Rice trustee emeritus and alumna Karen Ostrum George and alumnus Gus A. Schill will receive the Association of Rice Alumni’s (ARA) highest award — the Gold Medal — for their extraordinary service to the university at this year’s annual ARA Laureates Dinner May 14. The association is also honoring nine others for distinguished accomplishments and meritorious service.
The descriptions below were provided by the ARA.
Gold Medal: Karen Ostrum George ’77, ’78
Trustee emeritus Karen Ostrum George’s contributions to Rice are so extensive and revered that, as one nominator remarked, “She has never left Rice.” Over the years, she has contributed her characteristic enthusiasm and selfless leadership in many capacities, including as president of the ARA and as a member of the Jones Graduate School of Business Council of Overseers. A 2002 Meritorious Service Award recipient, she also has served on two presidential selection committees and as interim executive director of the ARA from September 2011 through May 2012. She has served on the Women’s Athletic Advisory Board, Owl Club Board of Directors, Shepherd Society Advisory Board and Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality Advisory Board. George is an avid supporter of the Rice Annual Fund and co-chaired her 25th reunion. George and her husband, Larry, also chaired the 2016 Friends of Fondren Library Gala.
A member of the first Rice intercollegiate women’s basketball team, George received the Distinguished Owl Club Award in 2012. She was inducted into the “R” Association’s Hall of Fame with an Honorary “R” Award in 2005, and in 2002 George received the Rice Athletic Spirit Award.
With a bachelor’s in economics and master’s in accounting from Rice, George has achieved incredible success in her professional life as a certified public accountant and financial executive at Ralph S. O’Connor & Associates. She goes out of her way to share her experience with students and support their achievements. In addition to being a dedicated volunteer for Martel College, she can be seen cheering on the Owls at a variety of athletics events year-round, on campus and beyond. As one nominator summed it up, “In terms of her devotion to Rice, Karen is unparalleled.”
Gold Medal: Gus A. Schill Jr. ’55
Gus A. Schill Jr. has been described as “uncommonly dedicated” and “representative of the finest possible example of a prominent Rice student.” His leadership and impact extend throughout campus and are reflected in numerous positions, including alumni representative on the Board of Governors, president of the ARA and member of the 1984 presidential search committee. The recipient of the 1994 Meritorious Service Award, Schill also was a community associate at Will Rice and Sid Richardson colleges, class-giving chair, a member of the Rice University Fund Council and member of the Friends of Fondren Library board.
After graduating with a bachelor’s in history from Rice and earning his law degree with honors from the University of Texas, Schill went on to become one of the most respected maritime lawyers in the profession. Now a retired attorney with Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams LLP, he has shared the benefits of his remarkable legal career, both as a law professor at the University of Houston Law Center and University of Texas School of Law and as a mentor to Rice students while employing many at his firm.
As a member of Rice Alumni Volunteers for Admissions, Schill has recruited and championed numerous Rice students, especially those from the Texas Hill Country, and has stayed in touch with them well after they have matriculated. Many volunteers credit Schill’s enthusiasm for inspiring their own involvement. As one nominator expressed, “I view Gus as a person whose unfailing dedication to and unyielding support of Rice University in all its dimensions provides a shining example for others to try and emulate.”
Distinguished Alumni Award
Five people earned the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award, which is presented to Rice graduates who have advanced the interests and standards of excellence of the university through distinctive professional or volunteer careers.
Cassie Barlow ’96
Retired Col. Cassie Barlow has provided a shining example of leadership, innovation and service throughout her exemplary career in the U.S. Air Force. She received her doctorate in organizational psychology from Rice in 1996, a degree that has served her in several prominent roles, most recently as the commander of the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, one of the largest wings in the U.S. Air Force. Among her numerous awards and decorations are the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit Award, Meritorious Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal. Her passion for service extends to the civilian community, where she volunteers for the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and serves on several boards, including the Ohio Military Jobs Commission, which helps veterans find employment in Ohio. She currently serves as executive director for the Center for Workforce Development at Wright State University, which assists servicemen and women in transitioning to civilian life. One nominator wrote, “Dr. Barlow has served her country with honor and dignity, and truly exemplifies the values instilled upon her at Rice.”
