Shive Matthews, Wise to receive Gold Medal at Rice Alumni’s 2023 Laureates Awards

At the Association of Rice Alumni’s 2023 Laureates Awards ceremony on May 4, the group will bestow its highest honor — the Gold Medal Award — to Rice University’s Kathleen Shive Matthews and Scott W. Wise ’71. 

The annual ceremony also will honor five prominent alumni with the Distinguished Alumni Award and five Rice community members with the Meritorious Service Award.

Gold Medal

Kathleen Shive Matthews

Kathleen Shive Matthews

Shive Matthews is the Stewart Memorial Professor Emeritus and an ex-officio member of the Office of Faculty Development’s Faculty Advisory Committee. Her research centered on the structure and function of genetic regulatory proteins. She joined Rice in 1972 as a professor of biochemistry and led Rice’s biochemistry and cell biology department from 1987 to 1995 before serving as dean of the Wiess School of Natural Sciences from 1998 to 2009. She also helped found the Keck Center for Computational Biology and the Gulf Coast Consortia, which support many successful graduate and postdoctoral training and research programs in the Greater Houston area.

In addition to her significant scientific contributions, Matthews has provided outstanding mentorship to emerging scientists. She has also won numerous teaching awards, including three esteemed George R. Brown Awards for Superior Teaching.

Further, Matthews helped found the National Science Foundation-sponsored ADVANCE program to increase the number of women and minorities at Rice’s Schools of Natural Science and Engineering and to provide support and mentoring for new faculty members.

She has been a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 1996, and served on the editorial board of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Journal of Biological Chemistry from 1989 to 1994 and as an associate editor from 1994 to 1999. 

Scott W. Wise ’71

Scott W. Wise

Wise is the former president and chief investment officer for Covariance Capital Management Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of TIAA-CREF. 

Prior to leading Covariance, Wise spent 21 years as the vice president for investments, treasurer and corporate secretary at Rice, beginning in 1989, and also served as the founding president of the Rice Management Co. from October 2009 to June 2010. He was responsible for the management and oversight of all investment matters, including asset allocation, sourcing investment opportunities, investment manager selections, redemptions and investment performance. In this capacity, he broadened the endowment’s asset allocation to include venture capital, private equity and hedge fund investment portfolios, as well as Rice’s real estate, timber, and oil and gas investments. Additionally, he worked with banks on securities custody, cash management and other banking matters, and developed and managed the university’s endowment spending policy. In his capacity as corporate secretary, Wise worked with the Rice Board of Trustees on various corporate and administrative matters. 

During his tenure, Rice’s endowment assets under management increased from approximately $1 billion to over $4 billion. In 2006, he was a finalist for Institutional Investor magazine’s Award for Excellence in Investment Management by Endowments. 

Distinguished Alumni Award

Gilda Barabino ’86

Gilda Barabino

Gilda Barabino is the second president of Olin College of Engineering. A chemical engineer by training with broad interests in global health and interdisciplinary research and education, she has pioneered new engineering approaches to problems in medicine, and her seminal research in sickle cell disease has informed current technologies and formed the basis for novel therapies. 

Prior to becoming president of Olin College, Barabino served as dean of the Grove School of Engineering at the City College of New York and held appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering as well as at the City University of New York School of Medicine. There she established the master’s degree in translational medicine program to address unmet clinical needs through the integration of engineering, medical innovation and entrepreneurship. 

She also held academic and administrative appointments at Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University and Northeastern University. At Georgia Tech, she served as the inaugural vice provost for academic diversity, and at Northeastern, she served as vice provost for undergraduate education. 

She is an internationally recognized thought leader and highly sought-after speaker and consultant on issues of race, ethnicity and gender in science and engineering, with a particular focus on creating cultures and climates that support a sense of belonging. She has led a number of initiatives in these areas, including serving as the founder and executive director of the National Institute for Faculty Equity.

Sandra K. Johnson ’88

Sandra K. Johnson

Sandra K. Johnson is the founder, CEO and chief technology officer of Global Mobile Finance Inc., a fintech startup company based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. She is also the founder and CEO of SKJ Visioneering LLC, a technology consulting company. 

In addition, she is a visiting scholar at North Carolina A&T State University and sits on the board of directors for Regional Management Corp.. She has conducted research in a number of computer-related areas and was part of the design team that developed the prototype for the IBM scalable parallel processor, the base machine for “Deep Blue,” IBM’s famed chess-playing machine.

Johnson was a member of the IBM Academy of Technology, which consists of the top 1% of IBM’s more than 250,000 technical professionals. She has received numerous technical and professional awards and is a master inventor with over 40 patents either issued or pending.

Andy Karsner ’89

Andy Karsner

Alexander “Andy” Karsner served as U.S. assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy from 2006 to 2008.

