This week’s Centennial Stars

Two star staffers are good at their jobs and good to their colleagues

To celebrate the Rice Centennial, this year the university will honor 100 staff members who represent the best of Rice culture. Each week, two Centennial Stars will be recognized for their contributions to excellence, and we’ll introduce them in Rice News.

This week’s Centennial Stars – Larry Perez from Rice’s Office of Investments and Treasurer and Rachel Foster from the Office of Public Affairs – were both nominated by colleagues who admire them deeply. Here’s a look at each of their Rice careers.

Larry Perez

Larry Perez

Perez has worked at Rice since 1991, when he was hired as an assistant accountant. He was promoted to endowment analyst in 1995, assistant treasurer and senior endowment analyst in 2000 and associate treasurer in 2003. He is currently responsible for endowment budgeting and debt management.

“Larry does an exemplary job serving the campus,” said the letter that nominated him. “Larry is always willing to share his expertise and research the complexities of longstanding fund agreements to help us use them effectively.  He is always very responsive and patient with questions.”

Perez was praised for his contributions to the university, including his recent involvement in TEAMS leadership training. (TEAMS stands for “Training Enables a Manager’s Success.”) His nomination letter also lauded Perez’s commitment to building strong relationships with colleagues.

Rachel Foster

Rachel Foster

Foster came to Rice in 2007 as a temporary assistant to the vice president for Public Affairs. She became a full-time executive assistant three months after her arrival, and last year she was named executive and special projects assistant. She will take on a new role as senior Web editor in the near future.

“Rachel is generous, tireless, professional and positive,” her nomination letter said.

Her desk is, “in many ways, the control center for our division”: Foster is the first person many encounter when they contact Public Affairs, in person or over the phone. She balances those duties with a constant rotation of demanding special projects.

“Whether it is the president’s town hall or State of the University PowerPoint presentations, a metric or measurement report, a government relations software solution, a marketing program or a meeting coordination, one can always count on Rachel for a smooth and positive delivery,” her nomination letter said.

Foster’s confidence and approachable style encourage her co-workers to seek her advice regularly, the letter said. She has built connections at Rice beyond the office as well: Foster is an associate at Duncan College and a former college basketball player who likes to cheer on the Lady Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse.

Foster’s “unflappable style and her dedicated service remind all of us in Public Affairs how to be a go-to, can-do team for high-quality communication and results,” the letter said.

To nominate someone as a Centennial Star, go to For more information, contact Rebecca Millet at  To view previous Centennial Stars, visit


About Alyson Ward

Alyson Ward is a writer in Public Affairs at Rice University.