Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Rice Magazine • No 1 • 2008 1
40|LiteraryGold • 9|ScienceofShred • 18|Oscar’sRedCarpet • 44|LightandSpace
24 (RE)DEFININGA...
ContentsContents
3 Three Rice luminaries
are elected to the
American Academy of
Arts and Sciences.
4 Student applications ...
Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 1
Features
24 Defining and Realizing Vision
The vision with which Edgar Odell Lovett defined
R...
Rice Magazine
Vol. 65, No. 3
Published by the
Office of Public Affairs
Linda Thrane, vice president
Editor
Christopher Dow
...
Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 3
The Rice University scientist, along with
two Rice alums — philanthropist John
Doerr and ec...
4 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
The gift from the Benificus Foundation, a
private charitable organization set up by
alumni John...
Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 5
The project follows up on O’Malley’s
pioneering work that utilized robots to map
out how pe...
6 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
More than three years in the making, the
image contains some 5 million atoms —
each in precise...
Unlike most college career centers, which focus on job placement, the CSPD offers
resources that help students far beyond ...
8 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
That’s essentially the finding of a
team of Rice University researchers
who have created hybrid...
Tour, the Chao Professor of Chemistry andTour, the Chao Professor of Chemistry andT
professor of mechanical engineering an...
10 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine101010 www.rice.edu/ricemagazinewww.rice.edu/ricemagazinewww.rice.edu/ricemagazine
the fusifor...
“It was incredibly frustrating,” said Ashutosh
Sabharwal, director of Rice University’s
Center for Multimedia Communicatio...
12 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 13
research
project at Rice
has brought
scientists to the brink
of comprehending a
long-stand...
14 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
Most of us forgive ourselves the occasional
forgetfulness, but for stroke patients suffering
...
Healing an elderly patient’s physical prob-
lems does not automatically improve the
patient’s quality of life.
That’s what...
16 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
BRC à la Cart
When the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) begins blaz-
ing new biomedica...
SallyportT H R O U G H T H E
Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 17
“Subha’s experience with integrating diversity
into one of th...
18 www.rice.edu/ricemagazinewww.rice.edu/ricemagazine
They are Faheem Ahmed ’09 and Anish Patel ’09, who entered the “Osca...
Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 19
Students
A trip to the 81st Academy Awards might not be a professional mile-
stone for mos...
20 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
Montgomery, a bioengineering major, served
as both an investigator and a test subject in an
e...
Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 21
“Thursday’s child has far to go,” says the old nursery rhyme, and Kristina
Carrillo-Bucara...
Research by
graduate student
Christy Franco
focuses on using
stem cells to help
stroke victims
recover neurological
functi...
Clinton Honors Microfinanciers
Small thinking brought a big honor to officers of Owl Microfinance in
February when they were ...
24 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
Definingand
Realizing
B Y D A V I D L E E B R O N
Definingand
Realizing
Defining
Realizing
Defini...
Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 25
It
is especially powerful
because the aspirations he
put forth were more ambi-
tious and f...
The chairman of the
Rice Board of Trustees reflects
on his past and the university
that has played such a large
role in his...
Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 27
Jim Crownover ’65was in the Rice
infirmary suffering
from the flu when he got a lesson that ...
This one is too big …
At 6 feet 2 inches tall, with sparkling blue eyes and a big smile,
Crownover projects a warmth that ...
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Rice Magazine 3
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Rice Magazine 3

791 views

Published on

Rice Magazine is published by the Office of Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate students, parents of undergraduates and friends of the university.

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Login to see the comments

  • Be the first to like this

Rice Magazine 3

  1. 1. Rice Magazine • No 1 • 2008 1 40|LiteraryGold • 9|ScienceofShred • 18|Oscar’sRedCarpet • 44|LightandSpace 24 (RE)DEFININGAVISION 34 HUNTINGRICEHISTORY 36 HAPPYBIRTHDAYTOUS 38 TAKINGCAREOFBUSINESS
  2. 2. ContentsContents 3 Three Rice luminaries are elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 4 Student applications top the record — twice. 8 The world’s richest and largest business plan competition is even better. 7 Not your parents’ career services center 4 A major gift will transform the way engineers are educated at Rice. 9 SciRave mixes a little science with a lot of 15 Healing physical problems doesn’t automatically improve the quality of life for elderly patients.15 The award-winning journal, positions, comes to Rice. 10 It’s enough to make you sweat. 5 Kinetic learning is a Wii bit of fun. 14 What is that word? 16 On the cover: Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Rice alumnus Larry McMurtry delivering a recent Friends of Fondren Library Distinguished Guest Lecture 12 Rice researchers are ratting outare ratting out cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. shred. 6 If a picture is worth aIf a picture is worth a thousand words, thenthousand words, then Rice’s new image of aRice’s new image of a virus’s protective coat isvirus’s protective coat is seriously undervalued.seriously undervalued. 11WARP wireless isWARP wireless is whetting the appetiteswhetting the appetites of communicationsof communications technology heavyweights.heavyweights.
  3. 3. Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 1 Features 24 Defining and Realizing Vision The vision with which Edgar Odell Lovett defined Rice opened the university to possibilities he could not have dreamed of. B y D a v i d W . L e e b r o n 26 Unique Leadership for a Unique Time James Crownover, chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees, reflects on his past and the university that has played such a large role in his life. B y M i k e W i l l i a m s 30 Larry McMurtry: On Rice, Writing and the Fate of Books Larry McMurtry is fond of saying that his parents wanted him to stay on the ranch and herd cattle, but he wanted to herd words. B y D a v i d D . M e d i n a 34 Super Sleuth A modern-day Nancy Drew, Rice’s centennial historian Melissa Kean experiences both thrills and chills in her fearless hunt for Rice history. B y M e r i n P o r t e r 36 The Countdown Begins Rice’s 100th birthday is fast approaching. Here’s a preview of the centennial anniversary celebration already in the works. B y M i k e W i l l i a m s 38 Taking Care of Business Executive Education is not only a source of revenue, but also an important connection between the university and the practicing professionals in Houston’s business community. B y W e e z i e K e r r M a c k e y 40 Literary Gold A lot of people dream about finding buried treasure. Most don’t succeed, but occasionally, a rare individual actually does make a discovery worth noting. You can add literary detective Logan Browning to that list. B y C h r i s t o p h e r D o w Students 18 They came.They filmed.They conquered. 20 Weightless 21 An undergraduate entrepreneur finds success in an organic produce co-op. 22 Pioneering stem cell research to aid stroke victims gets personal for a Rice doctoral student. 23 Owl Microfinance student group honored by Clinton Global Initiative University Arts 42 The infamous FEMA trailer is transformed by art. 43 Developing a master plan for public art on the Rice campus 44 It’s not unusual to hear artists talk about the use of light and space. It’s pretty rare when one’s art consists of light and space. Bookshelf 46 John Anderson likes to joke that he studies the Antarctic in the winter and the Gulf Coast in the summer, but what he sees happening along theTexas coast is no laughing matter. 47 Richard Smith’s friends and colleagues warned him not to tackle the evolution of the “Yijing.” 47 A neuroscientist uses fictional vignettes to explore the possibilities of the afterlife. Sports 48 Vaulting to new heights. 20 18 21
  4. 4. Rice Magazine Vol. 65, No. 3 Published by the Office of Public Affairs Linda Thrane, vice president Editor Christopher Dow Editorial Director Tracey Rhoades Creative Director Jeff Cox Art Director Chuck Thurmon Editorial Staff B.J. Almond, staff writer Jade Boyd, staff writer Franz Brotzen, staff writer Merin Porter, staff writer Jenny West Rozelle, assistant editor Jessica Stark, staff writer Mike Williams, staff writer Photographers Tommy LaVergne, photographer Jeff Fitlow, assistant photographer The Rice University Board ofTrustees James W. Crownover, chairman; J.D. Bucky Allshouse; D. Kent Anderson; Keith T. Anderson; Subha Barry; Suzanne Deal Booth; Alfredo Brener; Robert T. Brockman; Nancy P. Carlson; Robert L. Clarke; Bruce W. Dunlevie; Lynn Laverty Elsenhans; Douglas Lee Foshee; Susanne Morris Glasscock; Robert R. Maxfield; M. Kenneth Oshman; Jeffery O. Rose; Lee H. Rosenthal; Hector Ruiz; Marc Shapiro; L. E. Simmons; Robert B. Tudor III; James S. Turley. Administrative Officers David W. Leebron, president; Eugene Levy, provost; Kathy Collins, vice president for Finance; Kevin Kirby, vice president for Administration; Chris Muñoz, vice president for Enrollment; Linda Thrane, vice president for Public Affairs; Scott W. Wise, vice president for Investments and treasurer; Richard A. Zansitis, general counsel; Darrow Zeidenstein, vice president for Resource Development. Rice Magazine is published by the Office of Public Affairs of Rice University and is sent to university alumni, faculty, staff, graduate students, parents of undergraduates and friends of the university. Editorial Offices Creative Services–MS 95 P.O. Box 1892 Houston, TXHouston, TXHouston, T 77X 77X 251-1892 Fax: 713-348-6751 E-mail: ricemagazine@rice.edu Postmaster Send address changes to: Rice University Development Services–MS 80 P.O. Box 1892 Houston, TX 77251-1892 ©JULY 2009 RICE UNIVERSITY F O R E W O R D Sometimes, momentum is everything. As in, if you don’t keep peddling the bicycle, you will topple over. Or if you pause to enjoy your lead, you may find your- self bringing up the rear on the homestretch. Rice has always had the kind of momentum necessary to carry it into the up- per echelons of higher education — a momentum that is a direct result of the high aspirations set forth by the university’s founding president, Edgar Odell Lovett. It has been a century since Lovett traveled around the world to develop those aspirations. Lovett visited great universities in England, Europe and Japan to understand what made an exceptional institution of higher learning. His journey led to two of Rice’s enduring principles: A great university must be international in scope, and it must be flexible enough to change with the times and take advantage of unforeseeable opportunities. Thus, Lovett endowed Rice with the ability to capitalize on and significantly contribute to the subsequent century’s monumental advancements in computa- tion, digital communications and nanoscale science and technology well before the basic tenets of those fields were even conceived. With that momentum behind us, we will celebrate, in three years, the university’s most impor- tant birthday yet: its centennial. Preliminary preparations already are under way, and you can read about them in “The Countdown Begins.” Be sure to read, also, our piece on Melissa Kean, Rice’s centennial historian. After assuming Rice’s helm five years ago, President David Leebron charted a fresh set of des- tinations for Rice with his Vision for the Second Century. While building on Lovett’s original intent to keep Rice a great undergraduate university, Leebron’s vision expands the scope of Rice’s gradu- ate education and deepens and broadens the university’s research mission. Added to the many disciplines in which Rice already ex- cels are newer fields, such as biosciences and biomedicine and the study of cultural and religious differences, that will affect, on many levels, the lives of people around the world. This issue of Rice Magazine is filled with stories of advance- ments and discoveries being made by Rice researchers across the board, from the sciences and engineering to the social sciences, humanities and professional schools. And read, also, about alumna Suzanne Deal Booth’s contributions to Rice’s artistic environment; the new university art director, Molly Hubbard, who will have an active role in bringing more public art to campus; and LouAnn Risseeuw, the woman responsible for the interior design of Rice buildings. They help create a cam- pus environment that allows our community to flourish. Nowhere is the fact that Rice encourages excellence more evident than in its students and alumni. Students who stand out in this issue are seniors Faheem Ahmed and Anish Patel, who won the “Oscar Correspondent Contest” sponsored by MTV’s 24-hour college network and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and wound up hobnobbing with the stars on the red carpet at the Academy Awards ceremony. Other standouts are the students who created Owl Microfinance, recognized recently by former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative University for their efforts to help the poor help themselves by starting businesses. And last but not least, be sure to read this issue’s profiles of two very different alums whose work has had far-reaching impacts: Rice Board of Trustees Chairman James Crownover and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry. Momentum and a well-charted course have, indeed, carried Rice far, and the achievements and influence it has realized during the last century are a fitting commemoration to Lovett’s aspirations. But Rice’s journey is just beginning. The Vision for the Second Century and the Centennial Campaign provide focus and fuel for our momentum. Enjoy the ride with this issue of Rice Magazine. Christopher Dow cloud@rice.edu
