With record-breaking heat came record-breaking energy use across the state of Texas, raising renewed concerns about the state’s power grid. As the Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued reassurances about the state’s power reserves, Rice professor Daniel Cohan warned that Texas could be in trouble if it faces an unusually hot summer. Cohan’s unique expertise on this arcane but crucial subject was responsible for more than 950 mentions of Rice on outlets such as NPR, CBS News, the Hill, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the Texas Tribune.
An explosion caused one of the largest U.S. export plants producing liquefied natural gas to shut down for more than three weeks, disrupting global LNG supplies and throwing gas markets into turmoil. After Freeport LNG, which handles around 20% of U.S. LNG processing, disclosed the shutdown, reporters seeking context contacted Steven Miles, a fellow in global natural gas for the Center for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. His analysis of the accident’s impact was heard on more than 1,000 NPR affiliates across the nation.
Grace Walters is the Vince Lombardi of championship spelling. For five consecutive years, this Jones College senior has coached the winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. After her latest pupil — Harini Logan of San Antonio — took the trophy on national television, newspapers across the nation carried stories touting her prowess as a spelling bee tutor. An Associated Press story mentioning her — and Rice — was published in more than 800 media outlets including the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the New York Post and The Hill.
For a full list of May and June media stars,
please see the last section of this report.
Government Relations prepares for JFK moon speech celebration and hosts state and federal representatives
As May began, so too did a more intense level of planning between Government Relations, various Rice divisions and NASA Johnson Space Center to prepare for a major commemoration of the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy’s famous “Address at Rice University on the Nation’s Space Front,” or the “moon speech” as it’s more commonly known. NASA is fully committed to ensuring a successful event in partnership with Rice, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has accepted our invitation to join us at Rice Stadium Sept. 12.
In May, we also traveled to Austin to attend the first interim session hearing of the Texas Senate Committee on Higher Education and to lay the groundwork for some Rice priorities in advance of next year’s regular session. Back in Houston, we hosted a number of government visitors, including state Rep. Ann Johnson, D-Houston, for a tour of the new Brockman Hall for Opera and invited her to throw the first pitch at a Rice baseball game. We also participated in a strategic planning session with Rice’s OpenStax, facilitated a meeting between Rice’s Data to Knowledge (D2K) Lab and leaders of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), and attended multiple forums and networking events with members of Congress from the Houston congressional delegation. We also worked with the Ion team to host a tour for U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-TX.
In June, we introduced a battery technology company to several groups on campus — including the Office of Research and the Center for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute for Public Policy — to discuss Rice partnering with them on a $50 million Department of Energy application to fund a battery manufacturing facility in Houston. Government Relations also participated in strategic planning sessions with the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. We helped organize Rice’s participation in a human spaceflight stakeholder meeting called by state Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, and attended by leaders from Rice, Texas A&M University, Space Center Houston and NASA Johnson Space Center. In late June, we supported OpenStax in hosting Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal at the Ion for a roundtable to discuss the success of open textbooks and innovative, nonfinancial student support services offered by Houston higher education institutions.
Rice represented in Houston's Pride Parade
After a two-year COVID hiatus, more than 100 Rice students, alumni, employees, family and friends proudly represented Rice in Houston’s 44th annual Pride Parade June 25. After kicking off with a Pride Picnic organized by the Office of University Relations and Rice Alumni Pride, the parade walkers loaded into campus shuttle buses and rode downtown to wave, smile and throw beads to an estimated crowd of nearly 700,000 cheering community members along the parade route. Despite a heat index of more than 100 degrees, Rice participants had nothing but great things to say about the return to in-person LGBTQIA+ pride celebrations. University Relations is thankful for the support of the following organizations on campus as well as our amazing volunteers: Alumni Affairs, Public Affairs, Rice Alumni Pride, Rice Business Out & Allied, Rice Employee Pride, Rice Pride, Queer Graduate Student Association, STEM, Rice University Police Department, Rice Transportation and the Marching Owl Band (the MOB).
In celebration of Juneteenth 2022, Creative Services designed a digital flyer sent out through email and EventBrite. The event, cosponsored by Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association, the Association of Rice Alumni, and Texas Southern University National Alumni Association, featured in-person and online participation options focused on three panel discussions exploring ideas and questions central to the holiday.
This 16-page spring semester issue of the newsletter for the Program in Jewish Studies consisted of a print run of 1,400 copies, with 1,339 copies mailed to friends and supporters of the program.
Ancient Mediterranean Civilization poster series
Creative Services created an awareness campaign poster series for the Humanities' Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations program based on the tagline: “Antiquity is closer than you think.” This poster from the series emphasizes key aspects of public art in the ancient Mediterranean world and its correlation to public art in the present day.
Multicultural Community Relations
Summer camps return to Rice
Organized by Multicultural Community Relations, the May 14 quarterly K–12 outreach council meeting featured a series of speakers who talked about summer programs at Rice. Leticia Velazquez and Sabrina Hernandez from the Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity in Education discussed their award-winning STEM summer camp for rising students in grades eight through 12 as well as the Tapia professional development workshops for K–12 educators at Rice. Diana DeSantiago, operations manager for two Rice residential colleges, discussed summer housing and dining programs and procedures. Diane Wolfthal, the David and Caroline Minter Professor Emerita of Humanities and professor emeritus of art history, discussed the Friends of Phillis Wheatley High School, a nonprofit of which she is founder and president.
