More than 850 guests came together on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Hilton Americas to attend the thirty-first annual Rice Design Alliance gala. Honoring Linda Sylvan, retired Executive Director of the Rice Design Alliance, the evening raised critical support for the Rice Design Alliance’s 2018 educational programs and publications, celebrated 45 years as the outreach and public programs arm of Rice Architecture, and introduced our organization’s new Executive Director, Maria Nicanor.
Co-chaired by Mikki Hebl and David Harvey and Lynn and Ty Kelly, Launch brought together professionals in the architecture, engineering, construction, and design industries; as well as Rice alumni, developers, artists, philanthropists, and others. A special segment of the crowd included many Rice Design Alliance Hometown Tour participants, who have traveled with Linda from San Antonio to Japan. Underwriters of Launch included the following: Cardno; DPR Construction and Stantec; D.E. Harvey Builders; Louisa Stude Sarofim; and Walter P Moore.
The auction was chaired by Barbara Amelio and Laurie Scott. The environment and graphics were designed by Randall Walker, Craig Minor, and Cheryl Beckett. Bright florals by Bergner and Johnson Design added to the energy and beauty of the environment. Music and entertainment was provided by Yvonne Washington and the Mix.
A program, presided over by current Rice Design Alliance President Kristi Grizzle, honored Linda’s history with the Rice Design Alliance, through a video that told about her many accomplishments at the organization. The video featured comments by Rice Architecture Professor Carlos Jiménez, Rice Design Alliance President-Elect Juliè Gauthier, and former Rice Design Alliance Board members Christof Spieler and Nicola Springer. Houston City Council member David Robinson presented Linda with a city proclamation of November 11 as Linda Sylvan Day. The program was capped by Dean Sarah Whiting, thanked Angie Chen, interim director, introduced Maria Nicanor, the incoming Executive Director of the Rice Design Alliance.