  5. 5. Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 3 The Rice University scientist, along with two Rice alums — philanthropist John Doerr and economist Karen Davis — joined the reclusive novelist, the U2 singer and a host of others renowned in their fields when they were elected members of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Halas, Rice’s Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and professor of chemistry, biochemistry and bioengineering, is an expert in photon- ics and plasmonics whose lab deals in biomedicine, advanced display technology, solar power and many other applications that depend on the nanoscale manipulation of light. Recent breakthroughs have led to human trials of a novel cancer treatment and have suggested the possibility of an invisibility cloak. She’ll certainly make tracks for Cambridge, Mass., to be among the inductees in October. “A friend who is also a member told me I can’t miss it,” Halas said. “I’ll never get another chance to see Kenny Barron, Nelson Mandela and Dustin Hoffman all in the same place.” Other marquee names among this year’s group of 212 new fellows and 19 foreign honorary members are James Earl Jones, Marilyn Horne and Emmylou Harris. Doerr ’73, who earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical engineer- ing at Rice, is a venture capitalist with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers whose interests as an entrepreneur and philanthro- pist include innovative green technology, urban public education, poverty abatement and the advancement of women as leaders. He was an early champion of Google and Amazon, among many other companies. Doerr, Rice’s commencement speaker in 2007, and his wife, Ann ’75, recently donated $15 million through their Beneficus Foundation to establish the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership. Davis ’65, president of the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based health care think tank, is a former assistant professor of economics at Rice who earned both her undergraduate and doctoral degrees here, the latter in 1969. Before joining the fund, she chaired the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she also was a professor of economics. She was deputy assistant secretary for health policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1977 to 1980, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a visiting lecturer at Harvard. In 1991, Rice recognized her achievements with its Distinguished Alumni Award. Davis returned to Rice last year to speak at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy’s “Campaign 2008: The Issues Considered” event on health care reform. Halas wasn’t aware she’d been nomi- nated to join the academy, and she admitted she didn’t know the particulars of how her name rose to the top of the list. “But certainly the area we work in — nanopar- ticles and light — has become a hot topic in nanoscience,” she said. “It has really exploded in the last year or two. I think that probably played an important part.” Halas appreciates the challenge of keeping pace with her peers, especially since being named an associate editor of Nano Letters, the most highly cited journal in nanoscience and nanotechnology. “This area has absolutely caught on fire across a bunch of different disciplines because it’s very useful,” she said. “So I get to enjoy the burden of the success of this field. There’s a lot of great new work coming out every single week.” —Mike Williams Move Over Bono — Naomi’s Here Naomi Halas recently found herself searching Wikipedia to learn about Thomas Pynchon and delighting in the possibility that, some- where out there, Bono was Googling her. “A friend who is also a member told me I can’t miss it. I’ll never get another chance to see Kenny Barron, Nelson Mandela and Dustin Hoffman all in the same place.” —Naomi Halas SallyportT H R O U G H T H E Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based health care think tank, is a former assistant professor of economics at Rice who earned Before joining the fund, she chaired Bloomberg School of Public Health, where health policy in the U.S. Department of to 1980, a senior fellow at the Brookings speak at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy’s “Campaign 2008: The Issues Considered” event on health care Naomi Halas
  6. 6. 4 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine The gift from the Benificus Foundation, a private charitable organization set up by alumni John ’73 and Ann Howland Doerr ’75, will fund the new Rice Center for Engineering Leadership and raise the bar for engineering educators nationwide. The cen- ter’s mission is to broaden Rice engineering education by incorporating current and emerging crises facing society and develop- ing personal leadership skills needed to solve pressing global problems. “Our increasingly complex and global world demands great, ethical engineering leaders,” Ann Doerr said. “And you can’t fake integrity.” “The world’s best engineers are entrepreneurs and leaders,” added John Doerr, who was No. 1 this year on Forbes Magazine’s Midas list of the world’s top 100 tech deal makers. “They’re willing to take risks. They know innovation matters but execution is everything. It takes leadership to change the world.” Doerr earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical engineer- ing from Rice and an MBA from Harvard University. His interests as an entrepreneur and philanthropist extend to innovative green technology, urban public education, fighting poverty and the advancement of women as leaders. Ann Doerr, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at Rice, is an environmental activist and a trustee of the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund. The gift brings the Doerrs’ commitment to the Centennial Campaign to $22.5 million. A matching component of their donation could bring an additional $10 million to the center. Their other recent donations funded computational cancer research administered by the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology and two endowed chairs, one named for Kennedy’s parents and currently held by Professor Krishna Palem and one held by Professor Keith Cooper. —Mike Williams Word is spreading that Rice University is on the move, and prospective students are hearing the call. This year, undergraduate applications passed the 10,000 mark for the first time in Rice history and then went on to officially top 11,000. Vice President for Enrollment Chris Muñoz credits Rice’s standing as one of the best values in educa- tion for keeping the university as the top choice for the best students. “Students know we are taking our exceptional educational experience to even higher levels; populating our campus with great new educational, residential and recreational build- ings; and setting our sights on being one of the best research universities in the world,” Muñoz said. Although applications from residents of Texas, historically Rice’s strongest constituency, were up 10.5 percent, the most dramatic increases were from foreign nationals, African- Americans and non-Texans. The number of female applicants to Rice rose 15.2 percent, compared with a 9.8 percent increase for males. The figures are good news as Rice prepares to admit its largest freshman class ever. With two new residential colleges nearing comple- tion, the university will have the capacity to welcome an estimated 900 new undergraduates in 2009, up from the record 2008 freshman class of 789. —Mike Williams Two Rice University alumni with engineering degrees — he a famed venture capitalist, she an environmental activist — have given their alma mater $15 million to transform the way engineers are educated. $15 Million Gift to Redesign Engineering Education “Our increasingly complex and global world demands great, ethical engineering leaders, and you can’t fake integrity.” Learn more about the Centennial Campaign and giving to Rice University: ››› www.rice.edu/centennialcampaign —Ann Doerr John Doerr Application Boom
  7. 7. Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 5 The project follows up on O’Malley’s pioneering work that utilized robots to map out how people learn physical tasks. The study was used to treat stroke victims, but its ultimate goal was to program robots to teach in new ways. With the new NSF grant, O’Malley and Byrne will spend the next three years measuring the motions involved in tasks as mundane as playing paddleball and as complex as flying a fighter jet. To do that, having a motion-capture device at hand will be invaluable. The device is called an ac- celerometer, but video game fans know it as a Wiimote, the handheld wand that serves as a wireless interface between player and screen. “It’s the only part of the system we really need,” said O’Malley, director of Rice’s Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Laboratory. The researchers will compare data from the Wiimote to that from a more expensive Vicon motion capture system to “see how good the Wii really is.” “We’re already grabbing motion data from the Wiimote.” said O’Malley, “Soon, we’ll be able to measure a range of motion and then turn it into a mathematical model.” For the researchers, that’s where the games really begin. Their plan is to bring together robotics and virtual reality in a way that lets people absorb information through repetition of the motor pathways. Think of hitting a tennis ball. Learning by trial and error is fine, but it would be much easier if a robotic sleeve could tell you exactly where that hitch in your swing is and gently prod you to hit the ball correctly. O’Malley and Byrne’s research into what they term the “cognitive modeling of human motor skill acquisition” will focus on three types of learners. “There are experts, who learn at a slow, steady pace, but they get there,” O’Malley said. “There are novices, who learn at a slow, steady pace, but sometimes they never get there. And then there are those who start off awful, but somewhere in the middle of training they suddenly ‘get it.’ We’re interested in how these groups of performers differentiate and if there are inherent characteristics of movement and control policies that lead to expertise.” Here’s where Byrne’s own expertise comes in. An associate professor of psychol- ogy who specializes in computer–human interaction, he’ll analyze feedback on the range of motion used in performing a task and figure out precisely where the most efficient learning happens. “I work with the sort of mathematical computational theory of human perfor- mance that’s never been extended to the kind of dense motor activity we want to study,” said Byrne. “We find that some Wii games have really good learning properties we can measure, and there also are some that people don’t seem to get a lot better at. I can tell you I’m about as bad at Wii golf now as I was when I started playing it.” —Mike Williams Collecting Data Is a Wii Bit of Fun Why are some people fast learners? Can we teach everybody to be like them? Yes, Wii can. In a research project recently funded by the National Science Foundation, Rice professors Marcia O’Malley and Michael Byrne are making use of Nintendo’s popular Wii video game technology to codify learning systems in ways that can be used in a range of human endeavors, from sports to surgery. Read more about engineering at Rice: ››› engr.rice.edu Discover the research being conducted in psychology: ››› socialsciences.rice.edu Find out how you can contribute to Rice’s research: ››› www.rice.edu/centennialcampaign Their plan is to bring together robotics and virtual reality in a way that lets people absorb information through repetition of the motor pathways. SallyportT H R O U G H T H E
