Editor's Note - Winter 2018

Welcome to the first of our quarterly issues for 2018, our Janus view, where we take stock and look ahead. First, a look back: There’s no better summary of 2017 than videographer Brandon Martin’s “A Year in the Life” five-minute showcase of an unforgettable year at Rice. To watch this video, go to magazine.rice.edu — you’ll find all our stories and videos from the past two years in an easily shareable format.

And speaking of highlight reels, this past year we harnessed words and imagery to keep you informed and connected to Rice’s teaching, research and community outreach missions. For example, Rice staff traveled to Malawi to document an ongoing international effort to save newborn lives (“Breathe Easy, Repeat”) and Luis Duno-Gottberg recounted a (inadvertently) historic trip to Cuba with Rice’s baseball team (“The Caribbeanist”). Closer to home, Houston writer and folk music scion John Nova Lomax recounted Rice archivists’ race to document and preserve Houston’s relatively unknown folk music scene (“Folk Revival”), and writer Jennifer Latson recounted dinner out with food critic extraordinaire Alison Cook ’69 (“Undercover Eater”).

Judging by your correspondence and our analytics, the entire Houston food-themed summer issue caught your attention. We’re not about to pick favorites — but you did. A spread about burger-chan founders Diane ’07 and Willet Feng ’06, featuring an annotated close-up on their eponymous burger (“Meat Cute”), was our most-read online story in 2017. In the Night Owl series, audiences were starstruck by Rick Fienberg’s ’78 homemade observatory (“Stargazer”). This quarterly series is dear to our heart, so when night owl Andy Einhorn ’04 agreed to let our writer sit in the orchestra pit while he conducted “Hello, Dolly!” it was our turn to be starstruck.

Which brings us to our special issue on Hurricane Harvey (“Storm Stories”), — also expanded online. You appreciated knowing what happened on campus and what Rice expertise can contribute to averting another disaster. “The thing I love about Rice is that it is an incredible community,” said Provost Marie Lynn Miranda while mucking out a home belonging to Rice employees. “And at Rice we take care of our own, and we take care of and love Houston.”   

Back to the present. As excited as we are about the scope and variety of stories in the issue you’re holding or reading online, we’re just as excited about the changes in the works for the coming year. For starters, we’ve kicked off the new year by moving from saddle stitch to perfect binding — did you notice? Behind the scenes, we’ll also be undertaking a redesign and aiming for a big reveal next fall. As always, we’re looking for your feedback and seeing what stories you’re reading online. The quest for next year’s highlight reel begins now! — Lynn Gosnell