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NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Colwick enters record books, national rankings

Sophomore sensation Jason Colwick vaulted from behind the hedges and into the national spotlight this past weekend at the Texas Relays in Austin. Colwick's mark of 18 feet, 2.5 inches in the pole vault not only earned him first place but also broke Rice's oldest men's track and field record. One of Rice's most distinguished athletic alumni, Dave Roberts (Will Rice '73), set the record in 1972 with a vault of 18-0.25. Roberts' height came in the middle of a career during which he became the first vaulter to ever win three straight national championships. When done setting Rice records, Roberts moved on to the world stage and twice broke the world record before winning a U.S. national title. Roberts also won a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.



NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

The buzz with BotB winners the Social Insects

At KTRU's 17th Annual Outdoor Show on Sunday, Rice's population of music fans and lawn loungers might find themselves distracted from the buzz of mosquitoes by the sounds of some much larger insects. As the winners of this year's Battle of the Bands, also sponsored by KTRU, the eclectic trio of Will Rice College students known as the Social Insects ---- made up of senior Mary Jane "MJ" Kwan, senior Kellie Simon and junior Josh Levin - has embraced their newfound campus fame like a child dropped in a swimming pool: With surprise, flailing limbs and a grasp at what had seemed impossible. The Thresher invaded their practice session in Will Rice Room 204 to preview the Insects firsthand and is still scratching the itch.Thresher: How did you get together? Have you played together in the past?


NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Guest column: Housing and Dining staff deserve respect

Looking back at my freshman year, I have two regrets: Not being very involved in Rice University or my college and not getting to know the staff that I interacted with each day. Today, some of the most rewarding daily interactions I have are with the housing and servery staff of Sid Richardson College.When I had a horrible case of the flu, Custodian Julia Hernandez, who works on the fifth floor, came in to check on me. Food Production Associates Gabriel Aguilar, Mary Tibbs and everyone else at the Sid Rich servery always ask about my day at every lunch and dinner and worry about me when I am not there for meals. Chef Gabe will make me a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich whenever I crave it. When I got my first job and finished my first gigantic paper, Mary celebrated with me. And those specific examples are not exceptions to the rule: The staff members of Rice - from my college coordinator to the Community Involvement Center staff to Housing and Dining - enrich my life as much anyone else here.


NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Braun chosen as new men's basketball coach

When the 2008-'09 men's basketball season opens, the completed renovations to Autry Court will not be the only new sight for fans. On Sunday, Ben Braun was announced as the new head basketball coach at Rice, replacing 16-year coach Willis Wilson (Will Rice '82), who was released March 14.Athletic Director Chris Del Conte said Braun brightens the program's future prospects.



NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Kings of the Diamond

At Rice, it is not difficult to see what reigns as king between the hedges: baseball. With just a glimpse of the Reckling Park scoreboard,piercing the night's humidity with its smoky blue "R's," anyone can see the varsity baseball team's ownership of the campus. Not many college teams can boast a slogan sans proper grammar - "Rice Baseball, 'Nuff Said" - and get away with it, nor can many hoist a National Championship banner to the same level as the Texas State Flag.It is kind of an exclusive club, to say the least.


NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Two comedians spotlight interfaith differences

"Comedy's Odd Couple," a show featuring nationally known comedians Rabbi Bob Alper and Muslim Azhar Usman, came to the Baker Commons Tuesday as part of an interfaith event to promote tolerance on campus. The comedians' routines covered their family backgrounds, current lives, religious experiences and the elephant in the room, as Alper referred to it: Their separate faiths.Usman, a Chicago-born Indian Muslim has served as a lecturer and lawyer, community activist and co-founder of the Allah Made Me Funny Comedy Tour. He told the audience of his experiences with religious and racial intolerance.


NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Welcome, Ben Braun

Roughly three weeks after announcing the release of head men's basketball coach Willis Wilson (Will Rice '82), Athletics Director Chris Del Conte announced at a press conference Monday that Ben Braun would be his successor (see story, page 1). Braun is welcome here as a new spark who we hope can rekindle a slow-burning program. We hope he keeps in mind, however, that he can certainly find winning players who also have academic abilities to match their athletic talents. Basketball honors at Rice are attainable, despite our academic standards, and we wish Braun the best of luck in winning them.



NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Commentary: Basketball blends brains with Braun to bring back buzz

The first thing I noticed about Ben Braun during the press conference announcing his hiring last Monday was his clothing. Usually, new head coaches are dressed in their finest suits, trying to make a good first impression on skeptical alumni and fans. But Braun, the new men's basketball coach, walked into the media spotlight in a Rice polo shirt and sweat pants. He made it clear he was already hard at work rebuilding a somewhat broken program."Excuse my working clothes," Braun said. "Today is my first day on the job."


NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Sport Management students host charity bowling event

The Rice Sport Management program teamed up with the Athletic Department to host the first Rice Owl Bowl fundraiser on March 31 at Dave and Buster's on Katy Freeway. Over $11,600 in event proceeds will benefit the new Rice Tickets-for-Kids charity and the Sport Management Program.The inaugural event was produced by Sport Management students in Kinesiology 366: Event and Facility Management. At the beginning of this semester, the students were prompted to organize an event to raise money for charity and the department. Kinesiology Professor Tom Stallings provided support, but the students were responsible for the planning and execution of the event.


NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

ESTHER changes to prevent overscheduling

A series of registration changes began taking effect this week as ESTHER was modified to reduce schedule overlap. Alana Lemay-Gibson, associate registrar for technology, said when students add courses that are scheduled at the same time, ESTHER now notifies them of the conflict. Next fall, ESTHER will be further modified so that it not only warns students, but bars them from enrolling in overlapping courses. The former version of ESTHER was not equipped with this feature, Gibson said.The aim of the new ESTHER feature is to reduce the incidence of accidental schedule conflict, she said.


NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Regional poll tests Rice recognition

Students from outside of Texas may not be surprised to learn that about half of the professionals from the East and West Coasts have heard of Rice, according to a recent market survey by the Office of Public Affairs. The survey, which Vice President for Public Affairs Linda Thrane said is the first to ask about Rice's recognition, polled 800 people and found Rice to be best-known in Texas, with awareness dropping along the East and West Coasts. Thrane said the survey found that among those who recognized Rice, the majority had a favorable impression of the university. The majority of those surveyed surprisingly did not have a negative view of Houston, Thrane said. The Office of Public Affairs conducted a phone poll of 800 opinion leaders -- affluent people over 35 who are active in their communities - in Houston, greater Texas, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Participants were asked about their familiarity with Rice, what attributes they associated with the university, whether they had heard or read about Rice in the news, whether they had a personal connection with Rice and whether they had visited Houston. Thrane said the survey was intended as a benchmark for future surveys on Rice's reputation as part of President David Leebron's Vision for the Second Century.


NEWS 4/10/08 7:00pm

Rondelet draws 350 students

After a year of absence, the spring formal Rondelet returned in the form of "Midnight Masquerade" with approximately 350 attendees. Rice Program Council hosted Rondelet on Friday, March 28 at Trevisio Restaurant in the Texas Medical Center. Compared to last semester's fall formal, Esperanza, which drew about 550 attendees, the spring formal was smaller in size. RPC President Michelle Kerkstra said they had anticipated a traditionally smaller turnout for the spring formal and had hoped to have at least 300 attendees.


NEWS 3/27/08 7:00pm

Massengale ends illustrious career with All-America honors

Walking out onto the pool deck at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion at Ohio State University, without any of her swimming teammates to stand beside her, senior Brittany Massengale was determined to not be intimidated by the bigger squads and their visible fan support. But as Rice's sole NCAA qualifier, Massengale had reason to be nervous.Fortunately for Massengale, one of the most decorated swimmers in Rice history, the butterflies in her stomach could not slow her down on collegiate swimming's biggest stage. After placing 32nd in the 200-yard freestyle preliminaries, she qualified for the championship finals in the 1650 and 500 freestyle, where she placed 12th and 13th, respectively. Her two finishes in the finals were worth a cumulative score of nine points, which put Rice in a tie for 39th place. Massengale is the first Owl to score in two individual events at the national meet since Mandy Mularz (Wiess '04) accomplished this feat at the NCAA Championships in 2002.


NEWS 3/27/08 7:00pm

Self-proclaimed gadfly:Superficial intelligence no substitute for true learning

Since I have spent the last three years working at the Rice Thresher, I had forgotten what it is like to open the paper Friday morning and not know what the news is going to be. Last week was a great week to start. In case you missed it, students from Will Rice College strung fishing wire around campus as part of a jack. Some students tried to take it down after a girl was caught across the neck while riding her bike and thrown to the ground. But never fear, the Will Ricers wasted no time putting the wire back up - only at knee level though, because it is not like that could possibly hurt anyone.At the risk of sounding elitist or judgmental, this whole event was a great example of one of the many lessons that nearly all Rice students learn by the end of their four years: Rice students are dumb.


NEWS 3/27/08 7:00pm

Brown to receive new masters at semester's end

Like its 2008 Beer-Bike theme proclaimed, this semester marks Brown College's last round with their masters, the Hutchinsons. Chemistry professor John Hutchinson and Paula Hutchinson have completed their five-year term as Brown masters. They will be replaced by mathematics professor Steve Cox and Laura Cox. The Coxes served as Sid Richardson College masters from 2000-2005.Chair of the Masters Search Committee Jessica Simon said she will miss the Hutchinsons but is eager to welcome the new masters.


NEWS 3/27/08 7:00pm

Tiny dancers

Members of the Chinese Student Association perform a Taiwanese fusion ribbon dance Friday at the Culture Fair in the Rice Memorial Center. The group previously performed this dance at CSA's Lunar New Year show.


NEWS 3/27/08 7:00pm

Decrease parking fees

After several months spent gathering research and statistics on parking and transportation at Rice, the University Standing Committee on Parking is expected to release its findings and a proposal to the administration as early as next week (see story, page 1). We urge President David Leebron to accept the committee's recommendation that parking rates be decreased overall, and that a more tiered system of fees be implemented.Houston is a big city, and as Rice students know, there is plenty to see and do. Unfortunately, the majority of activities off campus require the use of a car, which, as we know from our current experiences can often be a burden when it comes to paying parking fees.