  8. 8. 6 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine More than three years in the making, the image contains some 5 million atoms — each in precisely the right place — and it could help scientists find better ways to both fight viral infections and design new gene therapies. The stunning image, which debuted in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals the structure of a type of protein coat shared by hundreds of known viruses containing double-stranded RNA genomes. Painstakingly created from hundreds of high-energy X-ray diffraction images, the image paints the clearest picture yet of the viruses’ genome-encasing shell, called a “capsid.” Capsids come into play because viruses can reproduce themselves only by invading a host cell and hijacking its biochemical ma- chinery. But when they invade, viruses need to seal off their genetic payload to prevent it from being destroyed by the cell’s protective mechanisms. “When these viruses invade cells, the capsids get taken inside and never com- pletely break apart,” said lead researcher Jane Tao, assistant professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice. Though there are more than 5,000 known viruses, including whole families that are marked by wide variations in ge- netic payload and other characteristics, most of them use either a helical or a spherical capsid. team created a precise 3-D image of the spherical capsid. Previous studies had shown that spheri- cal capsids contain dozens of copies of the capsid protein, or CP, in an interlocking arrangement. The new research identified the sphere’s basic building block: a four- piece arrangement of CP molecules called a tetramer, which could also be building blocks for other viruses’ protein coats. By deciphering both the arrangement and the basic building block, the research team hopes to learn more about the capsid- forming process. “Because many viruses use this type of capsid, understanding how it forms could lead to new approaches for antiviral thera- pies,” Tao said. “It could also aid researchers who are trying to create designer viruses and other tools that can deliver therapeutic genes into cells.” The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the USDA, The Welch Foundation, the Kresge Science Initiative endowment fund, the Agouron Foundation and the San Diego Supercomputer Center. —Jade Boyd Learn more: ›››ricemagazine.info/02 Viral Mug Shot If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Rice University’s pre- cise new image of a virus’s protective coat is seriously undervalued. In their attempt to precisely map the spherical variety, Tao and lead author Junhua Pan, a postdoctoral research associ- ate at Rice, first had to create a crystalline form of the capsid that could be X-rayed. They chose penicillium stoloniferum virus F, or PsV-F, a virus that infects the fungus that makes penicillin. Although PsV-F does not infect humans, it is similar to others that do. By analyzing the way the X-rays scattered when they struck the crystals, the Junhua PanJane Tao Painstakingly created from hundreds of high-energy X-ray diffraction images, the image paints the clearest picture yet of the viruses’ genome- encasing shell, called a “capsid.”
  9. 9. Unlike most college career centers, which focus on job placement, the CSPD offers resources that help students far beyond their initial employment by focusing on three core areas: postgraduate planning, employment research and professional communi- cation. Tailored to meet the needs of Rice students, the center aims to increase student understanding of personal strengths, professional options, pre-employment communication skills, and knowledge of institutions, organizations and companies. The focus on education and skill building has transformed the CSPD from a col- lection of services based on job placement to a resource and training center that helps students understand their interests and values and trans- late that self-knowledge into sound judgments about which industries, fields and graduate pro- grams to choose. One of the center’s principal resources is its new Web site, which expands the reach of the CSPD and provides students a more streamlined, user-friendly resource that supports their professional development needs. Future versions of the site will include innovative software for job and internship exploration. —Jessica Stark Learn more about the Center for Student Professional Development: ››› www.cspd.rice.edu Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 7 Not Your Parents’ Career Services Center If Rice’s Career Services Center was the chrysalis, then the butterfly istheCenterforStudentProfessionalDevelopment(CSPD),adynamic and interactive learning center designed to enhance Rice students’ knowledge and skills for long-term professional advancement. Make a contribution to the rich archival past of Rice Universitybyansweringthe Fondren Library Woodson Research Center’s call for materials on the history of the student experience at Rice University. Among the items the center is seeking are student letters that describe undergradu- ate and graduate life at Rice — academic and extracurricular — along with items such as uniforms, costumes, class rings, party favors, trophies, photographs and scrapbooks. It also is soliciting memoirs on every aspect of the student experience, in- cluding sports, professors, dorm (and later, college) life, dances and anything else that may have helped characterize your time at Rice. A contribution from Jean Thomas McCaine ’45 will facilitate the cataloging of these materials. To submit collections of letters or other items, please contact Fondren Library’s Head of Special Collections Lee Pecht at 713-348-2120 or pecht@rice.edu. To donate your student memoirs, please send them to Rice University, Woodson Research Center–MS 215, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251. Be sure to include your name, major and original hometown with your submission, as well as the dates you attended Rice and a brief summary of your post-Rice life. ShareYour RiceMemories SallyportT H R O U G H T H E
  10. 10. 8 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine That’s essentially the finding of a team of Rice University researchers who have created hybrid carbon- nanotube/metal-oxide arrays as electrode material that may improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries. With battery technology high on the list of priorities in a world demanding electric cars and gadgets that last longer between charges, such innovations are key to the future. Electrochemical capacitors and fuel cells also would benefit. The Rice research team, led by Pulickel Ajayan, the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and professor of chemistry, is growing nanotubes that look — and act — like the coaxial conducting lines used in cables. The coaxial tubes consist of a man- ganese oxide shell and a highly conductive nanotube core. “The nanotube is highly electrically conducting and also can absorb lithium, and the manganese oxide has very high capacity but poor electrical conductivity,” said Arava Leela Mohana Reddy, a Rice postdoctoral research associate. “When you combine them, you get something interesting.” That would be the ability to hold a lot of juice and transmit it efficiently. The researchers expect the number of charge/ discharge cycles such batteries can handle will be greatly enhanced, even with a larger capacity. “At this point, we’re trying to engineer and modify the structures to get the best performance,” said Manikoth Shaijumon, also a Rice postdoc. The microscopic nano- tubes, only a few nanometers across, can be bundled into any number of configura- tions. Future batteries may be thin and flexible. “And the whole idea can be trans- ferred to a large scale as well,” Shaijumon said. “It is very manufacturable.” The hybrid nanocables grown in the Rice-developed process could also elimi- nate the need for binders — materials used in current batteries that hold the elements together but hinder their conductivity. The project is supported by funding from the Hartley Family Foundation, and the findings appear in a paper written by Reddy, Shaijumon, doctoral student Sanketh Gowda and Ajayan in the online version of the American Chemical Society’s Nano Letters. —Mike Williams Batteries GetBatteries Get a Boost Need to store electricity more efficiently? Put it behind bars. BusinessPlanCompetition Offers a Wealth of Opportunity Pulickel Ajayan, left, and Sanketh Gowda The Rice Business Plan Competition, which has become the world’s richest and largest business plan competition, saw a 45 percent increase in entries for this year’s event in April. Forty-two teams were chosen from nearly 340 entries submitted from around the globe. The teams presented their new technology business plans to more than 200 venture capital investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders who served as judges. At stake was a chance to win a share of more than $800,000 in cash and prizes. Thirty-six of the teams contended in four cat- egories — life sciences, information technology, energy/clean technology and sustainability — and the other six competed in the area of social entre- preneurship, a new category this year. Carnegie Mellon University’s Dynamics team won the $325,000 grand prize with a marketing proposal for interactive credit and debit cards. The team’s next-generation interactive payment cards use programmable magnetic stripes to com- municate dynamic information to the 60 million 1970s-era magnetic stripe readers that process day-to-day payment card transactions. “We hope this year’s crop of competitors turn out to be as successful as last year’s,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. “Through the mentoring and networking available at the Rice Business Plan Competition, nearly 70 percent of last year’s competitors have gone on to success- fully launch their companies, raise funding and build their businesses.” The Rice Business Plan Competition is hosted by the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Rice Alliance, which was formed as a strategic partnership between the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and the Jones School. FORTUNE Small Business magazine co-sponsored the com- petition again this year and featured the winners, teams and competition in its June 2009 issue and on CNNMoney.com. —Mary Lynn Fernau For a comprehensive list of winners visit: ››› ricemagazine.info/19
  11. 11. Tour, the Chao Professor of Chemistry andTour, the Chao Professor of Chemistry andT professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer sci- ence, covers a lot of beats in the world of nanoscience at Rice, where he developed the first nanocar and recently ushered in a breakthrough in graphene that may make memory for computers and devices cheap and plentiful. His new twist isn’t meant for scientists, but for scientists-to-be. “SciRave,” developed through a grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to work the basics of a science education into “Guitar Hero” and “StepMania,” both proven winners in the world of video games. Tour, who developed “SciRave” as an extension of his NanoKids project, wants “SciRave” (called “SciJam” in its “Guitar Hero” incarnation) to feed the mind and body and believes that all work and no play is not necessarily the best way to teach material that can be abstract at best. “Finnish kids are blowing everyone away, science-wise,” he said. “In Finland, they alternate 20 minutes of instruction with 20 minutes of play. There’s a lot to be said for not making a kid who’s bursting with energy sit in a seat for two hours straight.” Two sample songs on the “SciRave” Web site put cellular biology to a funk- metal track (“All the Pieces”) and a robotic reading of measurements to a scratch beat (“SI System”). Tour went to eighth- and ninth-grade textbooks, reduced each chapter to about 10 bullet points and gave it to the composer, who converted the bullet points into lyrics with music. The repetitive natures of metal, hip-hop and scratch make the styles perfect for embedding scientific concepts in young minds. The compositions are by Bram Barker, a 1999 graduate of Rice’s Shepherd School of Music now living and working in Japan, and Aidin Ashoori, a Martel College sophomore and biochemistry major who also writes music for video games. With undergraduate students Matt Szalkowski, Gustavo Chagoya Gazcon, Keenan May and Johnny Li han- dling game programming and Web design, the costs have been relatively low. Downloading components for “StepMania” or “Guitar Hero” from the site gets users a half-dozen or so songs for the games, which can be played on a computer with or without dedicated controllers. All of the downloads are free. The big question among Tour’s col- leagues is, of course, has he tried out the dance pad? He admitted he has, sort of. “I watched my son do the dance pad, and he was very good. I tried it for about five sec- onds and said, ‘This isn’t possible for me.’” —Mike Williams Visit SciRave: ››› www.scirave.com Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 9 You wouldn’t expect to hear the names “James Tour” and “Guitar Hero” in the same sentence. Until now. The much-honored Rice University professor and a team of students have been working away on a set of songs for the popular video game that mixes a little science with a lot of shred. And for those who’d rather move their feet than their fingers, well, Tour’s got something for them, too. ScienceRocksScienceRocksat Rice Tour went to eighth- and ninth-grade textbooks, reduced each chapter to about 10 bullet points and gave it to the composer, who converted the bullet points into lyrics with music. SallyportT H R O U G H T H E
