An Association Built on Continuing Friendships

It’s no surprise that the Master of Liberal Studies alumni association (MLSAA) has already been called one of
the most active alumni associations at Rice. After earning their masters, some MLS alumni weren’t ready to call it quits and applied their extra energy and focus to forming the new board. And after all that goes into getting a master’s degree, that’s a lot of extra energy refocused.

The official MLS alumni association founded their board in the fall of 2013, lead by Karin Shipman, who graduated in 2012. The Alumni Charter Board also includes Louis Bland ’13, Bill Chaney ’09, Virginia Clark, Margaret Denson ’09, Carlos Fernandez ’10, Vicky Gresik, John King, Linda Martin, Wanda Pan ’09, Luisa Parra ’12, Peggy Roe ’13, Joy Yeager ’11 and Lisa Yelenick ’13. These members were selected for their commitment to and engagement with the MLS program.

The impetus for this new group arose during an MLS Writer’s Group meeting where many of the alumni attendees revealed that they came to see each other, not necessarily only to share their writing. However, the MLSAA is far from a social group. During their second meeting they defined their mission: The MLSAA seeks to provide an ongoing relationship among graduates, the program and the university through activities that promote educational, intellectual and social opportunities offered by the degree.

Karin Shipman speaks to the formation of the group as well as their ongoing goals.

“The Charter Board of The Master of Liberal Studies Alumni Association had its first meeting on September 25, 2013. [The MLS graduates were] close-knit and wanted to continue friendships and associations made [during] this much loved program which changed our lives in so many positive ways. MLSAA would allow alumni to serve and interact with other MLS alumni as well as current and future students while being a part of the greater Rice University community through the Association of Rice Alumni.

Goals were adopted: to work with recruiting efforts for new students, to raise money for financial assistance to current students, to sponsor homecoming and social events for alumni and students and to provide educational experiences. Our start has been exciting, and we look forward to an even more successful and expanded future.”

HomecomingDance1Already the group has organized the first-ever Five-Year Reunion, honoring the founding students, participated in the Homecoming Brunch Connection during Rice’s 2014 homecoming weekend and planned the 2014 Winter Holiday Party. They have produced bumper stickers to use as gifts for donations and the group is coordinating the 10th anniversary celebration for MLS this fall. Most recently, the group has established a Scholarship Committee and is working on fundraising for that purpose.

To learn more or to get involved with the MLS Alumni Association, please contact Dan Stypa at 713-348-5094 or

Laura Bailey


Laura Bailey, Marketing Coordinator

2 thoughts on “An Association Built on Continuing Friendships

  1. Dear Laura, I just love working with you. Your seem to understand what I’m trying to do in regard to getting MLS recognized!! Love, Karin

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