Meet this week’s Centennial Stars

Schroeder, Sinclair recognized as exemplary liaisons and mentors

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 as exemplary liaisons and mentors for the university. They are Gayle Schroeder, academic program administrator in Bioengineering, and Bart Sinclair, associate dean of engineering.

Gayle Schroeder


Schroeder came to Rice four years ago as a staff assistant in bioengineering and has been promoted twice.

Described as “vital to the success” of graduate students in bioengineering, Schroeder is regarded as an unwavering source of support.

“Gayle is an asset to our department and many students would be lost without her,” a colleague wrote in a letter nominating her for the award.

As one of her primary responsibilities each spring, Schroeder helps organize graduate recruiting weekend.

“The response from visiting students has been outstanding,” a colleague wrote. “They consistently describe how positive an experience they had visiting Rice and the department.”

Along with her work managing the program and graduate student affairs, she is known for her efforts to enhance students lives by serving as the primary contact between the students, department faculty and the institution as a whole.

“In times of need, Gayle works tirelessly and often after dark, and through all of it, her door is always open, and she welcomes people with a smile,” wrote a colleague.

Sinclair has spent more than 40 years at Rice, first as a student and then as a professor. He received his undergraduate degree from Rice in 1973 and his master’s and doctorate in 1974 and 1979, respectively.

Bart Sinclair


He joined the faculty in Rice’s electrical engineering department in 1978 as assistant professor. Since 1999, he has served in the dean of engineering’s office. As associate dean, he has primary responsibilities for academic affairs, faculty recruitment and financial matters.

“In this capacity, he regularly interacts with faculty, staff and administration, where he is known for his depth of knowledge, perception and judgment in important decisions affecting people, the school and the university,” wrote a colleague.

In addition to these responsibilities, Sinclair is often the face of engineering to prospective students and their parents and regularly takes time out of his schedule to meet both individually and collectively in weekly scheduled information sessions.

“It is his passion to add the opportunity for both parents and students to ask the questions they want to know about Rice and about engineering,” wrote the colleague. “No online information can substitute for this personal interaction.”

This year Sinclair was recognized by Rice Engineering Alumni Association as the recipient of the organization’s first Distinguished Service Medal for his exemplary service. In 2007, the Rice Board of Trustees honored Sinclair for his great work and service to the university.

“He is not only the institutional memory of the school, but that he is the heart of the School of Engineering,” a letter said.

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 News.