Dear Fellow Rice Owls,
As I hope you already know, this year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Association of Rice Alumni (ARA). Since 1919, Rice alumni volunteers have worked to increase engagement between fellow alumni and the university, and over these past 100 years, have made a significant impact on Rice. What you may not know is that the first president of the ARA, Samuel G. McCann, was a graduate-only alumnus, who earned his degree from Rice in 1917.
This year also marks an important milestone for the Graduate Student Association (GSA), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall. Founded in 1969, the GSA’s initial responsibility was running Valhalla. Guided by the leadership of graduate students, the GSA has grown to offer numerous resources that enrich the graduate student experience. A number of Rice graduate alumni have served on the ARA Board over the years and have brought their understanding of the graduate experience to our efforts to support the university and greater alumni community. Of the 28 members currently serving on the ARA Board, seven earned graduate degrees at Rice, with five of those also earning more than one Rice degree.
Today, graduate students make up over 40% of Rice’s student population, and the emphasis on building renowned graduate programs in the Vision for the Second Century, Second Decade (V2C2) confirms that the importance of graduate alumni will only grow. The ARA Board enthusiastically supports the V2C2, and in 2018, we launched a task force focusing on increasing engagement with and support for graduate students and graduate alumni. If you are interested in advancing this important work and strengthening the graduate alumni community, I invite you to submit your application to join the ARA board by Nov. 8, 2019, for the next term beginning July 2020.
Whether you are a graduate alum, undergraduate alum, or both, there are many ways to increase your personal connection to the Rice community. Become active in a regional or affinity alumni group, offer your support as a mentor through Sallyportal.org, and stay in touch through the Rice Portal, where you can access the alumni directory and share your class notes in real time through Owlmanac Online.
I’m looking forward to connecting with many of you on Nov. 1 & 2 when we celebrate the 100th year of the ARA and the 50th year of the GSA at Homecoming & Reunion. GSA events include an opening ceremony featuring past GSA presidents on Friday and the Distinguished Graduate Alumni Lecture Series on Saturday. Also, don’t miss these two ARA events that same weekend: the All-Alumni Town Hall on Friday and the ARA 100th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday.
Thank you for everything you do and for your support of the Rice alumni community!
Frank G. Jones ’63
2019–20 President, Association of Rice Alumni