A fascinating view of commencement at Rice over the years - and the size and shape of each graduating class - is now available online.
Fondren Library is pleased to announce that Rice Commencement programs and ephemera such as invitations to Senior Banquets, Baccalaureate Services, lists of graduates, types of degrees, brief class histories and newsclippings from Houston and Texas newspapers are becoming available online in full text searchable PDF format.
The programs detail the order of events for commencement at the Rice Institute and later Rice University, including location and dates of events, speakers’ names and subjects and songs sung. Early years are available now and Fondren Library is working towards including every year up to the current.
One example of the stories these programs and related items show is that of the impact World War II on the campus. Beginning in March of 1943 the Rice Institute collaborated with the military to provide training of both specialists and engineers through the Naval ROTC program. A wartime accelerated graduation schedule was instituted. Students could graduate as early as a full year ahead of schedule and could graduate in October or March, in advance of the typical late May or early June commencement. This began in February 1944 and lasted until March 1946. Rice’s Campanile yearbook was published in two editions in 1944 reflecting this reality. The commencement programs of March 1946 and June 1946 are an example of this accelerated wartime schedule.
There are many more Rice traditions and exceptions to be discovered in this material.
Enjoy and stay tuned as we add more to Rice’s institutional repository, scholarship.rice.edu.