  12. 12. 10 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine101010 www.rice.edu/ricemagazinewww.rice.edu/ricemagazinewww.rice.edu/ricemagazine the fusiform region is considered to be associated with sexual motivation and behavior,” Chen said. “Our results imply that the chemosensory information from natural human sexual sweat is encoded more ho- listically in the brain rather than specifically for its sexual quality.” Humans are evolved to respond to salient socioemotional information, and just as distinctive neural mechanisms underlie the processing of emotions in facial and vocal expressions, so, too, do mechanisms for human social chemosignals. The research, co-authored by Chen and Wen Zhou, graduate student in the Department of Psychology, was sup- ported in part by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of Neuroscience. —Franz Brotzen To find out, Denise Chen, an assistantTo find out, Denise Chen, an assistantT professor of psychology, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at how the brains of female volunteers processed and encoded the smell of sexual sweat from men. Nineteen healthy female subjects inhaled olfactory stimuli from four sources, one of which was sweat gathered from sexually aroused males. The study is the first fMRI study of human social chemosignals. The results of the experiment indicated that the brain recognizes chemosensory communication, including human sexual sweat, and that several areas of the brain are involved in processing the emotional value of the olfactory information. These include the right fusiform region, the right orbitofrontal cortex and the right hypothalamus. “With the exception of the hypothala- mus, neither the orbitofrontal cortex nor “Our results imply that the chemosensory information from natural human sexual sweat is encoded more holistically in the brain rather than specifically for its sexual quality.” —Denise Chen Scientists have long known that animals use scent to communicate. But how much does the human sense of smell complement the more powerful senses of sight and hearing?
  13. 13. “It was incredibly frustrating,” said Ashutosh Sabharwal, director of Rice University’s Center for Multimedia Communication (CMC). So, in 2006, CMC set out to change that by creating a turnkey, open-source platform that would let wireless researchers expand their tech menus. Now, the plat- form — dubbed WARP — is whetting the appetites of heavyweights like Nokia, MIT, Toyota, NASA and Ericsson, and it’s already being used to test everything from low-cost wireless Internet in rural India to futuristic “unwired” spacecraft. WARP stands for “wireless open-access research platform,” and physically, WARP is a collection of circuit boards containing a powerful processor and all the transmit- ters and other gadgets needed for high-end wireless communications. What makes WARP boards so effective is their flexibility. When researchers need to test several kinds of radio transmitters, wireless routers and network access points, all they need to do is write programs that cause the WARP boards to act as those devices. The concept is starting to pay off. At Rice, CMC Project Manager Patrick Murphy — the former CMC doctoral student who developed the original WARP architecture — is collaborating with graduate students to use WARP in proof-of-concept technologies for “cognitive wireless.” The cognitive wire- less concept stems from the fact that up to half of the nation’s finite wireless spectrum is unused at any given time. Sabharwal said researchers have talked for years about designing smart, “cognitive” networks that can shift frequencies on the fly, opening up vast, unused amounts of the spectrum for consumer use. Motorola is using the system to test an entirely new low-cost architecture for wireless Internet in rural India. It’s the sort of low-profit-margin project that probably wouldn’t have gotten beyond the drawing board if not for WARP. Another early adopt- er, NASA, is using WARP to look for ways to save weight, cost and complexity in the wiring systems for future spacecraft. Several large wireless companies are using WARP to test schemes for wireless phone networks that can transfer data up to 100 times faster than current 3G networks. Toyota is using WARP to test car-to-car communications — systems that automotive engineers hope to use in the future for collision avoidance, traffic management and more. Some users are even partially disassem- bling the boards to add new functions. “When you put a new technology into people’s hands, they’ll inevitably find innovative ways to use it,” Sabharwal said. “That’s one of the best things about WARP. It is going to lead to innovations that we never could have anticipated.” —Jade Boyd Learn More: ››› ricemagazine.info/11 Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 11 Wireless at WARP Speed Nothing kills innovation like having to reinvent the wheel, and that’s especially true for electronics researchers who had to build every test system completely from scratch to assess new high-speed wire- less technologies. “When you put a new technology into people’s hands, they’ll inevitably find innovative ways to use it.” —Ashutosh Sabharwal SallyportT H R O U G H T H E
  14. 14. 12 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  15. 15. Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 13 research project at Rice has brought scientists to the brink of comprehending a long-standing medical mystery that may link cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease. And for that, we can thank the rat. Read the paper in Artery Research: ››› ricemagazine.info/01 SallyportT H R O U G H T H E Rice evolutionary biologist Michael Kohn and his collaborators — Roger Price of Baylor College of Medicine and Hans-Joachim Pelz of the Julius Kuehn Institute in Germany — report they have found that common rats with a genetic mutation have developed a resistance to rat poison, aka warfarin. That’s good news for the rats, but it comes at a price. The mu- tation also leaves them susceptible to arterial calcification and, poten- tially, osteoporosis, and that’s good news for humans. In the mutated gene, the researchers found what could be the link that solves the calcification paradox: the puzzling association between metabolic bone disease and vascular calcification that has eluded researchers for years. Kohn said a good part of the answer lies in the vitamin K cycle, which is known to regulate the coagulation of blood — clotting. It also is suspected of helping keep calcium out of the body’s vessels and in its bones, which has particular ramifications for postmeno- pausal women for whom loss of bone density is a serious issue. Warfarin has long served humans as a medicine called Coumadin, because it interferes with the vitamin K cycle. In regulated doses, it thins the blood by reducing its ability to coagulate, which helps prevent heart attacks, stroke and blood clots. In larger doses, it once excelled as rat poison; rats that ingested the poison would simply bleed to death. But the genetic mutation in rats effectively blocks that interference. “I have a feeling the mutation predated the introduction of warfarin,” said Kohn. “But it was rare because it causes side effects. It’s not an advantageous mutation unless it’s exposed to warfarin.” Rats without the mutation died, while those with the muta- tion multiplied. “These rats, in the absence of poison, suffer from cardiovascular disease, just like we do,” said Kohn, who added that the kidneys of rats in the study were “calcified to an extent that is shocking.” His hope is that the equivalent gene in humans turns out to be the key to a number of ills. “As you look at humans, this calcification of arteries is, I sus- pect, a very important precondition to thrombosis and stroke,” he said. “So to find such a strong effect astonished us. We had a tough time publishing the paper because people might have thought it was too good to be true, that you can explain the effect to such a degree by looking at just one gene.” Kohn and his colleagues have begun a study on osteoporosis in rats that have the mutation, and early results are promising. “The prediction is the mutant rats have a lower bone density,” he said. “I think if we complete and confirm that as well, it would be a major breakthrough. That means one gene — one mutation — explains the so-called calcification paradox.” Finally, he noted, Alzheimer’s patients tend to be vitamin K-deficient, which opens up avenues for further study. “Could there be one mutation that explains osteoporosis, arteriosclerosis and Alzheimer’s?” he wondered. “That would be huge.” —Mike Williams Michael Kohn
  16. 16. 14 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine Most of us forgive ourselves the occasional forgetfulness, but for stroke patients suffering from aphasia, the inability to find the right word can be frequent and profound. Tatiana Schnur wants to know why. When speaking, a person must select one word from a competing set of words. A speaker who wants to mention a specific ani- mal, for example, has to single out “dog” from “cat,” “horse” and other similar possibilities. Schnur, an assistant professor of psychology, wondered whether a particular part of the brain is necessary for resolving the competi- tion for choosing the correct word. She and her colleagues compared brain images from 16 healthy volunteers and 12 volunteers who suffer from aphasia, a lan- guage disorder acquired as a result of stroke. People who have aphasia frequently experi- ence difficulty with speech. The study cov- ered two experiments where people named a series of images and conflict between words increased as more images were named. In the first experiment, healthy speakers’ brain activations were measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The second experiment mapped performance deficits to lesion locations in participants with aphasia. The researchers found that while two parts of the brain — the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) and the left temporal cortex — respond to increased conflict among words competing for selection during speech, only the LIFG is necessary to resolve the competi- tion for successful word production. The LIFG includes Broca’s area, which is responsible for aspects of speech production, language processing and language comprehension. It is of particular interest to the researchers because damage to this area may explain the hesitant, nonfluent speech exhibited by those described as Broca’s aphasics. By looking at direct parallels between the healthy and aphasic volunteers, Schnur and colleagues coupled location in the brain with specific speech processes, and they learned that the ability of aphasic speakers to resolve competition that arises in the course of lan- guage processing does appear to depend on the integrity of the LIFG. The study, “Localizing interference dur- ing naming: Convergent neuroimaging and neuropsychological evidence for the func- tion of Broca’s area,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health. —Franz Brotzen Read the study ››› ricemagazine.info/06 Ever been frustrated because the word you’re looking for is eluding you? WhatIsThatWord...? Rice Ranks Third in Nanotoxicology Publications A new study by researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) finds that Rice University ranks third globally in publications in the growing field of nanotoxicology. The study noted that peer- reviewed research on the toxicology of nanomaterials has grown nearly 600 percent since 2000 and that Rice scholars have authored 23 papers on the subject. That’s just a handful of papers fewer than the entire University of California system and just two fewer than the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The UCSB study made significant use of the Virtual Journal of Nanotechnology Environment, Health and Safety, or VJ-Nano EHS, published by the International Council on Nanotechnology, an affiliate of the Rice Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology. The virtual journal is the only repository that attempts to compile all published research on the safety, health and environmental implications of nanomaterials. —Jade Boyd Read the study in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research: ›››ricemagazine.info/13 Visit ICON’s Virtual Journal of Nanotechnology Environment, Health and Safety: ››› icon.rice.edu/ virtualjournal.cfm
