Two staff members work toward MBAs, thanks to Whitaker Scholarships

When Rice classrooms fill with students this fall, two staff members will be among the scholars. In fact, they’ll be Whitaker Scholars.

Ben Guest

Ben Guest

Ben Guest, associate director of admissions at the Jones Graduate School of Business, and Cory Kennedy, director of government relations in Public Affairs, each received a Whitaker Scholarship to pursue an MBA at the Jones School.

Granted by Rice and the Jones School, these full-tuition scholarships offered through the Whitaker Scholars Program are designed “to help Rice staff who have demonstrated an outstanding managerial contribution and potential for even greater achievement” in their pursuit of a superior business education.

First awarded in 2007, the scholarships recognize the importance Rice places on investing in the development of high-potential staff and in the important contribution a Rice MBA can make in that development.

Cory Kennedy

Cory Kennedy

Kennedy is in the second year of his Executive MBA studies and said he has gotten a great deal out of the program and appreciates this scholastic support.

“When President Leebron laid out his ‘Vision for the Second Century,’ he shared a bold plan for the future of Rice University,” he said. “I believe the Whitaker Scholarship is a part of this mission. It trains and prepares the staff on campus to become leaders for the benefit of both Rice and the greater community.”

Guest will begin his two-year MBA for Professionals program in the fall and also is enthusiastic about the opportunity.

“I have witnessed thousands of Rice MBA graduates positively impact society by utilizing the elevated strategic vision they acquired while in the program,” he said. “This experience has fueled my desire to begin the journey of earning an MBA and to maximize my potential for the betterment of Rice University and the community. I am extremely grateful to have been selected for the Whitaker Scholars Program.”

To be eligible for the Whitaker Scholars Program, applicants must be full-time, benefits-eligible employees of Rice for at least 36 continuous months prior to the semester for which they apply. They must have direct supervision of projects and/or other employees at Rice or are in positions requiring knowledge of business and financial principles.

Applicants must also be admitted to and enrolled in the Jones School, have the full support of their dean or senior administrator and agree to a minimum two-year commitment to remain employed at Rice after graduation from the MBA program.

“Having completed the first year of this two-year journey, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the faculty, my fellow students and the staff at the Jones School for their commitment to fulfilling this mission,” Kennedy said. “The skills and tools taught in the program provide a fresh perspective for tackling old problems. The Jones School deserves its international notoriety, and it is truly an honor to be a part of it. I look forward to continuing to grow over the next year as we work towards preparing Rice for the next 100 years.”

The Whitaker Scholars program is named for the late former dean of the Jones School, Gilbert Whitaker Jr. Learn more about the program at





About Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans is a senior editor in the Rice's Office of Public Affairs.