Meet this week’s Centennial Stars

Bonner and Nevin applauded for spirit and enthusiasm

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

This week’s Centennial Stars are known for their congenial approach and enthusiasm for the Rice community. They are Lilly Bonner, administrator for the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP), and Mandy Nevin, Web coordinator in electrical and computer engineering (ECE).

Lilly Bonner

Bonner began her career at Rice in 1998, and from the beginning of her tenure with RUSMP she has been known as “a star,” colleagues wrote in a letter nominating her for the award.

“As RUSMP project administrator, she wears many hats – financial manager, artistic director, knowledge dispenser, record keeper, buyer, technology wizard, cheerleader, counselor and expert problem solver,” they wrote.

Her exceptional organizational skills allow her to juggle many responsibilities and still have time to help others with their work, the letter said.

“In our group, Lilly is known as the multitask queen,” wrote a colleague. “There is nothing that Lilly can’t do – her multifaceted skills continue to amaze me and the other members of our team.”

Bonner is also known as a well of knowledge within her department and for her affable personality.

“Lilly’s wonderful demeanor makes her the perfect colleague; her well-known sense of humor and pranks provide stress relief when the work in the office becomes overwhelming or when we desperately need a laugh,” the colleague wrote. “She is kind, funny, honest, nurturing, smart, efficient and unbelievably frugal with RUSMP funds.”

In 2003, Bonner received the Distinguished Employee Award.

Mandy Nevin

Mandy Nevin

Nevin joined the staff assisting with undergraduate program, graduate admissions and special programs in ECE in 1991. Throughout Nevin’s two decades at Rice, her role has evolved with the times.

As Web coordinator, Nevin often represents the university to external resources, colleagues wrote in a letter nominating her for the award.

“Mandy is one of the nicest, most helpful employees on the campus,” the colleague wrote. “Her work on the ECE website brings her into contact with the industry, and Rice couldn’t ask for a better face for the university.”

Her “cheerful willingness” to problem solve has endeared Nevin to the campus colleagues and outside corporate affiliates equally, the colleague wrote.

“She is one of the jack-of-all-trades type of staff that keep the university running so smoothly and that we should honor every once in a while to say ‘thank you’ for her many years of quiet, thoughtful, energetic, sunny contributions to our campus,” they wrote.

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.