  17. 17. Healing an elderly patient’s physical prob- lems does not automatically improve the patient’s quality of life. That’s what Vikas Mittal of Rice’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and co- researchers at the University of Pittsburgh learned from a study of residents in two nonprofit elder-care nursing homes in western Pennsylvania. “A lot of people look at the care of elderly people in terms of clinical outcomes such as ulcers, depression and pain,” said Mittal, the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Management. “The conventional think- ing has been that if you heal the patient’s physical condition, their quality of life will automatically improve. We found that this isn’t always the case. While there is an overall connection between physical health and self-reported quality of life, not every finding was consistent.” The researchers interviewed the patients at six-month intervals over a three-year pe- riod to determine the association between changes in clinical health factors and the patients’ perception of their quality of life. They found that patients with improved physical conditions didn’t always feel their quality of life had improved. The results show the need for incorpo- rating psychological factors into evaluating nursing homes and the care they provide to the elderly, Mittal said. Currently, the U.S. government mandates the data used Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 15 One of the world’s leading in- terdisciplinary journals on Asia, Rice University-based positions: east asia cultures critique, was unanimously selected as the win- ner of the 2008 Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) award for Best Special Issue for “War Capital Trauma.” to monitor the health and quality of life in nursing homes, but all measurements are based on clinical factors. Consequently, when evaluating nursing homes for their elderly relatives, people may not be able to understand the extent to which their loved ones could have a high quality of life there. “The system is completely devoid of psychological factors,” Mittal said. “This is a very limiting approach because it treats the elderly person as a set of symptoms and not as a whole individual.” The study also suggests racial and cultural implications for nursing home patients, but the sample was too small for valid conclusions. The researchers plan long-term studies with larger sets of patients across more nursing homes. What they learn could prove extremely useful, especially in culturally diverse states. “Forty years ago the national focus was on taking care of children,” Mittal said. “Now we see more and more people strug- gling to care for elderly family members. It is critical for us to better understand the psychological factors that comprise quality of life for the elderly, as well as physical health of these individuals, so that we can provide them with the best possible care.” Learn more: ››› www.ricemagazine.info/14 Read the study in The Gerontologist ››› www.ricemagazine.info/15 Healing vs. Quality of Life “Forty years ago the national focus was on taking care of children. Now we see more and more people struggling to care for elderly family members.” —Vikas Mittal Journal Takes Top Honors SallyportT H R O U G H T H E Edited and founded by Tani Barlow, director of Rice’s Chao Center for Asian Studies, the publication also received the prestigious 2005 Best New Journal award from CELJ. The special issue explored the notions of trauma and memory in relation to societies in Asia in recent history. Essays ranged from discussions of ghosts and politics to analysis of militarized sexual slavery during Japanese imperialism. It also included reflections on surviv- ing Khmer Rouge extermination camps in Burma, an examination of the 1997 Asian finance crisis and a discussion of fantasies about the atom bomb contained in the manga “Akira.” “I am particularly proud of this award because ‘War Capital Trauma’ seeks to make a historical and philosophical contribution to thinking about our own moment,” said Barlow, who also serves as the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Asian Studies. “It is a great honor to receive the Best Special Issue award from our peers and to know that scholars and readers are claiming a stake in this debate about politics, capital, suffering and the future.” —Jessica Stark Read the introduction to “War Capital Trauma”: ››› www.ricemagazine.info/12 For more information about the Chao Center, visit: ››› chaocenter.rice.edu
  18. 18. 16 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine BRC à la Cart When the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) begins blaz- ing new biomedical trails in July, faculty, staff and students travel- ing to the new center from campus will need a trail of their own. Fortunately, Rice’s Facilities, Engineering and Planning department anticipated the need and has constructed a 1,000-foot-long path for that purpose. For use by pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers of the university’s small electric service carts, the path originates near Wiess College, passes through the storm-water detention basin, and runs between Main Street and the track stadium. Since university carts are not allowed to cross public thoroughfares, the path ends in a cart parking lot at the corner of Main Street and University Boulevard. Pedestrians and bicyclists can then access the BRC via the inter- section’s pedestrian crosswalk. Rice University graduate stu- dents have a new place to call home with the opening in January of the Rice Village Apartments, located on Shakespeare Street, one block south of the Rice Village. The four-story residential building, totaling 119,000 square feet, features 237 beds in 137 fully furnished units, a bike room and dedicated shuttle service to and from the university. Ryan Moore, manager of networking for Network Management, put his ingenuity to work to create this family of tiny Lego owlets, which were displayed in the second floor conference room of the Mudd Building. An Advanced Degree of Living Owlets Let Your Mind Fly It was no mere flight of fancy. To commemorate the December 1903 flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright — and in the “spirit of intellectual mischief” — anonymous students stealthily mount- ed an overhead display of paper airplanes in the main foyer of Anne and Charles Duncan Hall. At least that’s what the note they left said. The note also encouraged passersby to “take a moment to appreciate being here,” “take on the knowledge of the ages” and “feed an intellectual curiosity.” No one has come forward to claim responsibility for this feat, which, according to Carolie Allgood, school administrator in the George R. Brown School of Engineering, “took a good bit of planning and fishing line.” OwletsOwletsOwletshen the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) begins blaz- Owlets Anne and Charles Duncan Hall. At least that’s what the note they left said. The note also encouraged passersby to “take a moment to appreciate being here,” “take on the knowledge of the ages” and “feed an intellectual curiosity.” No one has come forward to claim responsibility for this feat, which, according to Carolie Allgood, school administrator in the George R. Brown School of Engineering, “took a OwletsOwletsOwlets
  19. 19. SallyportT H R O U G H T H E Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 17 “Subha’s experience with integrating diversity into one of the world’s leading financial com- panies, and Suzanne’s commitment to pro- tecting visual and cultural heritage around the world will give our board special insight into issues that have become increasingly important as Rice extends its international reach and interaction,” board Chairman Jim Crownover ’65 said. “They are wonderful ad- ditions to our board.” President David Leebron said Barry and Deal Booth have already benefited Rice in many ways. “Subha’s interna- tional expertise and network were a huge help when Sallie Keller-McNulty and I made our visit to India in 2007 to meet with educational, business and government leaders,” he said. “Suzanne’s active involvement with the Rice Art Committee has helped expose our stu- dents to all aspects of art, and she has also helped Rice build collaborations with Houston’s art community and museums through the Suzanne Deal Booth Collaborative Arts Fund. (See story on Page 44–45.) “Both bring expertise and experience that will contribute richly to the objectives we’ve set in our Vision for the Second Century, extending our international reach and Houston outreach among them.” Barry earned a master of business and public management degree and a master of accounting degree from Rice’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business in 1985 before joining Merrill Lynch in 1989. There, she has served as a financial adviser and branch manager in the private client group and cre- ated the firm’s Multicultural and Diversified Business Development group, which helped establish Merrill Lynch as the pre-eminent wealth-management firm among diverse and multicultural markets. She then served as head of Global Diversity and Inclusion for Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., with responsibility for managing and integrating existing and new diversity efforts across the corpora- tion worldwide. In 2005, she was appointed to her current role as managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Barry serves on the board and the Corporate Circle advisory committee of the National Council for Research on Women. She is a Corporate Council member of the White House Project and a Hidden Brain Drain Task Force member. She also serves on the advisory board for Voice, Hyperion’s imprint for women. Barry’s awards include the Women’s Fund of New Jersey Award for Outstanding Achievement in Banking and Finance, and she has been inducted into the YWCA of the city of New York’s Academy of Woman Achievers. The National Organization for Women honored her as one of its 2008 Women of Power and Influence. A three-time cancer survivor, Barry supports and coaches newly diagnosed patients with coping strate- gies and work/life balance. Barry serves on the Jones School’s Council of Overseers and has been exten- sively involved with Rice by attending alum- ni events in the New York area and Jones School events on campus. She and her hus- band, Jim ’84, are Rice Associates and estab- lished the James and Subha Barry Fellowship in Business to provide financial assistance to students at the Jones School. One of their children — Tara — is an undergraduate in Rice’s class of 2010. Native Texan Deal Booth graduated cum laude from Rice in 1977 with a B.A. in art history. Through the work-study program at Rice and her later studies at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, where she received an M.A. degree in art history and a certificate in art conservation, Deal Booth benefited from the direct guidance of legend- ary Houston art collector and philanthropist Dominique de Menil. Inspired by de Menil, Deal Booth has made a career of preserving art and his- tory. She has worked at such notable insti- tutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Menil Collection and, with a grant from the Smithsonian Institution, at the Museum of New Mexico. Her postgraduate fellowship, funded by the Kress Foundation, took her to the Centre Pompidou in Paris, where she restored important 20th-century paintings. She then moved to Los Angeles to work at the Getty Conservation Institute and, later, as a consultant at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Deal Booth and her hus- band, David, created the Booth Heritage Foundation, which provides many cultural activities and community services, and founded the Friends of Heritage Preservation, a nonprofit or- ganization that responds to critical preservation needs in the United States and abroad. They also established the Booth Family Rome Prize Fellowship for Historic Preservation and Conservation at the American Academy in Rome. Deal Booth recently started a publishing company, Orsini Press, which published “Venus Rising” by her father, Harry William Deal. She serves on boards for the Centre Pompidou Foundation, the American Academy in Rome, the Geffen Playhouse, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and the art committee for the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. At Rice, in addition to co-chairing the Rice Art Committee, she serves on the Humanities Advisory Board and the Art History Advisory Committee. She has supported lecture series and museum collaborations and commis- sioned art pieces, such as the James Turrell public art installation that will be located by the Shepherd School of Music. She is a mem- ber of Rice Associates and the William Marsh Rice Society. —B.J. Almond Subha Viswanathan Barry Suzanne Deal Booth Barry, Deal Booth Elected Rice Trustees Rice University alumnae Subha Viswanathan Barry and Suzanne Deal Booth have been elected to the Rice Board of Trustees.