Ron Bozman is an internationally acclaimed movie producer who earned the 1991 Academy Award for Best Picture as one of the producers of “The Silence of the Lambs.” A Texas native, he received a B.A. in social science and got his break in the film industry as production manager for the cult film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” His prolific career has spanned five decades of playing several roles, including producer (“Waiting for the Light,” “The Ref” and “The Silence of the Lambs”) and executive producer (“Philadelphia,” which won two 1993 Academy Awards, “Beloved,” “The Human Stain,” “Changing Lanes,” “Failure to Launch” and “Paterson”). He has also produced television projects and has, more recently, worked as an executive producer of “The Young Pope,” which will be telecast on HBO in the fall. Through the years, he has also taught film production to undergraduates at both New York University and the School of Visual Arts in New York. One of Bozman’s nominators remarked, “When it comes to motion pictures, as well as television, we recipients of the final product seldom if ever understand the complex web of creativity, practicality, finance, human emotion … that we call a movie. That Ron has been able to negotiate that tangled labyrinth for so many years and to such good effect is an accomplishment worth celebrating.”
Anna Christy Stepp ’98
Anna Christy Stepp is an operatic soprano whose performances have been described as “mesmerizing,” “complex” and “immensely powerful.” Stepp, who received her Bachelor of Music degree from Rice’s Shepherd School of Music in 1998, has performed on stages around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Teatro alla Scala, L’Opera National de Paris and the Santa Fe Opera. Some of her signature roles include Lucia in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Cunegonde in “Candide,” Tytania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Olympia in “Tales of Hoffmann” and Cleopatra in “Julius Caesar.” Concert appearances have included those with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and a tour with The English Concert. In 2011 she was invited to represent the work of Kennedy Center honoree Barbara Cook. Stepp was featured in Seiji Ozawa’s recording of “L’Enfant et Les Sortileges,” which won the 2016 Grammy for Best Opera Recording. One nominator noted that “Anna is the consummate artist, exemplifying the commitment to musical excellence that the Shepherd School seeks to instill in all of its students.”
B. ‘Ben’ Hollingsworth Jr. ’64
B. “Ben” Hollingsworth Jr. is one of a select group of individuals to have led two Fortune 500 companies in different industries to great success. As president of Service Corporation International (SCI), he played a fundamental role in the growth of the company and ultimately led it to become one of the largest funeral service companies in the U.S. Following his retirement from SCI, Hollingsworth founded and served as chairman, president and CEO of Group 1 Automotive, which he helped grow to the fourth largest dealership group in the U.S. Hollingsworth, who received his bachelor’s in economics from Rice in 1964, also lends his considerable business acumen to the advancement of Rice University and, in particular, the Jones Graduate School of Business (JGSB), where he has served as a member of the Council of Overseers and been a driving force behind the development of the JGSB building fund. In 1998 the “R” Association of Rice University honored him with the Distinguished “R” Award. Hollingsworth is currently a trustee emeritus and member of the Audit Committee of Rice University as well as a board member of the Rice Management Company. One of his nominators wrote, “Ben’s career has mirrored the unconventional wisdom that Rice proudly asserts.”
Virginia Moyer ’74
Dr. Virginia Moyer is the vice president for maintenance of certification and quality at the American Board of Pediatrics, where she is leading a national effort to change the culture regarding continuing education and the ongoing assessment of health care quality. In 2011 she was named by Time magazine as a “Person Who Mattered” for her work as chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which made the recommendation against routine prostate cancer screening in healthy men. Since receiving her bachelor’s in psychology from Rice, Moyer has contributed many innovations and research findings to children’s health. She served as deputy editor of Pediatrics and associate editor of Evidence-Based Child Health: A Cochrane Journal. She formerly served as chief medical quality officer for Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest children’s hospital in the U.S., and professor of pediatrics at both the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Baylor College of Medicine. One nominator said, “Not only are her contributions benefiting patients today, her reach will extend for years to come for all of us, from here in Houston to around the globe.”
