Parents respond to president’s messages

Rice News staff

Before, during and after Hurricane Ike, Rice President David Leebron made it a priority to post notices on the university’s Web site, describing the conditions on campus and reassuring students’ parents that their sons and daughters were safe.

Brown College residents help with the cleanup after Hurricane Ike.

”Our most serious problem after the storm was the extremely low water pressure in the city,” wrote Leebron. ”For more than a day, students had to aggressively conserve water (no showers and limited toilet flushing).” Normal water pressure returned by Monday, and the campus never lost power during the storm, he noted.

”A natural disaster such as a hurricane is never a welcome event. That said, I think we can take pride in how the Rice community responded to this one,” Leebron wrote.

Many parents responded in kind, as a sampling of their e-mail shows.

Marci Waters of Moorestown, N.J., wrote, ”If our children are remarkable it is, in part, because they have received a remarkable education, both inside and outside the classroom, at Rice University. Thank you for keeping them safe and for instilling in them the importance of coming to the aid of those less fortunate than they.”

Joan Vance Behr of Northfield, Minn., noted that neither her son, a freshman at Rice, nor anyone else in her family had experienced a hurricane. ”Thank you for realizing the 
degree of anxiety this produces in parents and for responding to it,” she wrote.

Steve Altchuler of Rochester, Minn., wrote, ”My wife and I have many friends, family and colleagues in the Houston area. Of all of them, our daughter — the Rice student — was the one about whom we had the least worries.”

And from Ann and Louis Gilbert, ”As parents of Jones College junior Hunter Gilbert, we wanted to thank you and the entire Rice community for ensuring the safety and well-being of all Rice students during this past weekend. … Even though Hunter is living off campus this year, it was so comforting to know that he and his roommates were welcome and expected back at Jones during the storm.”

One worried mother wrote from Serbia. ”You can only imagine our state of minds, our worries and anxiety these past days since this terrible natural disaster stormed through your town and state,” wrote Zorica Nakic. ”I am writing to express my deepest thanks for everything you did for our children, making sure that they are safe, and to tell you that the only bright light in that long night between Sept. 12-13, and the following morning … was your constant update on the Rice University Web site.

”I had no way of communicating with my son, since the phone lines were interrupted, but your calming letters helped me, a helpless mother so far away from her child. I spent all night watching CNN, watching those terrifying pictures and reports, and waiting for your next update on the situation in Houston and Rice, which would assure me again that everything will be all right.”

Read more parents’ letters here.



About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.