Susanne “Susie” and Melbern “Mel” Glasscock’s history with the School of Continuing Studies began more than 30 years ago as first-time continuing studies students, but their journey and vision for the future of continuing education did not end there. Their support extended beyond the classroom through the act of philanthropy. In 2005, the Glasscocks gave Rice University’s School of Continuing Studies what is believed to be the largest endowment gift ever made to a continuing education program in the United States. They wanted to give back to the community that has been enriching their lives for decades. Their gift was designed to make sure that the school can continue to offer a wide range of fresh, innovative and accessible courses to Houston and beyond for years to come. In recognition of their generous gift, the school was officially renamed the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies in honor of Susie.
“Susie and I have been taking classes from the School of Continuing Studies since the 1970s,” Mel said. “We fit the profile of the school’s students, namely lifelong learners who want to be informed about a variety of subjects. I have been blessed beyond words to have Susie in my life, both personally and professionally, and it is most fitting to honor her in this manner.”
In November 2008, Rice launched a $1 billion Centennial Campaign to realize its Vision for the Second Century. Rice alumna and trustee Susie Glasscock ‘62 co-chaired the eight-year effort that exceeded the goal of $1 billion. Included in the campaign was a new home for Continuing Studies, which drew more than 400 donors, including the Glasscocks, who were committed to increasing the school’s and Rice’s prominence beyond the hedges. The result was a $24.2 million building with 32 named spaces within and around the center.
“You’ve heard a lot of the word ‘Houston’ when talking about the school — they’re simply not separable,” Susie said. “This new building is a community effort; just as it’s a community building … This building isn’t just about Continuing Studies and all its programs. This is a building where Rice University can greet, involve, engage and maybe even entertain our neighbors, the city of Houston and the world.”
In December 2012, the Glasscock School broke ground for its new home and less than two years later the Glasscocks witnessed their dream become a reality on May 22, 2014 at the official building dedication of the D. Kent and Linda C. Anderson and Robert L. and Jean T. Clarke Center, also known as the Anderson-Clarke Center. The Glasscock’s relationship with the Anderson and Clarke families began more than 50 years ago when Susie, Kent and Bob Clarke were undergraduates at Rice. Their heart and passion for lifelong learning is now a permanent fixture on Rice’s campus and stands as a symbol of Rice’s ongoing commitment to the broader community.
“We at the Glasscock School are so grateful to Susie and Mel; their support of Continuing Studies has ensured our future in the 21st century,” said Mary McIntire ‘75, dean of the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. “We would not be gathered here today without you two.”
Not only have the Glasscocks been recognized for their contributions to continuing education, but also for their leadership and generosity toward other Rice initiatives. Last fall, Susie and Mel were presented with the Honorary R Award during the Owls’ football game against UTEP. In January 2014, they were honored as distinguished alumni by the Friends of Fondren Gala and most recently for their extraordinary service to the university with the Association of Rice’s Alumni (ARA) highest award – the Gold Medal – at this year’s annual ARA Laureates Dinner on May 14, 2014. Susie’s invaluable service to Rice includes serving on several boards and committees and being honored with Rice’s Meritorious Service Award in 2005. Mel served on Rice’s Century Campaign Leadership Committee and is a loyal supporter of Rice Athletics.
Susie and Mel are eternally connected to Rice University and the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, and their commitment will continue to impact the lives of future lifelong learners.
Rachael Shappard, Marketing Coordinator