Rice University holds ‘asphalt breaking’ for new Continuing Studies building

The Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies broke asphalt Dec. 13 for its new home, the D. Kent and Linda C. Anderson and Robert L. and Jean T. Clarke Center.

A crowd of more than 300 people gathered at the site of the future building, located on land that is now a parking lot between Rice Stadium and campus entrance No. 8 on University Blvd. Attendees included Rice trustee D. Kent Anderson and his wife, Linda C. Anderson, Rice trustee emeritus Robert L. Clarke, members of the Anderson and Clarke families, members of the Rice community and board of trustees, donors, alumni and friends. Six grandchildren of the Andersons and Clarkes held yellow toy jackhammers as a real jackhammer broke asphalt on the construction site.

“This is an extraordinarily beautiful day for this great moment, for a great building and one of the most beautiful aspirations of our university,” Rice President David Leebron said. “From the very beginning, President Lovett envisioned Rice as a great university that would take its position among the great universities not only of the nation, but of the world. And at the same time, he was very clear that this was to be a university for Houston and dedicated in substantial ways to the success of the city and the opportunities of its population, particularly in what we’ve come to call lifelong learning.”

The Anderson-Clarke Center, a three-story, 53,000-square-foot facility, will house 24 classrooms, conference rooms, a language center, an auditorium and a commons area and terrace for events. Construction on the $24 million facility will begin later this month, and the center will be built to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

Mary McIntire ’75, dean of the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, said the new building will “take us to a whole new level of service to the community” as both a symbolic and real portal that connects Rice to the city of Houston and beyond.

“Almost 45 years ago to the day, the Office of Continuing Studies was announced with the first course offered the following year,” McIntire said. “Since then we have expanded our reach to 14,000 enrollments a year, serving lifelong learners, K-12 teachers and students, nonprofit leaders, language learners and professionals seeking to build or change careers.” McIntire explained that the Anderson-Clarke Center will allow the school to expand to 20,000 enrollments per year.

The building’s construction was made possible by a naming gift from Kent and Linda Anderson, Robert Clarke and his late wife, Jean “Puddin,” and more than 440 other donors.

“Rice has been such an important part of both of our families over the past 50 years – after all, that’s how our two families came together,” said Clarke, who received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Rice in 1963. He currently serves as the president of the Association of Rice Alumni and is a member of the School of Social Sciences Advisory Board and a Rice trustee emeritus. “The opportunity to further the impact of the Glasscock School in the community is an honor for all of us and a special means of contributing to the continuing objectives of Rice, which we all love.”

Anderson, a retired banker and member of the Rice Board of Trustees, who received a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1962, described the personal significance of the occasion.

“In 1958, I stepped foot on the Rice campus and embarked on one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Anderson said. “Both my career and personal life have been profoundly impacted by my association with Rice. Now, 54 years later, I continue to be grateful to Rice and consider it a tremendous privilege to be a part of the Anderson-Clarke Center.

“This occasion is made even more special by knowing that the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, the vision of my lifelong friends Mel and Susie Glasscock, will find a new home here.”

The School of Continuing Studies, which opened its doors in 1967, was renamed in 2005 in honor of Rice trustee emeritus and alumna Susanne Glasscock ’62. She and her husband, Rice alumnus Melbern Glasscock ’61, have been continuing studies students for more than 30 years.

Mel Glasscock said, “This happy day is a culmination of a journey for Susie and me that began years ago when we took our first class here at Continuing Studies. That journey has included many other classes as well as the realization that our support should go to Continuing Studies, to recognize its importance to Rice. We later realized that by endowing the school, we could give it a national prominence and participate in the raising of the funds to construct this building.”

“Today, I wear many hats, and all of them are very special to me,” Susie Glasscock said. “As the namesake of the school, I welcome all of you to the next giant leap for continuing studies.”

Susie Glasscock, who serves as co-chair of the Rice Centennial Campaign, went on to congratulate and thank the individuals who had donated to the construction of the Anderson-Clarke Center and other Centennial Campaign projects. She noted that a college friendship she began with Anderson and Clarke led to the naming gift from these families.

The Glasscock School of Continuing Studies offers classes in the Center for College Readiness, the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, the Language Programs, the Master of Liberal Studies program, the Master of Arts in Teaching program, School Literacy and Culture Project as well as personal and professional development and certificate programs. Annually, more than 6,000 college-preparatory teachers, students and administrators from all across the country and beyond attend the school’s programs in the Center for College Readiness and School Literacy and Culture Project. The English as a Second Language program has attracted students from more than 100 countries. The new Anderson-Clarke Center will enable the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies to continue to expand its programs.

For more information on the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, go to http://gscs.rice.edu.

About Amy Hodges

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