May 11, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas - Despite heavy rains late in the week, the spirits of the 100th graduating class of Rice University could not be dampened, which included 90 student-athletes.
Rice President David Leebron welcomed the graduates' friends and families to a ceremony that turned out to have impeccable weather. Overnight storms had left the morning cool and damp, and in Houston in May, he thanked Reverend T.J. Martinez, who delivered the invocation, for praying for such wonderful conditions.
The day began early for the new student-athlete graduates as they gathered with their coaches and other members of the Rice Athletics Department for the annual Graduation Breakfast in the “R” Room. Afterwards, they joined their colleges for the procession onto the Academic Quad to receive their degrees.
Athletes representing every sport walked across the stage on Saturday morning, including one notable pair of siblings. Former Rice baseball standouts Enrique Cruz and Jose Cruz Jr. each completed their degrees within the past academic year. The brothers were joined by a large family contingent to celebrate the occasion.
The group also included Joyce Pounds Hardy Award winner and outgoing SAAC president Andie Obermeyer (soccer) and Tamir Jackson, who completed his outstanding basketball career as the program’s sixth leading scorer and a placeholder in the top five in the Rice record book for seven other statistical categories.
This year's commencement address was delivered by world-renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.
Tyson recalled the large role that Rice University has played in the United States’ space program over the last 50 years and urged the new graduating class to carry on the school's great tradition of contributing to the exploration of earth and beyond.