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M&M report

Office of Public Affairs Bimonthly measurements and metrics

July-August 2019

Big Story: 'One giant leap'   
Big Story: A glacier’s death goes global
Big Story: 'Rice scientists cure prostate cancer'

Media Highlights

'One giant leap'

The Apollo 11 moon landing’s 50th anniversary brought Rice a windfall of media attention from around the globe. Among the highlights: BBC Radio climaxed its series on the anniversary with an hourlong program recorded before a live audience at the Baker Institute, CBS News broadcast a six-minute television story devoted largely to Rice’s connection to the moon program and newspapers around the world cited JFK’s 1962 speech at Rice Stadium. In media outlets as diverse as The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Brisbane Times and Good News From Indonesia, the anniversary generated more than 6,000 mentions of Rice.

A glacier’s death goes global

The demise of Okjökull, the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change, was memorialized by a plaque installed by Rice researchers at a ceremony held atop a dormant volcano in Iceland. The Rice Public Affairs team aggressively promoted the event to international media and dispatched a news and media specialist to Iceland. Rice was mentioned more than 6,600 times by media outlets that included The Washington Post, USA Today, CBS News, Reuters, BBC, NPR, Time and Der Spiegel.


'Rice scientists cure prostate cancer'

A cancer therapy invented at Rice crossed a milestone in clinical trials, a major development in a decadeslong quest to develop a treatment that destroys tumors without the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Rice’s news release, along with an accompanying video showing the treatment of a local television weatherman who announced he was cancer-free, led to the Houston Chronicle publishing this priceless front page headline: “Rice scientists cure prostate cancer in 13.”

For a list of July and August media stars, please see the last section of this report. 

Government Relations

Quiet summer on campus? Not for Government Relations!
In July and August, Government Relations continued advancing Rice’s priorities through engagement in Austin, Washington and on campus. In mid-July, the department used a two-day Washington trip to conduct 11 meetings with House, Senate and administration offices. While there, Government Relations gained cosponsor commitments on a bill proactively addressing research security, laid the groundwork for congressional support for a repeal of the private university endowment excise tax and secured Texas delegation members’ support for a multi-institution Department of Energy research endeavor.
In mid-August, Government Relations traveled to Austin on behalf of Rice’s OpenStax initiative. We attended the annual meeting of a national state legislative conference to lay the foundation for model policies supporting greater adoption of free, high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks. Government Relations also continued its support for Rice’s research initiatives by helping facilitate a campus visit from the managing director of the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), a small but important Department of Defense research agency attempting to build networks of innovators to solve national security problems. A partnership and programming engagement agreement with NSIN came from the visit.

University Relations

University Relations concludes ‘NASAversary’ events

Summer 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and also the 60th anniversary of Rice’s long and beneficial collaboration with NASA. Over the past several months, University Relations and other Rice departments have hosted a series of Rice and NASA-related events to ensure that the university received appropriate recognition for its leading role in the history of our nation’s race for space.
Public Affairs and Rice Athletics capped off these events by participating in the city’s official celebration of the Apollo 11 moon landing at Discovery Green July 20. Rice hosted an informational booth on the university’s history with NASA, and thousands took the opportunity to stop and “take a selfie with JFK.” Attendees also picked up season ticket information from Rice Athletics and learned about their Sept. 14 “Why does Rice play Texas?” game. The celebration’s main stage attraction featured a public conversation with Douglas Brinkley, the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Professor in Humanities, about his new book, “American Moonshot.”
For more information on the university’s 60th “NASAversary,” please visit

Creative Services

Engineering Professional Master’s Program brochures

In July and August, Creative Services produced three brochures for the Engineering Professional Master’s Program (EPMP). The series, which includes 11 brochures in total, is used by the EPMP team in their recruitment efforts. The 2019 series — including civil and environmental engineering, computer science and bioengineering — incorporates the new Rice branding elements as part of the annual updates.
Humanities T-shirts

Creative Services designed and ordered 200 t-shirts for the School of Humanities. The shirts were distributed to students during O-Week in August. The design features the school’s new logo lockup.
Sociology brochures

To aid in the Sociology Department's recruitment efforts, Creative Services designed and edited a brochure to increase awareness of the department’s offerings for graduate students. The brochure features three faculty members who explain their areas of expertise and why they chose to teach at Rice. It also includes general information such as affiliated institutes, centers and programs.

Multicultural Community Relations

Tips for accessing a college education

Students from the Houston League of United Latin American Citizens Talent Search and Upward Bound Math and Science programs learned tips for applying to college from the Multicultural Community Relations (MCR) team July 10. The 21 high school students spent a summer gaining information to prepare them for the admission and financial aid process.
Welcoming new students

The Hispanic Association of Cultural Enrichment at Rice (HACER) and Rice’s Black Student Association (BSA) welcomed new students and their families to campus Aug. 17. With MCR’s assistance, both groups engaged university faculty, alumni, students and staff with the newcomers. President David Leebron, professors, students and staff participated in the program. Both events drew a standing room-only crowd, as more than 400 new students and their families were warmly welcomed by the Rice community.
Hispanic journalism gala offers scholarships

The Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals’ 33rd annual gala took place Aug. 23, and MCR hosted a table and participated in the program. The gala, which was attended by 300 people, offers scholarships for young Latino students interested in studying journalism and communications. MCR’s David Medina '83, served as one of the scholarship presenters.

