Like most of our quarterly magazines, this one combines long-term planning and pure serendipity. Last winter, we put out a call for nominations for our very first “20 under 30” alumni feature. Our invitation was simple: Tell us about young alumni who are “accomplished, focused, inspiring and whose stories evoke a bit of Rice’s unconventional wisdom.” We are so grateful to the many Rice alumni who responded with a sense of obvious pride about their fellow classmates, former students and friends.

Ultimately, we assembled a group of young alumni who do exemplify unconventional wisdom with pursuits as diverse as the performing arts, civil engineering, writing, global health, social justice, military service, entrepreneurship, journalism, architecture and more. Needless to say, we learned about more young alumni than we could include in this feature. (Stay tuned — an annual roundup is under discussion.) We hope you enjoy this inaugural effort and perhaps see someone you know.

As the spring unfolded, we discussed ways to honor Rice’s legendary baseball coach Wayne Graham. Our photo essay not only highlights Graham’s 27 years at Rice, but also his connection to baseball’s golden age, as our writer points out.

Summer brought us an unexpected opportunity to bring together one of Rice’s most distinguished teachers with an accomplished former student for a one-of-a-kind conversation. Through fortunate circumstances and the generosity of the participants themselves, Rice political scientist Robert Stein interviewed former White House press secretary Josh Earnest ’97. Our excerpts of two lively conversations give readers a peek into a very public position and a pivotal moment in U.S. history.

Finally, fall brought huge news about Rice’s ongoing commitment to its students. A new initiative, The Rice Investment, will dramatically expand financial aid to low- and middle-income students. As President David Leebron notes, while Rice’s financial aid policies are generous, the university can do more — especially for students from middle-income families. Turn to his column to read about this milestone announcement.

As we go to press, semester midterms are wreaking havoc with sleep cycles, but fall break is just around the corner. Houston is still waiting for a cool front to justify ordering one of the Rice Coffeehouse’s pumpkin spice specialties (Basic Witch, Mochus Pocus or Spoopynut). Welcome to a new academic year and an issue for all seasons.

— Lynn Gosnell

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