  20. 20. 18 www.rice.edu/ricemagazinewww.rice.edu/ricemagazine They are Faheem Ahmed ’09 and Anish Patel ’09, who entered the “Oscar Correspondent Contest” sponsored by MTV’s 24-hour college network and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The prize was the chance to hobnob with the stars on the red carpet while serving as special mtvUcorrespondentsfortheAcademyAwardsceremony.Alltheyhadtodo to win was impress film professionals and a huge, video-savvy audience. The competition called for teams of two student journalists to submit short videosThe competition called for teams of two student journalists to submit short videos explaining why they would make great correspondents for the 81st Academyexplaining why they would make great correspondents for the 81st Academy Awards. Ten semifinalist teams were selected, and online voters narrowed the listAwards. Ten semifinalist teams were selected, and online voters narrowed the list to three and finally selected Ahmed and Patel as the winners.to three and finally selected Ahmed and Patel as the winners. The duo knew they’d be up against some tough competition, so they pulledThe duo knew they’d be up against some tough competition, so they pulled out their unconventional wisdom to create a two-minute video essay that brokeout their unconventional wisdom to create a two-minute video essay that broke the mold of typical contest entries in which hopefuls list reasons they should bethe mold of typical contest entries in which hopefuls list reasons they should be chosen. Ahmed suited up in a tuxedo, grabbed a microphone and began inter-chosen. Ahmed suited up in a tuxedo, grabbed a microphone and began inter- viewing other Rice students, who acted as celebrities.viewing other Rice students, who acted as celebrities. “Most of it was improv,” Ahmed said. “Anish and I would see someone we“Most of it was improv,” Ahmed said. “Anish and I would see someone we knew on campus, grab them and explain to them quickly what we were doing.knew on campus, grab them and explain to them quickly what we were doing. Then we’d come up with a celebrity for them to be and go from there. EveryoneThen we’d come up with a celebrity for them to be and go from there. Everyone was happy to help.”was happy to help.” The finalists were then asked to do a short follow-up video about people theyThe finalists were then asked to do a short follow-up video about people they were looking forward to meeting at the Oscars. While the other contestants listedwere looking forward to meeting at the Oscars. While the other contestants listed celebrity names, the Rice students used a Bollywood-style dance number to showcelebrity names, the Rice students used a Bollywood-style dance number to show their hopes of meeting the cast of “Slumdog Millionaire,” the Oscar-winning filmtheir hopes of meeting the cast of “Slumdog Millionaire,” the Oscar-winning film set in Mumbai, India.set in Mumbai, India. “I can’t wait to ask the directors how they take the written word and turn it“I can’t wait to ask the directors how they take the written word and turn it into a motion picture,” Ahmed said before leaving for his assignment. “But we’reinto a motion picture,” Ahmed said before leaving for his assignment. “But we’re also excited to ask actress Freida Pinto if she’s single — you know, get answers toalso excited to ask actress Freida Pinto if she’s single — you know, get answers to the important questions.” Pinto was lead actress in “Slumdog Millionaire.”the important questions.” Pinto was lead actress in “Slumdog Millionaire.” Theycame.Theyfilmed.Theyconquered. FaheemandAnishGotoHollywood
  21. 21. Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 19 Students A trip to the 81st Academy Awards might not be a professional mile- stone for most premed students, but Ahmed and Patel, both members of the highly selective Rice University/Baylor College of Medicine Medical Scholars Program, are anything but conventional. Their love for medicine is matched perhaps only by their love for entertaining others. Actively involved in Rice Sketch Comedy and the South Asian Society, both students dream of going to medical school, practicing medicine and then becoming medical correspondents. “This experience gave us a glimpse into how the media influences peo- ple,” Patel said. “We would like to use that influence to help and entertain people.” “I don’t know if I’d say it changed my life,” Ahmed said, “but it definitely impacted my career path.” Did they accomplish their objective of meeting the cast of “Slumdog Millionaire”? Of course. “Interviewing them was definitely the most memorable part of the night,” Patel said. “Their story is incredible. Not just the movie, but also the people who played those characters. It’s probably the biggest transition ever seen at the Oscars — from the slums of Mumbai to the red carpet of Hollywood.” “The kids were my favorite because they were the most genuine and were so excited to be there,” Ahmed said. “Like us, it was their first time on the red carpet. They reflected a lot of what we were feeling — that happiness and excitement, that ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me.’” Ahmed and Patel asked the children to show them some dances, but unfortunately, that didn’t help them win the affections of Freida Pinto. “I blurted out, ‘I’m in love with you,’” Ahmed recalled. “But then I turned to Dev Patel [the film’s male lead] and told him I felt the same way about him. You know, I had to cover my tracks.” Among others they got to meet were Danny Boyle, Frank Langella, Danny Glover, Marisa Tomei, Anthony Hopkins, Queen Latifa and Baz Luhrmann. They also got to interview Oscar winners in the backstage pressroom and attend the Governor’s Ball. “It was exciting to see how it feels to be a celebrity,” Patel said, “but I definitely want to do something behind the camera. My real passion is writing.” “I love everything about the camera,” Ahmed said. “Being in front of it or behind it, I love it. This experience made me realize I can’t discount my passion for journalism. Instead, I’ll have to find an entertaining way to do both that and medicine.” So, could the duo take to the red carpet as Oscar hopefuls themselves? “We definitely would want to keep medicine as our focus, but who’s to say we won’t incor- porate that in some way to make something Academy Award–worthy?” Patel said. “Maybe it’s not probable. But, then again, it wasn’t probable that two students from Rice — a small private school without a journalism program — would win a contest for student journalists.” —Jessica Stark See the winning videos: ››› ricemagazine.info/03
  22. 22. 20 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine Montgomery, a bioengineering major, served as both an investigator and a test subject in an experiment to examine how a person’s sense of direction is impacted by lack of gravity and whether a simple device can improve the ability to navigate. The students, mentored by Scott Wood of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, planned details of the ex- periment while working as interns last summer at the NASA Johnson Space Center. “We use our sense of gravity as an anchor to orient ourselves, but in a microgravity environment, the sense of down isn’t clear, and that can cause problems when navigat- ing around a large space craft like the space station,” said Wood. “The inner ear plays a role in detecting your orientation relative to gravity, so some patients with inner-ear disorders have similar navigation problems.” The students tested a belt-like device to determine if it improved navigation ability. The wide belt contained a series of equally spaced pagerlike vibrators that signaled the direction of the floor to the wearer. The ex- periment was conducted in an aircraft that simulates weightlessness, or microgravity, by going into steep dives. A chair aboard the aircraft was fixed in a tilted position that could be rotated and then locked into any one of 360 degrees. One student served as the subject, seated in the chair wearing sound-canceling earphones and virtual- reality goggles, and the other students ran the experiment. During each microgravity period of the flight, the subject was turned in the chair to a random position and shown an image in their goggles of a location in the plane — cockpit, rear, or left or right side. Using a hand controller, the subject then indicated the direction needed to travel to get to that area of the plane. During the experiment, the subjects were randomly tested with and without the belt’s cues. The students will analyze the results to Kate Montgomery was both researcher and guinea pig in an experiment to learn if a simple tactile device can improve a person’s sense of direction in a weightless environment. FindingYourWayWhenYouDon’tWeighaThing determine if the belt improved a person’s ability to navigate while in micrograv- ity. They hope to publish the results of the study in a scientific journal, but the immediate benefit of the study will be to elementary- and middle-school classes in the students’ hometowns. “Each of us committed to give pre- sentations to local schools,” Montgomery said. “We hope to teach younger students a little about microgravity and our experi- ment while showing them that science can definitely be fun.” But the belt’s usefulness doesn’t stop there. It also could be modified for use in extravehicular activities on the moon — vi- brators could be programmed to fire in the direction a crew member needs to go. In addition, it could become an aid for patients with neurological disorders experiencing navigation problems. The student research was supported by funds from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and the private corpora- tion Excalibur Almaz and was conducted through NASA’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. —Kathy Major Want an education that is out of this world? Find out what’s happening in the Rice Department of Bioengineering: ››› engr.rice.edu/ Discover how Rice’s Centennial Campaign is helping prepare Rice students for the world: ››› www.rice.edu/centennialcampaign Many people resolved to lose weight this year, but Kathryn “Kate” Montgomery ’09 and her student col- leagues from six other universities aspired to be weightless.
