On Sunday, October 14, Rice Design Alliance held a superlative gala that will be remembered for years to come.
Nine hundred people gathered in the Centennial Tent on Rice University’s Founders Court to celebrate 100 years of Rice University, 100 years of the Rice School of Architecture, 40 years of Rice Design Alliance, and 30 years of Cite magazine.
Guests bid furiously at the silent auction, co-chaired by Natalye Appel and Sarah Balinskas, which featured amazing experiences, including conversations with some of Rice University’s brightest minds, stays in vacation homes of some of Houston’s leading architects, and unique entertainment opportunities showcasing the best Houston has to offer. Many bidders forwent the competition and went straight for the BUY NOW price. Among them was a Rice University administrator who bought a one-of-a-kind necklace comprised of 100 various owl charms designed by Joyce Lander. A baseball fan bought a dinner for 8 at Damian’s with Rice Owls Coach Wayne Graham and former Rice Owl and St. Louis Cardinal Lance Berkman. A dinner for 10 with Mayor Annise Parker was won by several individual donors willing to donate $250 each for the opportunity to dine with the mayor.
Jackson and Company provided a delicious meal of butternut squash soup and filet mignon with vegetable accompaniments. RDA President Lonnie Hoogeboom introduced honoree and Rice sociologist Stephen Klineberg, who took the stage to a standing ovation after guests viewed a short video about his 30-year-plus-Kinder Houston Area Survey. After the program, guests processed to the Academic Quad where they saw The Spectacle, a 20-minute animated sound and light show created by the German artists, Urbanscreen, especially commissioned by Rice for its Centennial. After the show, guests returned to the tent and danced to the sounds of Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters.
Gala chairs Jory Alexander and Jay Baker thanked Fundraising Chairs Sandy Lynch and Doug Combes, whose committee raised nearly $500,000; architect and environment chair Jim Evans, who was responsible for creating the stunning ambience; and Graphics Chair Craig Minor who pulled everything together with a colorful design both in print and video formats.
Seen in the crowd were Honorary Co-Chair and Rice School of Architecture Dean Sarah Whiting with husband Ron Witte, Larry and Charlotte Whaley, Edwin Friedrichs and Darlene Clark, Laura and George Pontikes, and Dick and Linda Sylvan. The Honorary Committee was co-chaired by RSA Professor Emeritus Andy Todd, and it consisted of former presidents of the Rice Design Alliance, including Gwendolyn Goffe, Jim Furr, Larry Lander, Leslie Davidson, David Harvey, Karl Kilian, Bill Neuhaus, Raymond Brochstein, Chuck Gremillion, Barbara Amelio, Kimberly Hickson, Frank Douglas, Nonya Grenader, and RDA’s first president Peck Drennan, among others.