Lifelong Friendships Create Lifelong Learning for Houston

Bob Clarke and Clarke Anderson

The greatest achievements in history often result not from the merits of a single person, but through collaboration. Would America be all it is today without the partnership of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark? Sam, Jack, Albert and Harry probably mean little to you as individuals, but as the Warner Bros. they have left an indelible mark on the film industry that is recognized by all. Brothers Wilbur and Orville might not have ever achieved flight if not for their lifelong partnership. This list goes on and on: Jobs and Wozniak; Ben and Jerry; Procter and Gamble. Whether by chance or fate these partnerships happen and the results impact lives all over the world for generations to come.

More than 50 years ago, D. Kent Anderson and Robert L. Clarke met as students. What resulted from that meeting has forever changed Continuing Studies at Rice and thus the face of Houston.

Mary McIntire, Susie Glasscock and Linda Anderson

Mary McIntire, Susie Glasscock and Linda Anderson, photo by Jeff Fitlow

In June 2012, Rice trustee emeritus Kent Anderson ’62 and his wife, Linda Anderson, and Rice trustee emeritus Robert Clarke ’63 and his late wife, Jean “Puddin’” made a major donation to the Rice Centennial Campaign toward the construction of a new home for the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Rice University named the new building in honor of the families of Rice alumni and trustees Anderson and Clarke. The D. Kent and Linda C. Anderson and Robert L. and Jean T. Clarke Center, completed in early 2014, is a three-story, 55,000-square-foot facility with 24 state-of-the-art classrooms, conference rooms, a language center, a freestanding auditorium and a commons area and terrace for events. This, along with their many other contributions to Rice and the City of Houston all began with that time-tested friendship forged right here at Rice.

This friendship speaks to the spirit of what Rice is all about – students come together on this picturesque campus and are given the tools needed to grow and question and discover their passions and their strengths. In a very similar way, the Glasscock School provides community members with the knowledge and edge to improve themselves, to change direction, to thrive and ultimately to give back in ways that truly strengthen the entire fabric of our city.

“It feels right to give back to Rice in so many ways for the excellent education, wonderful friends and opportunities,” said Kent Anderson. “I am pleased to be able to support the Glasscock School as it is a gift to both the Rice community and the city of Houston.”

What started on campus all those years ago was a friendship that has endured much like the  Glasscock School. Now in its 47th year, the Glasscock School currently attracts nearly 20,000 enrollments annually and has drawn students from more than 100 countries. The new Anderson-Clarke Center will continue to empower Houstonians and lifelong learners from around the world.

Mary McIntire, Rice trustee emeritus Susie Glasscock, Rice Board of Trustees Chair Bobby Tudor, Rice trustee emeritus Robert Clarke, Linda Anderson, Rice trustee emeritus Kent Anderson, Mel Glasscock and Rice President David Leebron take part in the ribbon-cutting for the Anderson-Clarke Center. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

Mary McIntire, Susie Glasscock, Rice Board of Trustees Chair Bobby Tudor, Robert Clarke, Linda Anderson, Kent Anderson, Mel Glasscock and Rice President David Leebron take part in the ribbon-cutting for the Anderson-Clarke Center, photo by Jeff Fitlow

“I continue to be impressed with the spectacular educational experience Rice offers to all of its students,” said Robert Clarke. “The Glasscock School is an important part of that experience as it has meant so much to the thousands of students who have participated in its continuing education programs. After 45 years, it is appropriate for the school to have a proper home on the campus, and it is exciting for Puddin’ and me to be able to join with my sister, Linda, and my brother-in-law, Kent Anderson, and fellow alumni Susie and Mel Glasscock in helping perpetuate Rice’s continued service to the Houston community.”

Fall classes are in session now, and with the addition of numerous daytime classes, the building is constantly abuzz with students both young and old, all seeking to learn something new. Who knows what new friendships will form within the new space and how they will affect Rice and our city 50 years from now?

Top image credit: Robert Clarke and Clarke Anderson, photo by Jeff Fitlow

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