Kraft, Rhodes and Tarpley join Rice University board

Three Rice University alumni with prominent roles in broadcast journalism, city planning, retail and community engagement have been elected to the Rice Board of Trustees.

The new trustees include Patti Kraft, an active volunteer in the Boston/Brookline community and owner of Bellezza Home & Garden in Newton, Mass.; David Rhodes, president of CBS News; and Gloria Meckel Tarpley, chair of the Dallas Planning Commission and a former president of the Association of Rice Alumni. Each will serve a four-year term.

“Having Patti, David and Gloria as trustees will expand the board’s expertise in new directions,” said Board Chairman Bobby Tudor. “All three are highly respected in their diverse fields, and we will be pleased to have their insights and ideas as they help Rice succeed in the dramatically changing world of higher education.”

“Rice has always had an extraordinary board, and Patti, David and Gloria are all in that tradition,” Rice President David Leebron said. “As we have expanded our impact nationally and internationally, we’re pleased to have two additional board members from the northeastern United States and another from the heart of our home state of Texas. In addition to being very accomplished in their careers, the new trustees have already made substantial contributions to the university in their capacities as alumni who have supported our students and helped build the Rice community.”

Patti Kraft

Kraft’s retail store, Belleza, is named for the Italian word for beauty and specializes in fine hand-painted Italian ceramics. Kraft says she also appreciates the beauty of volunteerism. She currently serves on several committees at Boston Children’s Hospital, including Ethics, Patient Care Assessment and Stem Cell Research Oversight, and co-chairs the hospital’s Stem Cell Task Force. She is also co-chair of Massachusetts General Hospital’s 100 Committee supporting the Cancer Center. Kraft is a board member of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Brookline Library Foundation, an overseer of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and a member of the Gateway Arts Advisory Committee in Brookline. She also serves as a board member of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and is a former trustee of the Park School in Brookline and The Rashi School in Dedham, Mass.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Kraft was formerly a deputy legal counsel for Gov. William Weld in Massachusetts, a litigation associate at Goodwin Procter and a consultant at Bain & Company. She has a B.A. in economics and managerial studies from Rice and lives in Brookline with her husband and three children.

David Rhodes

Since becoming president of CBS News in February 2011, Rhodes has led a rejuvenation of CBS News’ programming that emphasizes “real news” from top broadcast journalists around the world. He was a catalyst behind the creation and launch of the highly regarded “CBS This Morning” and the development of a new studio and newsroom at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. His role was recently extended through 2019. Before joining CBS News, Rhodes held senior roles at Bloomberg, where he was head of U.S. television, and Fox News, where he began his career as a production assistant and later became vice president of news.

A Rice alum with a B.A. in economics and political science, Rhodes has been named to Fortune magazine’s “40 Under 40,” Hollywood Reporter’s “35 Most Powerful People in Media” and GQ magazine’s “The 50 Most Powerful People in Washington.” He became a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum at the group’s 2013 gathering in Yangon, Myanmar, and participates in the forum’s annual meeting. Rhodes lives in his hometown of New York City with his wife and two children.

Gloria Meckel Tarpley

Tarpley has a dynamic history of volunteer work and a true love of Rice. She has been active in key civic endeavors for more than two decades and has taken on leadership roles for numerous civic, community, philanthropic, school and church organizations in Dallas. She was appointed by the Dallas City Council to the city’s Ethics Commission at its inception and served for eight years. Tarpley became involved in urban planning efforts as co-chair of the first comprehensive small-area plan in Dallas. She was appointed a commissioner of the Dallas Planning Commission in 2008 and was asked by the mayor in 2014 to chair the commission. In addition to a B.A. in managerial studies and political science from Rice, Tarpley has a J.D. from the University of Houston. She practiced law until 1990, when she became a full-time mother and volunteer. At the time of her retirement, she was a shareholder in the business litigation section of the firm Cowles & Thompson in Dallas.

At Rice, Tarpley is currently serving on the School of Social Sciences Advisory Board. She served on the board of the Association of Rice Alumni from 2007 to 2013 and as its president for 2011-12. She and her husband have two children, and one of them — Philip — graduated from Rice in 2012.


About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.