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Issue No. 9—Summer 2014
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A Message from the Dean of Undergraduates

Dear Parents and Family Members:

Summer at Rice is a chance for us all to catch our breath. An academic year feels like a marathon that ends in a sprint, and I hope that all of our students, faculty and staff take some time to reflect before the new academic year begins.

Now in mid-July, I am still enthusiastic about the new Commencement format celebrated weeks ago. Convocation on Friday evening was a great chance to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates. We were treated to an exhilarating new musical piece, “Fanfare for Unconventional Wisdom,” composed specially for this occasion by rising senior composition major Eric Fegan ’15. A member of the graduating class, Helene Dick ’14, presented an emotional memory and send-off for her fellow students. We also heard a challenging speech from our departing college masters, who reminded all of us that we are all privileged to study and work at Rice. Quoting from my favorite passage from this memorable speech:

“As you go through your life and profession, we urge you to maintain a sense of restraint that will counterbalance your ambition and channel it positively. With restraint, those of you who will become engineers will not compromise safety for speed. Those in finance will not take excessive risks that can benefit them in the short term, but can ruin communities and markets. Those who will be managers will not compromise workers’ health for quarterly profits. Those of you who will be artists will stimulate your audiences without offending them. And those of you who will be in government will not put special interests before your constituents.”

This past year was both uplifting, with amazing student accomplishments, but sad as we suffered losses in our community from illness or accident. All of these events serve to remind us that ours is a close-knit community of scholars and friends who support each other. I hope every one of us will take time this summer to remember our friends who are no longer with us and, in their memory, to recommit ourselves to treating every person we meet with care, respect, support and with a spirit of collaboration.

By working together, teaching each other, taking the time to speak openly and respectfully, we can continue to make Rice a place where we can study and learn in peace and safety. We have the right to expect this of each other, and Rice will hold each of us to this high standard. I write this to recruit your assistance in affirming these core values and high expectations.

Congratulations to the graduates of 2014 and to the new matriculants arriving in August!

John Hutchinson
Dean of Undergraduates