Blackshear Elementary celebrates Family Reunion
Located in the Third Ward, Blackshear Elementary celebrated a “Family Reunion” day May 5. Staffers from Multicultural Community Relations manned a table offering free children’s books and other giveaways and spent the day visiting with students and parents. Blackshear staff, faculty and other organizations and residents of the Third Ward community received information about Rice summer camps for children and other resources.
Supporting the Houston Community’s good works – Parties with a Purpose
Rice alumna Juliet Stipeche ’96 and MCR Director David Medina were present at the annual luncheon of the Tejano Education Center at Minute Maid Park May 18. More than 300 community members attended the luncheon, which featured Rice sociologist Stephen Klineberg. Rice board member Donald Bowers and students, staff, faculty and alumni attended the Education and Charities Foundation of Houston’s Black and White Gala June 11.
The 12th annual Texas Diversity Council Summer Youth Program returns to the Rice campus
MCR and the Texas Diversity Council organized and ran the 12th annual summer youth program June 13–17. The program focuses on college readiness and the writing of a college admission essay. A diverse group of 80 young people from the greater Houston area spent five full days participating in sessions with presenters from corporate America, the Rice Offices of Admission and Financial Aid, and members of Rice’s staff, faculty and alumni. Students spent two hours daily honing their writing skills and working on drafts of their essays. The program provided breakfast, lunch and other giveaways to students from underserved communities.
Marketing and Digital Communications
Marketing campaign – Spring 2021
The spring 2021 marketing campaign was entered in the local American Marketing Association’s annual Crystal Awards for 2022. Rice won four awards for the paid advertising campaign that ran across social media platforms.
•Advertising: Paid Display–Online
•Marketing Campaign: Large budget
•Marketing Campaign: Nonprofit
•Maverick Marketing: This category is described as one in which the campaign stands out from others in its approach, target and results achieved.
Marketing campaign– Spring 2022
Media buy – Spring 2022
The spring media campaign includes a heavy digital component with Inside Higher Education and the Chronicle of Higher Education. A national NPR campaign that includes radio reads, digital and podcasts also makes up the spring schedule.
Total impressions: 61,851,877 – 11% above estimates
Total clicks: 24,739
Ad used for all:
All ads used a similar creative focus and linked to unconventional.Rice.edu.
Facebook and Instagram
Reach: 1,555,448 unique individuals; the target audience saw at least one of the ads a total of 21,422,377 times.
Engagement: 274,262 total with 135,192 people clicking through to the landing page to read more.
Visits to the homepage decreased during May and June with the end of the spring semester and students and faculty on summer leave. Total page views were 355,103, with visitors spending an average of 3 minutes, 33 seconds on the site, which continues to show that they are finding the information they need.
May/June Page views: 355,103 Average time on page: 3 minutes, 33 seconds Bounce rate: 70.63%
Public Affairs and the Office of Information Technology have successfully launched 273 Drupal 8 websites as of June 30. The Office of the President (DesRoches edition) and Presidential Inauguration websites launched June 30 in the Rice-branded Drupal theme with a new design, real-time content and a new user experience.
The two departments are also collaborating on an additional 35 new websites that have come into the Rice-branded theme. Some of the websites currently under development are:
• Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL)
• Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences
• Environmental Science
• Genetic Design and Engineering Center
• Geofluids Lab | Helge Gonnermann
• National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships (NNERPP)
• Office of Faculty Development (OFD)
• Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (OURI) **
• Organization & Workforce Laboratory (OWL)
• Professional Science Master's Program (PSMP) **
• RICE 360°
• Rice Center for Quantum Materials (RCQM) **
• Rice Emergency Medical Services
• Rice Military
• The Chemistry of Art
• The Kinder Institute for Urban Research
Impressions reflects the number of times the content was seen. Followers reflects the number of people who follow the main Rice accounts. Engagements reflects the number of interactions (likes, loves, shares, comments, clicks) on a post.
Social media channel overview for May and June:
• Gained 5,094 followers
• 8,103,651 impressions
• 282,434 engagements
• 41,259 post link clicks
• Total followers across platforms: 254,960
Total followers: 42,546 Gained: 757 followers Top post: A resilient Class of 2022 celebrates degrees earned Second-highest post: The 109th Commencement of Rice University starts today!
Total followers: 60,782 Gained: 613 likes Top post: Congratulations class of 2022! Second-highest post: Commencement is complete!
Total followers: 104,053 Gained: 3,153 followers Top post: A resilient Class of 2022 celebrates degrees earned Second-highest post: The 109th Commencement of Rice University starts today!
Total followers: 47,579 Gained: 884 followers Top post: Congrats Class of '22! Second-highest post: Rice students team up with the Houston Zoo
No surprise the 2022 Commencement at Rice posts were the most popular on every platform.
Post-graduation engagements fell as students and other followers on the various platforms started their summer. There’s movement from platforms as prospective students drop their following and graduates move from one platform to another.
Impressions from this current period leveled out over the previous period as paid social media ads ended in early May.
Daniel Cohan, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and a Rice faculty scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, had the highest number of media mentions — 2,993 — during May and June, mainly for comments about Texas’ energy grid. Below are members of the Rice community who were mentioned in the media 10 or more times between May and June.
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
Jon Kimura Parker
Ryan Linn Brown
Erez Lieberman Aiden
Alden Sajor Marte-Wood
Sibani Lisa Biswal
The chart below shows Rice’s media mentions since 2007. The green column reflects the number of mentions through June 30, 2022.