rice and to increasing the connections of alumni with Rice and with current Rice students.

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

    Only at Rice could you have a group Frisbee throw at midnight on the beautiful and well-lit lawn in front of Lovett Hall.

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

    I would advise students to become proficient in reading and speaking a foreign language while at Rice. It will help you understand different cultures and enhance interactions with those cultures as part of your work or travel. It is difficult to find the time to learn another language later in life (or to train your ear to understand another language) and with the world economy becoming more interconnected, you will wish you had learned that second language by the time you left Rice.

  • Share a positive experience or outcome you’ve had via Sallyportal.

    At Resumania held by the Center for Career Development in 2015, I helped a freshman computer science student with his resume and how to present himself to recruiters. I ran into him at the Career Fair and introduced him to a Rice grad at a small software company. Through that alum, he learned about another IT company at the Career Fair and he found a summer internship at that company. He so appreciated the alumni help that in the fall of 2016 he taught a one-credit college course on preparing for the job market. He asked me to teach one classroom session. Because of that session, I met a sophomore with a stellar grade-point average and a strong interest in criminal justice. I connected her with a Rice grad at a major foundation in Houston and she landed a summer internship working in its New York City office that funds programs around the country that show strong results in improving the criminal justice system. That to me shows the power of networking — a student meets an alum who knows another alum who connects him to someone, whether alum or non-alum, who is hiring — and Sallyportal is a great platform for students and alumni to network.

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.

David M. Mansouri ’07

President, State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE)
Nashville, TN
BA 2007, Rice University
MBA 2014, Vanderbilt University
 
ARA Board term ends: 2020
Get to know David
  • What part of serving on the ARA Board are you most excited about?

    The opportunities that Rice gave me set me on an upward trajectory in life both personally and professionally. I’m excited to give back to the university and the alumni community by serving on the ARA Board. I am also looking forward to exploring ways to better connect alumni from across the country with the work of the university and to represent alumni perspectives.

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

    The residential college system is an “Only at Rice” memory that is unique to Rice graduates. The friends I made at Will Rice are still my best friends today!

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

    Take advantage of every opportunity you have during your time at Rice, both academically and socially. Take classes in areas you are interested in, even if they aren’t your major — one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t take a foreign language all four years during my time as an undergraduate! Explore Houston early and often. Go out of your comfort zone and participate in campus activities and events.  

  • Share a positive experience or outcome you’ve had via Sallyportal.

    I’ve only been on Sallyportal for a short period of time, but I love the fact that there is a forum to engage with the Rice community and identify opportunities for students and alumni.

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

President, MDA24
Mexico City, Mexico
BA 1988, Rice University
MBA 1994, Stanford University

ARA Board term ends: 2018

Karin E. Shipman ’12

Karin ShipmanRetired School Administrator, Paralegal
Houston, TX
BA 1963, Sam Houston State University
MEd 1978, Texas State University
EdD 1986, University of Houston
MLS 2012, Rice University
 
ARA Board term ends: 2020
 
Get to know Karin
  • What part of serving on the ARA Board are you most excited about?

    I feel honored that I have been elected to the ARA Board, especially since I do not have what one might call a traditional degree. I have a Master of Liberal Studies. I came to Rice to study for the MLS and fell in love with everything Rice! I know other graduates in other departments, such as business, English, architecture and science, who have had the same experience. They fell in love! I am hoping that I will have an opportunity to work with graduate programs generally (through the Graduate Students Association) and individually. My goal would be to encourage their students to, first, take part in the exciting and dynamic Rice community events and programs, and second, to become active and involved alumni through the ARA.

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

    An assignment which found me standing in the middle of the South Main Baptist parking lot on Main Street at 10:30 at night, holding my clenched fists up in front of my eyes while looking along the horizon in order to “measure” the progress of Venus entering the night sky. Ten degrees per fist — the sighting of this celestial body was a something like a once-in-seven-years event that our class was lucky to see! My being there was a once-in-a-lifetime event!

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

    Respect your professors at Rice and take advantage of their expertise by doing your best possible work. We have outstanding faculty and what you learn here is part of the wealth of knowledge you will carry forward with you and use in making new discoveries for the rest your life.

  • Share a positive experience or outcome you’ve had via Sallyport.

    I love being able to see all the upcoming Rice and ARA events on the Sallyportal announcements. I can make reservations and plan my calendar so I can participate widely in the wonderful community of Rice. 

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, '90

Alumni Trustee
Tax Partner, Deloitte Tax LLP
Houston, TX
BA 1989, Rice University
MBA 1990, Rice University
MS 1994, Golden Gate University
 
Trustee term ends: 2018

Gloria Meckel Tarpley '81

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

Trustee term ends: 2019

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

    I have loved all my time serving on the ARA Board, but the highlights have clearly been on two fronts: first and foremost, getting to know fellow involved alums who share my love of Rice, and second, the increased opportunities to become meaningfully engaged in Rice events and volunteer opportunities.

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

    A few years ago the ARA Board was invited to take a tour of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen.  As it happened, the person who was to have led the tour was unexpectedly taken ill so the Alumni Affairs director reached out to one of the two students who were working at their stations that Saturday morning, and asked for the student to lead the tour.  This senior, who was completely taken by surprise, rose to the occasion and proceeded to give us a comprehensive tour, very modestly omitting any mention of his work.  Finally, at the end of the tour he was asked what his project was — a very sophisticated bit of designing aircraft with software that would enable it to fly itself from beginning to end, as a predicate to airplanes that might need to do this sort of thing on the far side of Mars, for example.  Then, when asked what lay ahead for him, he sheepishly let us know he would be going to Cambridge on a major fellowship — clearly a terrifically talented, modest student!  With a wry sense of humor and self-deprecating comments, this fellow exemplified all that is best at Rice!

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

    I would tell them that their Rice education need never end — through continued engagement, I continue to learn and Rice has profoundly enriched my life.  After graduation, stay involved in alumni affairs and find ways to stay engaged with Rice and Rice people — your life will be much the better for it!

  • Share a positive experience or outcome you’ve had via Sallyportal.

    I’ve enjoyed mentoring a couple of students and would like to think that I helped them in their professional development.  I have also used it to keep in touch with peers and students, both.

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