Houston Woman Wire

NEWS Pulitzer Prize winner Sheryl WuDunn to deliver commencement address at Rice

Rice University’s 103rd commencement will be held on May 13 and 14. On Friday night, beginning at 7:30 p.m., undergraduate students will cross the stage to receive diploma tubes and be congratulated. The Friday evening event will be the only opportunity to photograph the students crossing the stage and will culminate in a fireworks display.

The commencement address will be presented Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m., and degrees will be conferred to the group as a whole.

Sheryl WuDunn will deliver the commencement address during the Saturday morning ceremony. Named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World,” WuDunn became the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize when she and her husband, New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof, shared the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for their coverage of the mass movement for democracy and its subsequent suppression in China.

Currently the co-founder of FullSky Capital and a senior managing director for Mid-Market Securities, WuDunn raises capital for men and women entrepreneurs in new media, media technology, health care and social enterprise and advises several growth companies.


NEWS Annise Parker to Teach at Rice

Rice University alumna and former Houston Mayor Annise Parker has returned to Rice to teach.  Mayor Parker

Fresh off a semester as an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Parker joined the Rice faculty May 1 as a professor in the practice. Parker will work with students through Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders, where she has been named a Doerr Institute Fellow and will teach for the School of Social Sciences.

"During my 20-year career in the oil industry and 18 years in public service, my attachment to and affection for Rice were always evident,” Parker said. “I am honored and excited by the opportunity to return and work with students who will shape our world. Each of us faces challenges; all of us are called to lead in some way. I look forward to helping Rice students realize and develop their leadership potential."

A native Houstonian, Parker graduated from Rice in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, psychology and sociology. Parker served as Houston’s 61st mayor from 2010 through 2015 – the maximum allowed under the city’s three-term limit. She also served Houston for six years as a City Council member and for six years as city controller. The first openly gay mayor of one of the nation’s largest cities, Parker was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2010. She also was ranked No. 7 on the 2014 list of the world’s top 10 mayors by the City Mayors Foundation.

“What an honor to have such a distinguished alumna return to Rice to share her expertise and experience with our students,” Rice Provost Marie Lynn Miranda said. “We’re delighted to welcome Mayor Parker back to campus. She has extraordinary insights derived from her deep commitment to public service. We are very excited about the wonderful contributions she is bound to make to our campus community.”

Tom Kolditz, director of the Doerr Institute, said lessons that Parker learned as mayor of the country’s fourth-largest city should prove invaluable. “Annise Parker is the perfect person to bring realism to Rice students’ understanding of the leader experience -- successes, frustrations, the full spectrum of a leader’s journey,” he said. “The Doerr Institute values Annise’s perspective on the nuances of elected leadership, and with hundreds of elected student leaders on our campus, she will be a uniquely valuable asset in developing Rice’s new leaders.”

The Doerr Institute was established in 2015 with a $50 million gift from Rice alumni Ann and John Doerr through their private family foundation to maximize the leadership capabilities of all students at Rice by empowering them with the skills, training and confidence to make a true difference in the world.

NEWS MFAH and HCC to present Fashion Fusion May 19

The roadway meets the runway in this year’s Fashion Fusion, a fashion competition inspired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, exhibition Sculpted in Steel: Art Deco Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1929–1940. 

Open to young designers in the award-winning fashion program at Houston Community College, Fashion Fusion challenges students to create original garments as contemporary responses

to the automobiles on display in the exhibition. Presented by the MFAH and HCC, Fashion Fusion culminates in a

professional fashion show and awards presentation on Thursday, May 19, in the museum’s Cullinan Hall.

Twenty garments created by HCC’s emerging designers will be featured. A distinguished panel of judges will assess the students’ work based on theme, construction, and overall presentation, and announce the top four winners. Winning garments will be displayed in the MFAH’s Kinder Foundation Education Center for 10 days following the announcement.

The Museum’s Happy Hour Thursday moves to Cullinan Hall in celebration of Fashion Fusion, with extended hours from 6 to 9 p.m. Before and after the fashion show, visitors can enjoy cocktails and visit Sculpted in Steel, on view in the Brown Foundation Galleries in the Beck Building.

Admission to Fashion Fusion is free. VIP tickets for seating are available for $25 and include one free drink at Happy Hour Thursday. Exhibition tickets for Sculpted in Steel are available for $23. Tickets are always free for MFAH members. 

NEWS Leebron elected fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Rice University President David Leebron has been elected a fellow of te American Academy of Arts and Sciences, on eo fthe nation's foremost scholarly honors.

Founded in 1780, the academy is among the oldest and most prestigious honorary societies in the country. The society's list of current and former members includes Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Albert Einstein.

The 2016 class of 213 new members includes noted autism rights activist Temple Grandin, jazz artist Wayne Shorter, former Time magazine editor Walter Isaacson, as well as winners of the Pulitzer Prize, the Wolf Prize, MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, the Fields Medal, the Grammy Award and National Book Award.

Leebron became Rice's seventh president in 2004 and also is a professor of political science. In addition to his duties at Rice, Leebron chairs the board of directors for the Consortium on Financing Higher Education as well as the advanced technology organization Internet2.

He also is vice chair of the board of directors of the American Association of Universities, serves on the NCAA Board of Governors and on the boards of the Greater Houston Partnership and the IMAX Corp. Leebron is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former member of the Commission on Federal Election Reform and the Commission on the War Powers.

Prior to joining Rice, Leebron was dean of Columbia Law School for eight years. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he is a former president of Harvard Law Review and also served as a law clerk for Judge Shirley Hufstedler on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Los Angeles. He began his teaching career in 1980 at the UCLA School of Law and joined the New York University School of Law in 1983. He has written numerous articles on wide-ranging issues including international trade, legal education, human rights and corporate finance.

Leebron's many honors include France's Commandeur de l'Ordre national du Mérite, Spain's Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel la Católica, an honorary doctorate from Nankai University, an honorary professorship at Tianjin University's School of Law, the Greater Houston Partnership's International Executive of the Year award and the Chinese Civic Center of Greater Houston Chinese Community's Distinguished Friend of China award.

The academy's new members will be inducted October 8 at a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass.

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