Meet this week’s Centennial Stars

Two staffers exhibit excellence and professionalism

To celebrate the Rice Centennial, this year the university will honor 100 staff members who represent the best of Rice culture. Each week, two Centennial Stars will be recognized for their contributions to excellence, and we’ll introduce them in Rice News.

This week’s Centennial Stars excel in their work and make important contributions to their departments and to the university. They are David Hudson, senior systems analyst in Administrative Systems, and Ben Guest, associate director of admissions in the Jones Graduate School of Business.

David Hudson

David Hudson

Hudson has been at Rice full-time since 1990, when he was hired as a programmer analyst in the comptroller’s office. (Before that, he supported Rice’s computer system as a contractor.) He soon was promoted within the comptroller’s office, and in 1994 he became a systems analyst. In 1997, Hudson was promoted to his current position as senior systems analyst. He develops and supports financial software applications that almost every Rice employee uses at some point, including Banner, Edgar and Esther.

“David Hudson consistently provides the best service to his customers,” said the letter that nominated him. Rice staff members have praised Hudson for his patience and willingness to share his knowledge, and colleagues who encounter Hudson frequently send emails back to his department praising his helpful approach.

“The customers who contact him are almost always experiencing some level of frustration, and David always quickly, professionally and cheerfully solves the problem,” the letter said.

“When he says that he will get back to you, he does – usually within the same hour,” it said. “David should teach a class on professionalism.”

Guest was hired in 2003 as a temporary office assistant in the Jones Graduate School of Business. He became a copyright assistant in the Jones School two years later, then a program coordinator for the MBA program. In 2007, Guest became assistant director of admissions in the Jones School, and last year he was promoted to his current position as associate director.

Ben Guest

Ben Guest

The letter that nominated Guest praised him for “exceptional performance, a commitment to excellence and a focus on continuous improvement.”

Guest performs his regular duties at the highest level, the letter said, whether it’s serving on the admissions committee or representing the Jones School around the world. In addition to those usual duties, it said, he has taken the initiative to keep the Jones School admissions office in step with changing technology.

“Ben has consistently produced top-quality results and contributed to the team’s progress toward our goals,” the letter said. “As important, he understands the ‘big picture’ – how those goals support and strengthen the mission of the school.”

Guest understands the industry well and has gained valuable institutional knowledge from holding several positions within the Jones School, the letter said. Guest is also a member of the TEAMS leadership group, which has helped him build valuable relationships across the Rice campus.

Guest’s thorough knowledge of the field – and the strong connections he has built with colleagues at other MBA programs – make him a “well-respected, highly regarded admissions professional,” the letter said – one who enhances the Jones School and its reputation.

To nominate someone as a Centennial Star, go to For more information, contact Rebecca Millet at

To view previous Centennial Stars, visit

About Alyson Ward

Alyson Ward is a writer in Public Affairs at Rice University.