Meritorious Service Award
Four people will receive the ARA’s Meritorious Service Award, which recognizes Rice alumni, faculty, staff and friends who have rendered significant, sustained voluntary contributions of energy, time and creativity toward the advancement of the university.
Terrence Gee ’86
Terrence Gee is a tireless advocate for Rice students and has significantly advanced the university’s culture of mentorship. He received his bachelor’s in economics from Rice and built a successful career as a businessman and consultant. Over the years, he has imparted his wisdom and the benefits of his experience to students across Rice, culminating with the Rice Athletic Leadership Development Program, which he co-founded and funded. He remains an extremely active mentor himself, guiding student-athletes and encouraging other alumni to participate in the program while he also serves in several volunteer roles, including as a member of the Initiative for Students Commission and as honorary chair of the Celebration of 50 Years of Black Undergraduate Life at Rice. One nominator wrote, “Our students leave their time with Terrence feeling confident, supported and prepared to take on the world when they graduate from Rice.”
Arthur ‘Art’ Gottschalk
Arthur “Art” Gottschalk has been a professor in the Shepherd School of Music for more than 35 years — almost as long as the school has been in existence — and is a tireless ambassador for Rice. He was chair of the Department of Music Theory and Composition until 2009 and founded the university’s electronic and computer music laboratories. An award-winning composer and musician, Gottschalk continues to bring recognition to the school through his accomplishments, including his latest honor of receiving the Gold Medal of the 2015 Global Music Awards for his “Requiem: For the Living” and an appointment as visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome this year. Beyond his art, he is a respected faculty partner of the Rice Alumni Traveling Owls program, serving as a faculty lecturer on alumni trips to Cuba. He is an enthusiastic supporter of his students, encouraging their growth and counseling many of them about their career plans. One nominator noted, “From his arrival, Art has been a consistent donor of his own time and his many talents, a tireless ambassador, a constant for the Shepherd School in many ways.”
Victor Lopez was Rice’s head coach for women’s track and field from 1979 to 2005, during which time he produced 14 individual national championship titles, 149 All-American honors, 73 individual conference champions and 10 conference team championships, expanding the program’s reputation nationally and internationally. Over his 26-year career he was honored as either conference, regional or district coach of the year 10 times. Beyond Rice, he is widely recognized for his innovative, science-based approach to coaching and for his contributions as a writer and clinician. He founded the NACAC International Congress for Coaches and the local Bayou Classic track meet, now renamed in his honor. Personally devoted to his student-athletes, he continues to stay in touch with more than 200 women who were in his track and field “Rice family.” One nominator remarked, “One of the best days for the Rice Women’s Athletics program, the day Victor Lopez joined our staff, was also a great day for Rice University.”
Walter McReynolds ’65
Dr. G. Walter McReynolds, a Rice trustee emeritus, has exhibited a lifetime of dedication to his alma mater. Entering Rice in 1961, he quarterbacked the Owls football team for three successful seasons, culminating in his final year as tri-captain. In his senior year, he received the prestigious Bob Quin Award. He has continued to exemplify his dedication as a Rice trustee, president of the ARA, president of the Owl Club and member of numerous athletic and campuswide fundraising committees. He received the Distinguished “R” Man Award in 1998 and Distinguished Owl Club Award in 2004. Not only is McReynolds a distinctive leader for Rice, but he also is a reputed ear, nose and throat specialist and a nationally recognized cochlear implant surgeon. In 2009 he received the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Distinguished Alumni Award for his outstanding medical pioneer contributions in the field of cochlear implantation. In 1984 McReynolds, his wife, Linda, and J.D. Bucky ’71 and Cynthia Allshouse founded An Evening for Rice’s Honour, a highly successful fundraising event that supports Rice student athletics and endowed scholarships. This popular biennial event continues today and has raised more than $5 million for Rice’s athletics endowment. One nominator concluded, “There is very little that Walter has not done or participated in at Rice University.”