  23. 23. Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 21 “Thursday’s child has far to go,” says the old nursery rhyme, and Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram ’09 is proof positive. For the founder and administrator of the Rawfully Organic produce co-op, Thursdays start at 6 a.m. as she works with area farms to order and pick up organic fruits and vegetables, sorts them along with produce from a local distributor, sells them to co- op members from her home in west Houston and then spends the rest of the day tying up loose ends and preparing for the following Thursday’s co-op. Carrillo-Bucaram does it for love. “I have more than 800 people on my mailing list, and I fill 60 to 90 orders per week,” she said. “I don’t make one dollar off of it, but I don’t want to say I do it all for nothing because I’ve met the most amazing people through the co-op — people who have become like family.” Participants join the co-op for the same reasons she started it in 2008: to enjoy fresh organic fruits and vegetables without paying retail prices. But for Carrillo- Bucaram, it was also a way to economically sustain a lifestyle that just may have saved her life. While a junior in high school, she began to suffer from crippling dehydration, migraine headaches and vomiting. Diagnosed with hyperglycemia, she was hospi- talized numerous times. Carrillo-Bucaram tried overhauling her diet by cutting out sugar and fruit and opting instead for chemically sweetened foods but found that her symptoms only grew worse. She lost so much weight that her classmates be- gan to spread rumors about her “eating disorder,” and she missed so much school due to hospitalization that she was only one absence away from failing to graduate — despite being at the head of her class academically. Then she met a vegetarian at a local health food store. A raw foodist who ate more than 10 pounds of fruits and veggies a day, he told her about his dietary lifestyle — known as raw foodism — in which participants eat only uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Although Carrillo-Bucaram was skeptical about the wisdom of a hyperglycemic gorging on fruit, she was desperate to feel better and decided to give it a try. “After the first day, I felt okay — no vomiting and no migraines,” she said. She kept up the diet, eventually incorporating raw vegetables, and a week later realized that her hyperglycemic symptoms had disappeared completely. Now, almost four years after going raw, Carrillo-Bucaram hasn’t even had a cold. Getting enough calories eating raw fruits and vegetables requires huge vol- umes of produce: An entire head of romaine lettuce contains only about 85 calories and a large banana about 100 calories. To sustain her raw food diet, Carrillo- Bucaram bought organic produce in bulk from local health food stores, but she was still spending upwards of $300 per week on groceries. When she asked a local organic produce distributor about buying from them wholesale and learned that their minimum order was 40 cases, she knew it was time to start thinking big. She gathered 12 foodie friends interested in healthy eat- ing, and together they split the first order. Word spread, the co-op grew — and the rest, as they say, is history. “I still pay for my own food, but I spend about $80 a week max,” Carrillo- Bucaram said. “There are some weeks when we have so much extra food that I don’t even have to pay, and we can donate surpluses to the Salvation Army, fire stations, underprivileged neighborhoods or local churches. It’s so much fun, and so much good comes out of it. It really is food that loves you back on every single level.” —Merin Porter Raw Deals For Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, helping raw foodists feed the habit is all in a day’s work. Getting enough calories eating raw fruits and vegetables requires huge volumes of produce: An entire head of romaine lettuce contains only about 85 calories and a large banana about 100 calories. Students
  24. 24. Research by graduate student Christy Franco focuses on using stem cells to help stroke victims recover neurological function. 22 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine Sometimes the Research Becomes Personal When Christy Franco learned she’d be doing pioneering re- search on using stem cells to help stroke victims recover neurological function, it was the science that drove her enthu- siasm. But things turned personal when her father suffered a debilitating stroke soon after the bioengineering doctoral stu- dent began her work at the Rice Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering. “For several days my father lost the ability to communicate,” she said. “He couldn’t speak or even write. You could see his frustration. He wanted to communicate, but he couldn’t.” Franco and her family were relieved when her father recovered, but Franco knows that not all stroke victims are so fortunate. Nor are sufferers of such brain disorders as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and that knowledge now spurs her enthusiasm. Specialized neural stem cells help make up the body’s central nervous system during human development. They also can transform themselves into any type of brain cell and can be used to replace cells lost to disease or injury. “Since we know the brain has very limited capacity for self- renewal and repair after an injury,” Franco said, “the idea is to find an effective niche to allow neural stem cells to grow and differentiate in the lab.” As part of the process, the Dallas native collaborated with colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine to gather stem cells for microscopic encapsulation into tiny polymer beads through a unique emulsion technique. The gelatin-like polymer substance is specially designed to help regenerate both brain tissue and blood supply. It is hoped that microencapsulated cells from the niche can be placed into the damaged brains of stroke patients to provide a source of neural and vascular cells that may develop and differentiate. The process could lead to repairing injured tissue and restoring function in stroke victims or people with other brain diseases. This summer, Franco flew to the Centre for the Cellular Basis of Behaviour at King’s College London to share the microencapsulation technique. It was used there for the first time in trials to inject cells into the brains of stroke-damaged rats. “To date, one of the greatest challenges in reconstructing brain tissue in stroke victims has been to provide structural support to neural stem cells in a cavity,” said Michel Modo, the Wolfson Lecturer in Stem Cell Imaging at King’s College London. “What the research from the Rice team has allowed us to do now is to inject these cells into this hole with a support structure that potentially could recon- struct the lost tissue.” Franco’s research at Rice is supervised by Jennifer West, the Isabel C. Cameron Professor and chair of the bioengineering depart- ment. The work is being funded by a three-year, $2.9 million inaugu- ral Quantum Grant from the National Institutes of Health. Rice and Baylor researchers are the recipients and head up an international collaborative effort to push the research. Franco is happy to be contributing to the research and plans to continue working in the field after she earns her doctorate. “I really believe in this work,” she said. “And my dad says he’s waiting for me to come up with a cure for people who’ve suffered strokes.” —Dwight Daniels
  25. 25. Clinton Honors Microfinanciers Small thinking brought a big honor to officers of Owl Microfinance in February when they were recognized at the Clinton Global Initiative University for their efforts to help the poor help themselves by start- ing businesses. The group began in a bioengineering class taught by Rice 360˚ Director Rebecca Richards-Kortum, where juniors Josh Ozer and Dillon Eng worked out a training program for microentrepre- neurs. The students raise money from events, tutoring and private donations to microfinance projects in Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, China, Cameroon and elsewhere. Along with vice presidents Tommy Fu ’09 and sophomore Elena White, Ozer and Eng are working with a Rice alum at a Houston law firm to incorporate Owl Microfinance, transforming it from a student club into a nonprofit organization. —Mike Williams Sandheep Surendran ’00, who now engineers solar technologies, is one of many recent graduates who have risen to the challenge by making a gift to the Rice Annual Fund for Student Life and Learning. After earning a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Rice, Surendran worked in the toy and automotive industry designing products that he later realized were ulti- mately destined for the landfill. Concerned by the environmental and social effects of global warming, he chose to pursue a new path in clean technology. Today, he provides solar technology expertise as an independent consultant with Surya Design and also develops his own solar solutions. L E A R N M O R E w w w.rice.edu /centennialchallenge Sandheep Surendran with stacks of concentrated photovoltaic receivers that he designed “I want to support an environment and culture “I want to support an environment and culture “I want to support an that I am a product of.” [ W H Y I G I V E ] Centennial Challenge to Young Alumni Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 23 The officers of Owl Microfinance were honored at the Clinton Global Initiative University: L–R, standing: Dillon Eng, Tommy Fu and Elena White ; sitting: Josh Ozer. See a video of Clinton talking about Owl Microfinance and making the presentation: ››› ricemagazine.info/05 Students
  26. 26. 24 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine Definingand Realizing B Y D A V I D L E E B R O N Definingand Realizing Defining Realizing Definingand Realizing and
  27. 27. Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 25 It is especially powerful because the aspirations he put forth were more ambi- tious and farsighted than an institution of Rice’s modest beginnings and size had any right to expect. After all, Rice matriculated a mere 59 students that first year, and they were taught by a faculty of 10 on a campus that consisted of four buildings. Lovett saw more: He saw an institution that would “aspire to university standing of the highest grade” and that would “assign no upper limit to its educational endeavor.” Rice’s founding Board of Trustees shared that ambition. They could have purchased 30 acres in downtown Houston on which to build the institute. Rather, they purchased nearly 300 acres at what was then the consid- erable distance of three miles from down- town. They wanted enough land for growth for Rice to emerge as a leading university across a broad spectrum of human endeavor. Early maps actually included sites for a medi- cal school and a law school. Some might have called that hubris. In the northeast, where I come from, we call it chutzpah. But there is no doubt that Lovett and the founders had big plans for Rice and the courage to take the necessary actions, and even some risks, to realize them. Lovett took that courage even further when he embarked, in 1908, on an arduous nine- month journey to personally survey leading academic institutions around the world. He interviewed university presidents and professors, recruited eminent faculty and toured facilities in an effort to distill the best elements of higher education and apply them to the new institute. Lovett returned to Texas from that journey just over 100 years ago. Two things emerged with clarity from his voyage: his view that Rice should aspire to be among the best universities of the world, and that it should take an international perspective in formulating its ambitions and measuring its success. The Rice University we know and esteem today is, in large part, a product of that journey of discovery. Each of my predecessors since President Lovett has contributed to the further achievement of his vision. Each seized op- portunities that the times presented. The sig- nificance of NASA coming to Houston — and of John F. Kennedy promising, in his famous speech in Rice Stadium, a manned landing on the moon by the end of the 1960s — was, for example, not lost on President Kenneth Pitzer, who responded to Kennedy’s gesture by creating, in 1963, the first university space science department. Pitzer also notably increased the breadth of scholarship and research at Rice. To make the young institute immediately viable, Lovett had advocated a concentration on science and engineering, but he also recognized the need to later strengthen the arts, which included the humanities and social sciences. Under Pitzer’s tenure, Rice further developed the School of Architecture, the Department of Art and Art History and the Office of Continuing