Meet this week’s Centennial Stars

Darlene Judd and Clemente Rodriguez make Rice a better place

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 do their jobs extraordinarily well – and both strive to make working and learning at Rice a better and safer experience. They are Darlene Judd, registration assistant, and Clemente Rodriguez, police captain.

Darlene Judd

Darlene Judd

Judd joined Rice’s Office of the Registrar in 1998. Described as a valuable source of historical information, she is known for her openness and willingness to share her institutional knowledge with others.

“Darlene has a smile and an encouraging word for everyone that comes into the office,” a nomination letter said. “Her patient attitude and jovial spirit are valuable in calming anxious students — especially new matriculants who are unsure of registration processes.”

Judd is always quick to develop positive working relationships with students, faculty and staff. Members of the Rice community often seek Judd’s input or advice — even with problems outside her area of responsibility — because they know that if she cannot provide the answer for them, she will work until she finds someone that can assist them, the letter said.

“Darlene has a very big heart for the students of the university and contributes to the developing of business practices so that the student always comes first,” a colleague wrote. “As the registration assistant working at the front desk, Darlene is an invaluable part of the regular and ongoing registration activity in the Office of the Registrar.”

Clemente Rodriguez

Clemente Rodriguez

Rodriguez came to Rice in 2001 as a police officer within the Rice University Police Department (RUPD). He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2003. He served as interim police captain during 2011-2012 and is now captain.

Rodriguez has a positive impact on the Rice culture and strives for the future betterment of Rice in everything he does, a nomination letter said.

“His desire to provide a safe and secure environment for the entire Rice community is evident by the direct and personal interest he takes in handling concerns that impact students, faculty and staff,” the letter said. “He works tirelessly to make the Rice University Police Department a better place to work by supporting and encouraging all members of RUPD to be successful in their positions, thus being better able to serve the Rice community.”

A colleague expressed “great respect and appreciation” for Rodriguez’s efforts as interim police captain and wrote, “His collaborative approach enabled him to navigate successfully through difficult waters and reignite the spirit of pride and professionalism in the RUPD team.”.

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

To view previous Centennial Stars, visit

About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is editor of Rice New.