Leebron’s world tour

Rice president will meet alumni in cities in US, Turkey and Brazil

As Edgar O. Lovett prepared to become Rice’s first president, he traveled the world and visited top educational institutions to form a vision for Rice. This year, to mark the university’s centennial year, President David Leebron is capturing the spirit of that journey with some travels of his own.

David Leebron

David Leebron

“Celebrate Rice: The World Tour” won’t follow in Lovett’s footsteps exactly – but it will take Leebron around the United States, to Brazil and to Turkey, and it will culminate in Houston with the Centennial Celebration in October.

Leebron’s tour kicked off in Austin on Thursday, when about 220 Rice alumni, friends and parents gathered at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Over the next few months, Leebron will travel to similar events in San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

Each event will celebrate the centennial through storytelling, said Kevin Foyle, associate vice president of development. There’ll be a celebration of the first 100 years: History professor and Rice historian John Boles ’65 will tell the story of Lovett and Rice’s beginnings, and local alumni will speak about their own college memories. (To encourage even more alumni participation, a Centennial Story Project booth will be at each event, giving alums a chance to record their favorite Rice moments on video.) Then Leebron, Foyle said, “will tell the story of Rice’s future” – what lies ahead in the university’s next 100 years.

The president’s two international trips won’t be exactly like the stateside visits, Foyle said. Later this month, Leebron will travel to Sao Paulo with a city delegation led by Houston Mayor Annise Parker ’78. And in June, Leebron’s trip to Istanbul will be part of the Association of Rice Alumni’s first international Alumni College. There, Leebron and a panel of Rice speakers – including Boles and Ambassador Edward Djerejian, founding director of Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy – will offer a program for alumni while they’re in the city. (See the “Celebrate Rice Istanbul” page for registration information.)

Leebron’s trips aren’t designed to follow in Lovett’s footsteps, Foyle said. But the entire tour is designed to celebrate Lovett’s vision.

“Lovett made the original world tour to go and see the best educational institutions around the world to inform his vision for the creation of the Rice Institute,” he said. “This is sort of a nod to that.”

For details about each of Leebron’s alumni meetings, go to the Rice alumni events calendar.


About Alyson Ward

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