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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.

My Story: an entrepreneurial career as author, chef and historian

From Mary Margaret Pack '74 -- After more than 20 years as a technical writer in Austin, I changed it up in the mid-90s by leaving my high-tech career to attend the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Since then, I’ve made my living as a private chef and food writer, spending half of each month cooking in San Francisco and the other half in Texas writing about food and food history.

I contribute regularly to various periodicals like the Austin Chronicle and Edible Austin, as well as to reference books such as Scribner’s Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America, and Culinary Biographies: A Dictionary of the World’s Great Gastronomic Personalities.

My first love is food history and I’m working on a book about foods that have shaped Texas culture. I’ve given presentations on food business and food history to various museums and food organizations, including CIA Napa, International Association of Culinary Professionals, Historic New Orleans Collection Museum, and Les Dames d’Escoffier International. In October 2015, I gave a talk at Lovett College about the foodways of Native Texans on the Gulf Coast. Afterward, the students--along with Lovett Fellows (and my ‘74 classmates) John Eldridge and Rice biochemistry professor George Phillips--prepared a meal using only ingredients that were available to native groups prior to Mexican and European contact.

Recent Stories

  • New PBS series explores science with Talithia Williams '07

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  • Mike Girardi ’88 Featured for Successful Season as Junior College Basketball Coach

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  • Susan Boettger ’95 Launches Unique After School Program

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