Marketing and Digital Communications

The 'interwebs' dashboard

Social Media

In July and August, Rice social media channels received more than 2 million impressions with more than 400,000 engagements.

Impressions: The number of times the content was seen.
Engagements: The number of interactions (likes, shares, comments, clicks, etc.) on a post.
Followers: The number of people who follow the main Rice accounts.

Twitter’s top post featured a behind-the-scenes video of Apollo 11 space veterans’ visit to campus. The video was viewed more than 34,000 times. The official Twitter account of the White House retweeted the post, which amplified its reach.
Facebook’s top post was the O-Week matriculation video. The video reached more than 29,000 people and received more than 7,000 engagements.
LinkedIn’s top post was Rice's Princeton Review ranking announcement. The post received more than 25,000 impressions and the video was viewed more than 8,000 times.
In July, the Rice Instagram account set a record for the most liked post. A series of sunrise photos over Lovett Hall by Rice videographer Brandon Martin received 3,806 likes. The post, which featured a popular song lyric, received more than 30,000 impressions. For context, the second most liked post received 2,909 likes.
In August, the Rice YouTube account surpassed 10 million lifetime video views. One video in particular by Rice videographer Brandon Martin — Young Jupiter smacked head-on by massive planet — received close to 150,000 views in just a few weeks after being uploaded. and brand websites

As of mid-August, Public Affairs and the Office of Information Technology have started producing and migrating the current Drupal sites into the next Drupal 8 theme. A few sites in development are for the George R. Brown School of Engineering, Rice News, Rice Summer Sessions and the Center for Civic Leadership.

From June 28 to Aug. 31, the Google Analytics for came in just under 700,000 page views. Visitors spent an average of almost five minutes on the site with a bounce rate below 38%.

From June 28 to Aug. 31, the Google Analytics for came in just over 11,600 page views. Visitors spent an average of almost 1 1/2 minutes on the site with a bounce rate of just under 30%, meaning that most people got what they needed relatively easily.

Media Stars

Howe and Boyer are July and August media stars 

Anthropology professors Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer had the highest number of media mentions — 6,513 — during July and August, mainly for comments about Iceland’s former glacier, Okjökull. Below are members of the Rice community who were mentioned in the media 10 or more times during July and August.

Cymene Howe 6,513
Dominic Boyer 6,513
Mark Jones 3,242
Vivian Ho 2,727
Douglas Brinkley 1,714
David Gantz 1,465
Elaine Howard Ecklund 1,431
Kenneth Medlock 678
Mike Bloomgren 547
Andrea Isella 482
Jeffrey Kripal 414
Brian Smith 278
David Leebron 184
Jim Blackburn 161
Utpal Dholakia 142
Austin Escamilla 116
Jim Krane 96
Peter Rodriguez 65
Matteo Pasquali 64
Naomi Halas 63
Daniel Cohan 62
Tori Woogk 60
Marie Lynn Miranda 52
Allison Thacker 52
Angel Martí 51
Paul Brace 48
Margaret Beier 45
Cordero Lopez 45
Mary Claire Neal 45
Wiley Green 44
Gabriel Collins 43
Francisco J. Monaldi 42
Lauren Taylor 42
Stephen Yan 42
Tony Payan 41
James Tour 41
Ken Janda 40
Jerry Mack 37
Bob Stein 37
Junichiro Kono 36
Gururaj Naik 36
Brian Lee 35
Katharine Neill Harris 34
Corbett Fong 33
Lianne Mananquil 33
Delaney Schultz 33
Zoran Perunovic 31
Drew Svoboda 31
George Zombakis 31
Junzhe Bao 27
Drew Carter 27
Chloe Doiron 27
Doug Natelson 25
George Abbey 24
Albert Han 22
Liyang Chen 20
Deirdre Hunter 20
Melissa Kean 20
Panpan Zhou 20
Jacob Robinson 19
Yael Hochberg 18
Richard Lopez 17
Jordan Miller 17
Nicole Behnke 16
Haley Kostyshyn 16
László Kürti 16
Kaitlyn Lovato 16
Yvette Pearson 15
Yousif Shamoo 15
Pengcheng Dai 14
Danielle King 14
Madeline Monroe 14
Myles Adams 13
Richard Baraniuk 13
Ksenia Bets 13
Tong Chen 13
Reginald DesRoches 13
Adrian Duhalt 13
Bin Gao 13
Ashleigh Smith McWilliams 13
Emilia Morosan 13
Andriy Nevidomskyy 13
Rebecca Nikonowicz 13
Evgeni Penev 13
Scott Solomon 13
David Tam 13
Boris Yakobson 13
Longji Cui 12
Max Besbris 11
Weilu Gao 11
Miriam Grunstein 11
Nia Howze 11
Xinwei Li 11
David Alexander 10
Ang Cai 10
Trei Cruz 10
Selin Ergülen 10
Eden King 10
Meredith Ogle 10
Qimiao Si 10
The chart below shows Rice’s media mentions since 2007. The green column reflects the number of Rice media mentions so far this year as of Aug. 31.
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