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Welcome to the ARA's Stories Section!

Alumni Making an Impact
Features alumni who are making a difference for Rice on campus and in their communities.

Alumni in the News
Highlights stories that are gathered from the media through the hard work of the ARA's Alumni Recognition Committee, which recognizes and celebrates achievements of Rice alumni, faculty, students, staff and university friends by sending hand-written notes and emails. If you are interested in volunteering for the committee, contact Tara Quell, assistant director, alumni relations at 713-348-4694.

A Message from Association of Rice Alumni President Shannon Vale '77 (June 2017)

This year, members of the Class of 1977 are looking forward to celebrating our 40th reunion. While that reunion will be a special occasion for those of us whose tenure at Rice encompassed events such as the resignation of President Nixon, the end of the Vietnam War and the appearance of a modest little video game called Pac Man, I’ve realized that my class’s 40th reunion is just one of many milestones that will be celebrated this year within Rice’s community of students, parents and alumni.

One of the most meaningful of these milestones is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the residential college system. I think it’s safe to say that if the residential college system had not been embraced and nourished by generations of Owls, the Rice experience for most of us would have been profoundly different. For some students, the colleges provided a forgiving platform for testing their wings in activities ranging from dramatic performances to intramural competitions to self-government. But, even if your personal path did not lead you to take part in organized programs of that sort, your college may have provided an important network of friendship and support as you navigated the ups and downs of life at Rice.

This edition of the All-Alumni Newsletter also celebrates milestones relating to several other features of life at Rice that help give our university its unique personality. For example, you can enjoy the story of Sammy’s evolution as he turns 100 years old, and sample the fascinating stories of those who were recently honored at the 80th installment of the Laureates Awards Dinner.  Many of you will no doubt have your own stories concerning these and other Rice milestones, so I invite you to share them so that they can be included on our alumni stories page.

Many thanks to everyone who joined us on May 13 for this year’s Laureates Awards Dinner where we honored a remarkable group of people for their extraordinary achievements and their contributions to Rice. I congratulate these 2017 Laureates for representing the very best of Rice. If you were unable to attend this event, you can view brief videos telling the stories of each of our Laureates here.

As another summer unfolds, members of our newest group of incoming students are looking forward to beginning their lives at Rice. For several years, my wife Jane and I have enjoyed getting to know many students and their parents at the New Student Celebrations held in our hometown of Austin. Our alumni are playing an increasingly important role as mentors for Rice students, and celebrations like this — which are held in communities all over the country — are a great opportunity for alumni to show our support to new students and parents as they embark upon their Rice adventures. To get involved, visit this page and sign up today to attend a New Student Celebration near you; I promise that you will find it to be an enjoyable and meaningful experience.

As my year as president of the Association of Rice Alumni (ARA) comes to a close, I am reminded of how much I enjoyed taking part
in some of Rice’s richest traditions — ranging from speaking to brand new students at 
the Matriculation Ceremony to helping lay the wreath on Willy’s Tomb at last month’s Commencement. However, the most fulfilling part of this role has been getting to know and working with members of our extraordinary Rice family around the world, and to witness first-hand their passion for advancing the university and serving its diverse community. I am grateful for having been given this opportunity, and view Rice with a combination of deep pride and optimism. Please join me in welcoming incoming president Matt Haynie ’03, who I know will do a terrific job representing your interests and furthering the core mission of the ARA, as well as the seven new members of the ARA Board of Directors who are beginning their terms. I encourage you to learn more about these dedicated leaders by clicking the link on this page.
Wishing you all the best this summer,
Shannon Vale '77
President, Association of Rice Alumni

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