This all-alumni newsletter highlights one of Rice’s greatest student institutions: the Coffeehouse. It may be hard to believe now that there’s a Starbucks on just about every block and independent coffee shops are thriving, but the Coffeehouse was one of the first times that many of us experienced coffee fancier than Folger’s. Coffeehouse also represented one of the very best things about Rice: a place where people and cultures from across the country and around the world came together. Whenever I walk by Coffeehouse these days, in its impressive, expanded space in the Rice Memorial Center, it clearly still serves that function — always full of a diverse group of people talking, working and, of course, enjoying delicious coffee.
The Association of Rice Alumni Board has been working like students after a few cups of fully-caffeinated coffee as we continue our efforts to strengthen alumni connections with each other and with Rice. We have a slate of task forces working on a variety of important projects, and I’ll highlight just two here. One is our virtual engagement task force, which is looking for the best ways to engage alumni online, especially alumni who cannot often come to campus. Another is our Sallyportal task force, also focused on virtual interactions, specifically through enhancements to Rice’s online networking tool. Both of these task forces reflect our recognition that our alumni are increasingly global and that we must use innovative tools to engage you.
The work of these two task forces also connects with Rice’s recently-released Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade (V2C2). Among many important goals, the V2C2 identifies the importance of extending Rice’s reach and impact, including through the use of digital education. Rice alumni will play a key role in supporting these efforts and stand to see real benefits as the university’s impact and visibility grow. If you haven’t yet read the V2C2, I strongly encourage you to do so, and I hope you will be as enthusiastic as I am about the university’s exciting and ambitious vision.
Finally, I look forward to seeing you at the Association of Rice Alumni’s annual Laureates Awards Dinner, the evening after commencement, May 12, at River Oaks Country Club. The Laureates Awards Dinner is our opportunity to honor the best Rice has to offer, for both achievements and service to the university. We will also recognize the recipients of our Builders Award, given to young alumni for outstanding contributions to Rice. The Laureates Awards Dinner never fails to inspire, and I am sure that this year will be no different in that regard.
Matt Haynie ’03
President, Association of Rice Alumni