Three Houstonians with successful careers in law, architecture and business were elected to the Rice University Board of Trustees at its May 17 meeting.
Edward “Teddy” Adams Jr. ’91, partner with Fulbright & Jaworski LLP; Robert Taylor Jr. ’74, principal architect and engineer with Chelsea Architects; and Albert Chao, president, CEO and director of Westlake Chemical Corp. and a previous Rice trustee, will serve a four-year term on the board.
“Teddy’s broad professional expertise and Robert’s business leadership and accomplishments in architecture will be assets to the board,” said Chairman Jim Crownover ’65. “Also, we will again benefit from the CEO experience and business savvy of Albert Chao. I look forward to working with these acclaimed individuals as Rice celebrates its centennial year.”
President David Leebron said, “We’re glad to have two more local Rice alums joining the board. Both Robert Taylor and Teddy Adams have been active volunteers at Rice and can provide keen insight on the Rice community and alumni. And we’re fortunate to have Albert Chao, who has been a strong supporter of Rice, back on the board with us.”
Adams is a Rice alumnus with a B.A. in economics and sociology. He also has a J.D. from Stanford Law School. Adams joined Fulbright & Jaworski in 1995 after serving as a law clerk for Judge Carolyn Dineen King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Adams’ practice focuses on complex commercial and contract disputes, product liability and general tort matters. He has tried cases in state and federal courts and has been certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2001. He has been named a “Texas Super Lawyer” in civil litigation defense by Law and Politics and received the 2003 President’s Award from the Houston Bar Association. Adams has served on several boards at Rice, including the Association of Rice Alumni Board of Directors.
“Like many alums, I have a great affinity for Rice and welcomed the opportunity to come back and serve the university at such a momentous point in the school’s history,” Adams said in reference to 2012 being Rice’s centennial year. “It’s an honor to work with such an outstanding group of individuals like those who are currently on the board and with a great institution like Rice as it continues on the path of excellence that it has been on the past 100 years.”
Taylor is a Rice alumnus with a B.A. in architecture. He also has a Bachelor of Architecture degree and a Bachelor of Science in architectural engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. In 1979, he and his Rice roommate, Leonard Lane Jr. ’74, along with three Rice classmates formed an architectural and engineering firm, Chelsea Architects. Their practice includes architecture, structural engineering and forensic analysis for commercial, institutional and residential clients. As a principal of the firm, Taylor is a licensed architect and a licensed structural engineer. A past president of the Association of Rice Alumni (ARA), Taylor and his wife, Amy, received the ARA Meritorious Service Award in 2011. He serves on the Annual Fund Steering Committee of Rice and helped establish the Rice Architecture Mentoring Program. Taylor and his business partner provide the Chelsea Architects scholarship at the Rice School of Architecture.
“I am very proud of my Rice education and have thoroughly enjoyed being involved with the university as an alum,” Taylor said. “Being on the Rice University Board of Trustees as an alumni representative will provide me the opportunity to learn more about the university and be involved in decisions that will guide Rice into its second century.”
Chao served two previous terms on the Rice Board of Trustees between 2000 and 2008. He has a B.A. in physics from Brandeis University and an MBA from Columbia University. He has more than 30 years of international experience in the chemical industry. In 1985 he assisted his father, T.T. Chao, and brother, James Chao, in founding Westlake Chemical, a global supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and fabricated products. He served as executive vice president until he succeeded James as president in 1996. He has been director since 2003. He has held positions in the Controller’s Group of Mobil Oil Corp., in the Technical Department of Hercules Inc., in the Plastics Group of Gulf Oil Corp. and has served as assistant to the chairman of China General Plastics Group and deputy managing director of a plastics fabrication business in Singapore. Chao’s family has a long history of supporting Rice. The T.T. and W.F. Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice was established with a major gift from the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation.
“It is my honor to again serve as a member of the Board of Trustees of Rice University,” Chao said. “My family and I have enjoyed a long and rewarding association with Rice and view the university as one of the finest academic and research institutions in the world and one of the most valuable assets in the Houston community. I look forward to continuing to be part of the Rice family and to participate in the important work of the university.”
In addition to the election of Adams, Taylor and Chao, the board re-elected current trustees Keith Anderson ’62 and Lee Rosenthal to a second four-year term.