A Note from Association of Rice Alumni President Toya Cirica Bell ’87

Toya Cirica Bell ’87

Dear Rice Owls,

The bond between Rice alumni is special. We are a small,unique community with a worldwide reach, and the connections we make during our time on campus endure long after we graduate.

This was certainly true for me. I met my friend Henry De La Garza’87 when we were students at Rice. After graduation, our paths would continue to cross in an unplanned fashion as we both attended the same summer abroad program for law students at the University of Exeter, had the same judicial clerkship with the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio and later lived in the same Austin neighborhood for many years.When I organized the Rice Attorneys in Austin, an affinity group designed for Rice alumni practicing law in the area, Henry was among the first to join in our effort to organize networking and continuing legal education events for the group and later career development programs for visiting Rice students.This is just one example of a friendship that has flourished over time, and I’m sure you have your own. No matter where we are in life, a fellow Owl is never far away.

This year, the Association of Rice Alumni board’s theme is invigorating alumni engagement through inclusive leadership. We are committed to intentional efforts to connect our fellow alumni with each other and the university and extending our reach across the domestic and international Rice network.

Rice is a global community, and international alumni are a diverse and growing demographic. Students, alumni and faculty regularly study abroad, and our graduates pursue careers in every major international market. Our newly appointed task force on global outreach is looking for creative opportunities to engage international and expat alumni, to capitalize on their global experience and ensure their connectivity with Rice and each other.

There are various ways to engage with our international community of Owls whether you live in Houston, Honolulu or Hong Kong.By networking, mentoring, volunteering, attending university-wide and alumni-specific events, you can stay connected with fellow alumni. Additionally, participating in a regional or affinity group, or even starting your owl local affinity group,can help you interact with fellow Owls in your area and those alumni with shared interests. Both groups allow their members to foster community through a range of programs and activities unique to them.

In addition to our outreach efforts, we are cultivating cross-campus collaborations. Our last ARA Board meeting took place at the Moody Center for the Arts,where executive director Alison Weaver shared her vision for the center, giving our board members an intimate glance at what is happening on campus and bolstering them in their roles as ambassadors for the university. At this meeting, we learned that not only is the Moody Center free and open to the public, but that there is a Rice Public Art app that allows campus visitors to discover and engage with the unique and ample collection of public art on campus.

Your Rice experience continues beyond the hedges —it meets you at every stage of life. As we intentionally brainstorm how to make connections in a purposeful, meaningful way, we invite you to be part of this process. Please share how we can best support you in remaining connected by emailing alumni@rice.edu.


Toya Cirica Bell ’87
Association of Rice Alumni President