During the years 1908 and 1909, Rice's founding president, Edgar Odell Lovett, embarked on a bold undertaking — a journey around the world that would culminate in a singular vision for the new institution. Today, as we celebrate Rice's centennial year and prepare to welcome a second century of achievement and progress, it seems fitting that our community encourage and embrace Lovett's spirit of exploration. Ping and I write now to extend an invitation for you to join us on a very special centennial-year trip — which will include a companion program of academic events — to Istanbul, Turkey, during the weekend of June 8-10. I am deeply indebted to Mr. Ali Koç '90, who has graciously offered to assist in hosting Rice's delegation while in the city.
Among the more unfamiliar destinations on Lovett's trip around the world, Istanbul (then Constantinople) is the largest city in Turkey, which boasts one of the world's earliest human settlements and a vibrant, blended culture that is expressed in the nation's music, literature and architecture. With battlegrounds that shaped the world, castle ruins and the palaces of great empires, its landscape is dotted by remnants of a tumultuous history that has left a deep legacy. In Istanbul, visitors can browse lively city markets, relax at a pampering bath or savor the traditional tastes of Ottoman cuisine. Our itinerary will include something enjoyable for everyone to experience, from alternative city tours to boat cruises along the Bosphorus Strait.
Against this stunning background, and as a prelude to the Centennial Celebration lecture series in October, we will also be featuring a distinguished panel of speakers from Rice. Our confirmed guests include Dr. John Boles, professor and historian, and Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian, founding director of the Baker Institute. This will mark the first time that Rice has held a regional Alumni College event abroad, a fact made even more meaningful because it takes place during Rice's centennial year.
We would be delighted if you would join us for this unique and exciting journey.
David W. Leebron