Rice community gathers to celebrate Dean of Continuing Studies Mary McIntire

In honor of Mary McIntire’s 31 years as dean of the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, members of the Rice community came to the Anderson-Clarke Center’s light-filled central gathering space May 18 for an “all-access backstage pass to celebrate the leadership of … McIntire on her farewell tour,” as the event invitation read. McIntire will officially retire as dean at the end of June.

Mary McIntire with a photo book presented to her by Glasscock School staff. Her husband, James Pomerantz, is at left. Photos by Jeff Fitlow

Hosted by McIntire and her husband, Rice psychology Professor James Pomerantz, the festive and yet bittersweet event featured music, dance, food and drink.

“(The Glasscock School of) Continuing Studies has changed so much over the years,” said McIntire, who first came to Rice as a graduate student in 1971 and received her doctorate in English from the university in 1975. “Constant change is what continuing studies is all about. It’s both a challenge and the most interesting part of the job. As many of you know, we’re the only school at Rice whose sole mission is to connect Rice with the community through education, and that mission is what has kept me engaged and committed for all these years.”

McIntire’s retirement coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Glasscock School, which the school celebrated together with the Houston community at “A Festival of Curiosity” at the Anderson-Clarke Center April 8.

McIntire highlighted the school’s many supporters, including Susanne ‘62 and Melbern ‘61 Glasscock, whom she thanked for their “generous endowment that allowed us to name the school after you, Susie, and it makes me really happy to have a woman’s name on our school. You raised our aspirations and our reputation. That gift was like having the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and it gave us a lot of drive to do better and better,” said McIntire, who for many years served as president and chair of the board of the Girls Scouts of San Jacinto Council.

She also thanked the namesakes of the state-of-the-art Anderson-Clarke Center, the three-story, 55,000-square-foot facility that opened on the west side of Rice’s campus in 2014. The building’s construction was made possible by a naming gift from Rice trustee emeritus Kent Anderson ’62 and his wife, Linda, and Rice trustee emeritus Robert Clarke ’63 and his late wife, Jean (“Puddin”), and more than 400 other donors.

McIntire is flanked by Susanne and Melbern Glasscock.

To honor McIntire’s support of and appreciation for her staff, Pomerantz endowed the Mary McIntire Staff Excellence Award, which will recognize exceptional work and service by the school’s staff. “Jim, you could not have given me a better gift,” McIntire said.

The announcement comes on the heels of the new Continuing Scholars Endowment, which will provide scholarships to the school’s students and is a fundraising effort sparked by McIntire’s vision.

‘The Edgar Odell Lovett of continuing studies’

Jennifer Gigliotti-Labay, associate dean of the Glasscock School and executive director of the school’s Center for College Readiness, highlighted McIntire’s role in establishing the school’s K-12, nonprofit, fundraising and Master of Liberal Studies degree programming. “Mary has always understood the evolving need for Continuing Studies to find new and innovative ways to serve our community,” Gigliotti-Labay said. “Personally, I will say it has been an absolute honor to work alongside Mary over these past 10 years.

“You are such a wealth of knowledge, and I will greatly miss being able to learn from you and being mentored by you,” she told McIntire.

Gigliotti-Labay said that most of all, she will miss laughing with McIntire. “Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned from Mary is not to take yourself too seriously and to find humor in everything, and she does that.”

Attendees watched a video with farewell messages for McIntire.

During McIntire’s term as dean, the school, which was founded in 1967, experienced growth in impact and enrollments. Since the mid-1970s, when McIntire was first hired as a program director in the then-Office of Continuing Studies, enrollments have increased from hundreds per year to nearly 20,000, and courses have attracted students from more than 100 countries who wish to pursue personal and professional development.

In a video shown at the event, Rice President David Leebron applauded McIntire’s leadership and service to the university. “I think of Mary really as the Edgar Odell Lovett of continuing studies,” Leebron said. “She’s brought her vision and energy and commitment. She has never let up thinking about what more we can do about who is out there that could benefit from a new program or differently administrated program. She’s not only been a great leader of the Glasscock School, but she’s been a great leader at Rice University who really participated in the most important decisions that we make.”

The university’s search for McIntire’s successor is underway and an announcement regarding the new dean is anticipated for the summer.

The Glasscock School offers personal and professional development classes, online and hybrid courses and certificate programs with additional offerings from the Center for College Readiness, the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, the Foreign Language program, the English as a Second Language program, the Master of Liberal Studies, the Diploma in Liberal Studies, the Master of Arts in Teaching and School Literacy and Culture. For more information, go to http://glasscock.rice.edu.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.