Centennial Video Series: Commencement speakers over the years at Rice University

David Ruth

Amy Hodges

HOUSTON – (May 10, 2012) – What do Bill Cosby, Jimmy Carter and Kurt Vonnegut have in common? They’ve all been featured speakers at Rice University’s annual commencement ceremony. In its 100-year history, Rice has had commencement speakers ranging from serious academics and university presidents to prominent political figures, writers and even a comedian.

In this week’s Centennial Video Series, Centennial Historian Melissa Kean and video producer Brandon Martin take a look back at the various speakers that have graced the stage at Rice’s graduation.

On May 12, Rice will hold its 99th graduation in its Academic Quad. This year’s speaker comes from the world of educational entrepreneurs: Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, a free online education platform that has produced more than 3,200 videos on a variety of subjects. Khan also was named by Time magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

To help celebrate the university’s centennial Oct. 12, Rice University is producing weekly videos exploring the school’s unique history.

The video, available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUZ1jmWFN-A, is also available to media in high quality and without music for editing purposes. For higher-quality video, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at david@rice.edu or 713-348-6327.


Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its “unconventional wisdom.” With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf.


About Amy McCaig

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