Studies — now the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. When we herald the 100th anniversary of Rice’s opening in three years, we will remember much more than a single event. Rather, we celebrate all that has flowed from the founding accomplishment and the hard work and sustained vision since then. These include the launching of suc- cessful interdisciplinary efforts such as the Rice Quantum Institute, the Chao Center for Asian Studies and the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. The success of the James A. Baker III Institute, The Shepherd School of Music and the Jesse H. Jones School of Business is testimony to the capacity of Rice to think boldly and expand the scope of its endeavor. We have been bold and yet pru- dent, and that combination has enabled us to move our great institution forward in changing and challenging times. The Rice that people attended 50 years ago is not the same Rice of 25 years ago or the Rice of today. The question that demands our attention as we celebrate our centennial is what the Rice of 25, 50 or 100 years from now will be. Will we have continued on our historic trajectory toward greater scope and prominence, or will we have paused and, in so doing, perhaps fallen behind in the dynamic and highly competitive landscape of higher education? Of course, even as we progress and adapt, there are things about our beloved Rice than must endure, and it is equally critical to our success that we recognize and sustain those. These include, for example, the extraordinary quality of our students, our supportive and collegial atmosphere, the small classes and the access students have to their professors, the college system, the beautiful green campus environment and the sense of student responsibility that we seek to nurture. These values and characteristics of Rice are not obstacles to our progress, but essential elements of it. We have earned the right to celebrate Rice and all we have achieved on the occa- sion of our centennial. But we will celebrate not merely by looking back, but rather by taking from that history a sense of confi- dence and destiny that informs and shapes a bold future. Four years ago we launched the Call to Conversation, which produced the Vision for the Second Century. Over the next few years, it is the continuing responsibility of all of us who care deeply about Rice to continue the process of defining and real- izing the vision that will not merely carry on the legacy of our founding, but will take us to ever greater achievement. An early and abiding image of Rice University is a photograph of our first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, articulating his vision for the university before an international audience of scientists, scholars and dignitaries at Rice’s opening ceremony on Oct. 12, 1912. PresidentF R O M T H E
  28. 28. The chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees reflects on his past and the university that has played such a large role in his life. By Mike Williams Unique 26 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine
  29. 29. Rice Magazine • No. 3 • 2009 27 Jim Crownover ’65was in the Rice infirmary suffering from the flu when he got a lesson that may have been the most last- ing of his undergraduate days. “I remember a professor of chemical engineering, Harry Deans,” said Crownover. “He was young, but he was a bigger-than-life figure, a real terror. A brilliant guy. He came by the infirmary. I will never forget that. He just sat there, and we talked — about school and all sorts of different things. For me, it captured the feeling, which is still here, of the relationships Rice students have with their professors.” That incident motivates Crownover to this day. He feels respon- sible for preserving Rice as a place where those close relationships can form, because he knows what they’ve meant to him, even as he guides the university through a period of change and growth. “I was smart enough to seek people out,” Crownover said recent- ly as he relaxed with coffee cup in hand in an Allen Center confer- ence room. “Life is a contact sport — you’ve got to seek people out. Talk to them. Find out their views. And I learned that here at Rice because people were so accessible. Even if you didn’t quite know what you were going to learn, you learned something.” My simple, simple life After a career in the contact sport of business consulting, Crownover came back to Rice, where he’s still learning: He’s even taken a couple of undergraduate Spanish classes in recent years. A member of the Rice Board of Trustees since 1999, he replaced Bill Barnett as chairman in 2005. Recently, he was elected by his fellow trustees to a second term that will run until 2013, which will take him through Rice’s Centennial celebration and complete his service to the board. Crownover characterizes himself as “a very loyal, steady guy.” “I have a wife of 32 years, I have a clothier of 32 years, I worked with McKinsey for 30 years. I went from Rice to Stanford, Stanford to McKinsey and then back to Rice,” he said. “Welcome to my simple, simple life.” Simple? Crownover’s friends would disagree. Armed with an MBA from Stanford (where his daughter, Mary Corwin Crownover, now studies architecture), he joined the global management consult- ing firm McKinsey & Co. in 1968, eventually rose to its board of directors and also served as co-chairman of McKinsey’s worldwide energy practice. In the early years, charged with running the Houston-based southwest office, Crownover found himself trying to gain a foothold in an energy industry that, he said, deeply mistrusted outsiders. Thanks to his perseverance and skill, McKinsey survived and thrived in Houston while many competitors failed. “Jim became really important in my life when I persuaded him to go to Texas,” said his former boss, D. Ronald Daniel, who headed McKinsey in the 1970s and 1980s. “The office kind of went sideways until I was able to get Jim there, and then McKinsey in Texas really took off.” You’re lucky! This is a good deal! Crownover was thrilled at the prospect of moving back to Texas, but not his wife, Molly. “When it looked like we were going to move, Molly was tearful,” he recalled. But Crownover had an ally in her parents, native Californians who were stationed in Corpus Christi during World War II. “They said, ‘You’re lucky! This is a good deal!’ They had a tremendous affection for Texas.” It didn’t take long for both Jim and Molly to become well known and respected, in part because of their generous contributions of time and talents to the Houston community. Crownover has served on the boards of the United Way, Houston Grand Opera and many other worthy causes. “The man has a heart bigger than Texas,” said Anna Babin, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Houston, which named Crownover its Volunteer of the Year — twice. “When Jim Crownover speaks, it’s after much thought and consideration, and people listen.” “Jim is able to help people understand the key role we play and establish great relationships,” added Anne Neeson, United Way’s vice president of donor relations. “That’s the basis of his approach to fundraising.” Neeson considers Crownover her mentor. “I have this little card in my desk with something I’ve heard him say often. He says you’ve got to constantly ask yourself, ‘Am I a valued member of a team in pursuit of a noble purpose?’ I think about that a lot.” The Stanford Graduate School of Business also appreciates Crownover’s extensive input and honored him last year with its John W. Gardner Volunteer Leadership Award. “He’s just phenome- nal in what he’s done as a volunteer,” said Robert Joss, the school’s dean. “Helpful and selfless — he’s a terrific guy. The last three reunions in a row, his class has set fundraising records. And he’s a real leader of that class.” for a Unique Time
  30. 30. This one is too big … At 6 feet 2 inches tall, with sparkling blue eyes and a big smile, Crownover projects a warmth that tells you something about how he thrived for so long in the world of business consulting. In conversa- tion, he doesn’t shy away from topics that can be controversial. He prefers to deal with them head-on while keeping the Rice board focused on the long view. Those issues include the growth of the campus and expansion of the undergraduate student body, financial challenges caused by the struggling global economy and its effect on Rice’s endowment, and discussion of a pos- sible combination with nearby Baylor College of Medicine. He expects that the Rice–Baylor issue alone — still in discussion between the two institu- tions as of press time — will keep the board occupied through many hours of meetings. “For some issues, we can form an ad hoc committee and say, ‘Look, you study this thing and come back with a recommendation,’” Crownover said. “This one is too big for that. I want the entire board to get all the information possible.” Having Baylor as a member of the Rice family “appears to make a great deal of strategic sense for the university,” he said, although it would be a complex undertaking that requires a mixture of vision, courage and prudence. “There are many issues the board has looked at, but the most difficult questions are: Can we bring all the neces- sary participants together, and can we make it work financially?” People told me I had no chance Crownover deserves considerable credit for bringing David Leebron to Rice as its seventh president. He led the search committee for a suc- cessor to retiring President Malcolm Gillis and was the first from Rice to meet with Leebron, then dean of Columbia Law School. “People told me I had no chance,” Crownover recalled. “They said, ‘You’re not going to get him to leave New York.’” But, as he said, you’ve got to go seek people out. “I had breakfast with David at the Palace Hotel in New York and met him at 7:30 or 8,” he recalled. “At 11 o’clock, we parted, and I don’t think either one of us looked at our watches. Just three hours, locked in.” “We really hit it off, and my first impression was that Jim was very engaging,” said Leebron. “Jim is an incredibly thoughtful, dogged person. Sometimes when you’re talking on the phone you have to ask, ‘Are you still there?’ Because he’s thinking, listening. He’ll often leave a meeting and call me five minutes later with a question or another idea because he’s still thinking about it.” Crownover had an early ally in his campaign to lure Leebron to Rice in Y. Ping Sun, Leebron’s wife and now university representative. “Partway through the process, I’d given him some advice, and there was a moment when Ping turned to David and said, ‘Trust Jim,’” he recalled, pleased to have won her confidence. “That was important.” “Jim felt from the beginning,” said Leebron, “that the secret to get- ting me was getting Ping.” I just dropped off the face of the Earth Crownover’s own reconnection with Rice took a while, and there was a note of frustration in his voice when he said he had no contact with the university for decades, despite his status as a community leader in Houston. “Literally, I was not contacted by Rice for more than 20 years, other than maybe a letter,” he said. “I just dropped off the face of the Earth.” A series of chance meetings with Rice trustees spurred the quest to get him more involved, and Crownover quickly found out why. He recalled the wisdom of a Rice financial officer at his board orientation in 1999. “The very first words out of his mouth were, ‘The big endow- ment is good news and bad news.’ I said, ‘I think I understand the good news, but what’s the bad news?’ He said, ‘Rice always felt like it had a lot of money. It developed in a way that’s very different from other universities. It didn’t feel the need to be aggressive.’” Something needed to change, and Crownover came back to Rice as great change was brewing. There was a new emphasis on fundrais- ing that has evolved into the current $1 billion Centennial Campaign, and the board was evolving as well. Among other things, it had grown from a two-tiered organization with permanent appointees to a larger board with fixed terms. As an agent of change in the business world, Crownover was quite comfortable taking on a new set of challenges — even though he said it sometimes felt “like building a bridge under traffic.” McKinsey’s Daniel understands the challenges business profes- sionals face in an academic environment — he served as one of the seven board members of the Harvard Corporation and as the univer- sity’s treasurer and also has been on the boards of Brandeis, Wesleyan and Rockefeller universities. He said Crownover is uniquely suited to 28 www.rice.edu/ricemagazine Jim Crownover addressed an enthusiastic crowd at the campus Centennial Campaign kick-off celebration. With him, from the left, were Rice President David Leebron and campaign co-chair Bobby Tudor.

×