Rice Parents
Parents and Families Newsletter
Issue No. 25 - Fall 2019
A message from Dean Gorman

Greetings from Houston! I am happy to report that another year at Rice is off to a strong start for our students. Orientation Week was a success — our newest class of Owls showed great enthusiasm and energy throughout the week — and all our students have settled into campus life.

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News Around Campus

Rice ranks among top 20 in U.S. News’ national rankings

Rice University continues to rank among the top 20 national universities in the newly released 2020 U.S. News & World Report ratings of the country’s best colleges, retaining its position as the highest ranked university in Texas. Rice also ranks No. 8 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” and No. 13 for “Best Value Schools.”

Quest for new cancer treatment crosses milestone

A cancer therapy invented at Rice University has crossed a milestone in clinical trials, a major development in a decadeslong quest to develop a treatment that destroys tumors without the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy, invasive surgery and radiation. Thirteen of the first 15 prostate cancer patients treated in a clinical trial of the nanoparticle-based, focal therapy showed no detectable signs of cancer a year after treatment, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Rice students score $25,000 for Plant It Forward Farms at philanthropy conference

Competing against students from Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern and 11 other universities across the nation, Duncan College junior Lindsay Josephs and Thresa Skeslien-Jenkins ’19 spent three days pitching Plant It Forward, a local nonprofit that assists newly arrived refugees in establishing their own farms, and persuading their peers to award it a large chunk of the conference’s $150,000 purse.

Jones Graduate School of Business launches The Index podcast

Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business has launched a new podcast, The Index, which examines the science behind scandals, epiphanies, live performance and other aspects of our lives. The podcast is hosted by journalist Saul Elbein, a contributor to the New York Times Magazine and the NPR radio show “This American Life,” among other outlets. The Index’s online library means you can listen at any time.

Explore the 5 Senses of Rice

Rice University campus is a full-sensory experience on any given day, even during the languid heat of September. All five of our senses engage to hear, see, taste, smell and touch what is uniquely Rice around us. Here’s a roundup of special opportunities for new students and parents to take in the senses of Rice.


Student Life

Relive the excitement and energy of Rice’s O-Week 2019

It’s never too early to revisit the thrills of Rice University’s O-Week 2019. In our recaps, photo galleries and videos, you’ll see coverage of the week’s biggest activities, from move-in and matriculation to the Rice Rally and block parties. Relive the highlights of O-Week!

Freshman swimmer won’t let disability stop her from making a splash

Freshman swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger has barely finished her first week of college classes, but she already has a good reason for an excused absence this month: She’s going for gold. Lettenberger has spent the first two weeks of September in London representing the U.S. (and Rice) by competing in the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships.

Sarasota Serulneck ’21: The Freedom to Achieve Anything

Over the past two years, Sarasota has taken full advantage of the opportunities available to her at Rice by getting involved on campus as a Beer Bike coordinator, chair of the Social Committee for Sid Richardson, co-chair on the Student Admissions Council, tour guide for the Office of Admission and member of Rice Dance Theater. “The fact that I am able to be involved in so many areas on campus is just a testament to how much scholarships can impact a person’s life,” she notes.

“Rice gave me the skills,” triple Owl astronaut tells Rice Emerging Scholars

Shannon Walker ’87 spent six months aboard the International Space Station in 2010, but before she strapped into the Soyuz cockpit as co-pilot, the “triple Owl” earned three degrees at Rice University while learning life lessons she said equipped her for future success at NASA. “Rice prepared me,” the astronaut said July 23 while addressing the 2019 cohort of students in the Rice Emerging Scholars Program (RESP). “Rice gave me the skills.”

Students: Adding 5 ambulances would aid EMS response across Houston

Adding five ambulances to southwest neighborhoods served by the Houston Fire Department (HFD) Emergency Medical Services program would cut an average of 10 critical seconds off response times to calls for help, according to data models developed by months of student research at the Brown School of Engineering’s Center for Transforming Data to Knowledge (D2K Lab).


Parent Involvement

Register for Families Weekend by Sept. 20!

Join your Owl on campus to experience your student’s home away from home during Rice Families Weekend Sept. 27–28, 2019. From engaging lectures offered by some of Rice’s top faculty members to the annual Family Picnic and football game, Families Weekend gives visitors the opportunity to explore Rice during the height of the fall semester. Register by Sept. 20.

Medical Humanities: a Q and A with Kirsten Ostherr

Kirsten Ostherr, the Gladys Louise Fox Professor of English, is the founding director of the Medical Humanities program at Rice. Her goal is to change the way we train doctors and to revalue skills that are essential to healthcare: the ability to think critically, to develop ethical frameworks that can handle ambiguity and uncertainty, and to communicate effectively about complex challenges in patient care.

Get in touch with fellow Rice Parents

The Rice Parents Facebook Group is an online community run by Owl parents to share stories, advice, events and memories. To join, log into your Facebook account and click “request to join” at the top of the page.

Donate to The Pantry and help local communities with food insecurity.

As food insecurity becomes a growing concern in local communities, Rice is proud to join the efforts of food pantries nationwide. The Pantry operates on a good-faith basis and is an anonymous resource for local community members to get help. Parents can contact Carli Rosati (carli.m.rosati@rice.edu) for more information about how to get involved, or browse The Pantry’s wish list to give back while shopping on Amazon.

Parents and Families are welcome to attend Homecoming and Reunion on Nov. 1-2

Make your plans now to join fellow Owls, family and friends at Rice Homecoming and Reunion on Nov. 1 and 2, marking the 100th anniversary of the university’s first homecoming and the formation of the Association of Rice Alumni. We’ll be celebrating across campus with food and drink, lectures, Rice athletics, a special Town Hall event and much more.

The new Sallyportal offers professional opportunities to students and parents

The new Sallyportal provides professional connections for Owls, whether they are students, alumni or even parents. Our updated features and layout makes it easier than ever for Owls to find internship, externship, mentorship and job opportunities within the Rice community. Sign up today and see all that your student can achieve at Rice.

Order your First Look Book now

The Rice University First Look New Student Book is a full-color keepsake publication that includes photos of new students by residence hall, important information from Rice and more. You can now pre-order your parent/family copies of the Book for $30 each (includes postage and handling).



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