Meet this week’s Centennial Star

Toombs honored for dedication, involvement

To celebrate Rice’s centennial, this year the university has been honoring 100 staff members who represent the best of Rice culture. Each week, a Centennial Star has been recognized for their contributions to excellence, and we’ve introduced them in Rice News.

This week’s Centennial Star is recognized for her involvement in the Rice community and dedication to the university.

Helen Toombs

Helen Toombs

Helen Toombs is more than an employee of 15 years and an enthusiastic fundraiser; she is also a 1979 Rice University graduate.

Toombs began her professional career at Rice in 1997 as associate director of planned giving in the Office of Development. She currently serves as associate director of the Rice Annual Fund.

In a letter nominating her for the award, colleagues wrote that Toombs is not only one of the most dedicated members of the Resource Development team, but is also involved in many campus activities.

“She is an avid volunteer for the Rice Historical Society, Friends of Fondren and the Shepherd School of Music,” colleagues wrote. “Whenever staff is asked to volunteer for Resource Development or Rice Annual Fund events, Helen is the first to volunteer and is always one of the last to leave, making sure that everything is in order before leaving.”

Toombs works long hours on Rice’s behalf and never says “no” to taking on new responsibilities, the letter said.

“We don’t know of anyone who is more proud of her association with Rice than is Helen,” they wrote.

To view previous Centennial Stars, visit

About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is editor of Rice New.