Since its inception in 1984, "An Evening in Rice's Honour" has raised more than $5 million for scholarships and athletic programs at Rice University. That number was bumped up by $256,000 following Wednesday night's black-tie dinner at River Oaks Country Club.
Applause, applause for Cynthia and Bucky Allshouse and Linda and Dr. Walter McReynolds, who have together chaired the biennial fundraiser almost from the beginning.
The evening honored Rice alumni Jay Collins and Steve Trauber. In his remarks to the gathering of more than 300, Rice University president David Leebron noted, "They bring a kind of optimism and commitment and generosity that it's going to take for us to continue to succeed."
With Rice capturing five conference titles in the last year, Leebron said, "When I look at our teams and our students, I think that we are on a great trajectory."
"T o win conference championships and to have a 100 percent graduation rate — that is what we aim for. We aim for the lifetime success of our student athletes."
Indeed, Rice has a new athletic director — Joe Karlgaard, most recently of Stanford — to help carry the banner. Karlgaard and his wife, Jill, were among those stepping out for the cause as was football coach David Bailiff, swimming coach Seth Huston and women's tennis coach Elizabeth Schmidt.
Recounting exasperation with the NCAA and understanding the challenges that Rice Athletics faces, Leebron said, "I am even more proud about what we do as a university committed to the success of athletics but most importantly committed to our students and the success of our student athletes. And to win conference championships and to have a 100 percent graduation rate — that is what we aim for. We aim for the lifetime success of our student athletes and that is what we achieve."
As is tradition, the celebration continued with dancing to the sounds of the popular Yvonne Washington.
Owl supporters dressing up for the evening included Maxine Collins, Leticia Trauber, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Becky and Ralph O'Connor, Molly Crownover, Susie Glasscock, Starlett and Ben Hollingsworth, Karen and Tom Brasher and Evyette and Tom Heatherington.