What fuels your passion for Rice? For me, that spark comes from the current Owl students I meet, who seem to be more impressive each year. I’m inspired by Tessa, Akin, Maryam and Alex. These young Owls are blazing new trails in research labs, residential colleges, athletics courts and throughout Houston. Just like the Owls of preceding generations, they work hard and they play hard. And through their ideas, energy and action they are also making our university, our city of Houston and our world a better place. I hope you will take a minute to watch their stories and further inspire your own Rice Owl passion.
It is because of these impressive students that I am particularly proud of The Rice Investment, the university’s expanded commitment to financial aid for low- and middle-income families. This new program, which will take effect in the 2019-20 academic year, reflects an increase in both the generosity and clarity of Rice’s financial aid. And Rice’s bold move has resonated with prospective students — a record 27,000 of them applied to Rice this year! — ensuring we continue to attract a highly talented and diverse student body.
As you read this newsletter, talented students across the country are contemplating their college decisions and financial aid packages. I hope you will join your Association of Rice Alumni board in sending them a signal that the Rice alumni community supports The Rice Investment by making a gift of any size on April 4. Current and former ARA board members have come together in support of this history-making effort to offer a special 24-Hour Challenge: When 4,000 Rice alumni make a gift of any size to the university on April 4, current and former ARA board members will collectively donate $400,000 to the Rice Annual Fund in support of The Rice Investment. To be counted in the 24-Hour Challenge, make your gift at giving.rice.edu/onerice on April 4!
In addition to our enthusiastic support of The Rice Investment and the 24-Hour Challenge, it has been an active and impactful year for your ARA board. Through our task forces, we have been focused on deepening engagement with growing sectors of the alumni population including young alumni, graduate degree alumni, and our regional and affinity groups. The ARA board has also actively supported the expansion of the university’s virtual resources that keep our fellow Owls connected. Check out the many features on the new Rice Portal and at sallyportal.org to network across the Owl community, register for events and more!
And while you are catching up on all things Rice with the Rice alumni newsletter, I hope you will save the date for this fall’s Homecoming & Reunion on Nov. 1–2. Alumni, university friends and students will gather on campus for a weekend-long celebration of all things Rice, including the 100th anniversary of the Rice alumni community.
To Rice Be True
Michol McMillian Ecklund ’97
2018–19 President, Association of Rice Alumni