He managed the Department of Energy’s $1.47 billion applied science, research, development and deployment portfolio, which promotes marketplace integration of renewable and environmentally sound energy technologies. His office also took primary responsibility for education, conservation, regulation and efficient use of our nation’s energy resources, including federal energy management, building codes, appliance standards and the Energy Star program, amongs others. 

Previously, Karsner served as an international infrastructure developer and energy entrepreneur in the private sector on a wide range of technologies including heavy fuel oil, distillates, natural gas, coal, wood waste/biomass, wind energy and distributed generation based upon renewable technologies. He was responsible for managing and financing large-scale power projects in North America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, including unprecedented projects structuring in the Philippines and Pakistan.

Eric Nelson ’83

Eric Nelson

Eric Nelson, a member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of counselor, was appointed as deputy executive secretary and director of the executive office of the executive secretariat in 2015. He led the teams that provide support services to the principal officers of the State Department and their staffs, including information management, travel, human resources, budget and finance, and logistics.

Nelson, who joined the Foreign Service in 1990, also has served as director of the Office of eDiplomacy in the Bureau of Information Resources Management, deputy chief of mission in Costa Rica and consul general in Munich. He has also served in Pakistan, Italy, Mexico, Germany, the Dominican Republic and in Washington, D.C., in the Bureau of Administration. 

Nelson has received numerous awards for effective leadership, including honorable mention for the State Department’s Innovation in the Use of Technology Award as well as Superior Honor Awards and Meritorious Honor Awards. In 2014, he was selected by FedScoop magazine as one of 14 visionary leaders in federal information technology.

Ikhlas Sabouni ’81 ’87

Ikhlas Sabouni

Ikhlas Sabouni is the dean and a distinguished professor of architecture at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). 

At Rice, she won the William Dunlap Darden Award in Architecture for her outstanding doctoral dissertation. At PVAMU, she transformed a small department into a well-recognized autonomous School of Architecture with three undergraduate and two graduate programs. She led the program through four successful reaccreditation visits and chaired several National Architectural Accrediting Board visits. 

She has received several teaching honors, including the Texas Society of Architects’ Edward J. Romieniec FAIA Award, the American Institute of Architects Houston Chapter Educator Award, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Distinguished Professor award, the ACSA Creative Achievement Award; the Prairie View A&M University Distinguished Professor award; the Texas A&M University Systems Regents’ Professor award; and the College of Engineering and Architecture Faculty of the Year award. 

Sabouni served on several national, regional and local boards, including the Texas Architecture Foundation, the American Institute of Architecture Students and the Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society (TSD). She has also served as secretary, ice-chancellor and chancellor of ACSA’s College of Distinguished Professors. Currently, she is serving as president-elect of the National TSD Honor Society.

Meritorious Service Award

Donald Bowers ’91

Donald Bowers

Donald Bowers is vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. In this role, he oversees the Dallas Fed’s Industry Outreach program. He also serves as secretary to the Houston Branch Board of Directors and leads the branch’s community engagement and business continuity functions.

As a native Houstonian, Bowers demonstrates a sincere interest in his community and in education. He currently serves on the boards of the American Leadership Forum, Children at Risk and the Houston Area Urban League, and he is a trustee at Rice.

John R. Eldridge ’75

John R. Eldridge

John R. Eldridge has 40 years of experience in environmental litigation, transactions and regulatory practice, with an emphasis on Superfund, property contamination issues and environmental indemnities. He has argued several Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act appeals before the Fifth Circuit and tried cases in various courts.

Eldridge frequently represents buyers and sellers of contaminated properties and assists clients in assessing and addressing environmental risks associated with various business transactions. Enforcement defense, environmental permitting and risk-based “closure” certifications of contaminated real estate are also significant aspects of his practice. He also advises clients on the property and liability issues associated with oil and gas drilling. 

In recognition of his work promoting French society in the United States and fostering business ties between the two countries, Eldridge has been named to France’s National Order of Merit.

Andrea Galindo

Andrea Galindo

Andrea Galindo is a Wiess College administrator by day and mariachi musician by night. She has been a member of Mariachi Luna Llena since its foundation in 2013, and she won Associate of the Year twice in a row.

Frank Jones ’58 ’61

Frank Jones

Frank Jones’ research specialty is partial differential equations. After starting at Rice in the 1960s, he wrote the textbook for Rice’s MATH221/222 course and taught calculus and a vast array of other courses. He is the Noah Harding Professor of Mathematics.

In 2007, he was named the Texas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The award recognizes professors for their influence on the teaching profession and their outstanding commitment to undergraduate students. Jones was selected from more than 300 top professors in the United States.

Tamara Siler ’87

Tamara Siler

Tamara Siler has played a role in shaping the undergraduate classes of Rice for the past 30 years as a member of the Office of Admission. As a deputy director, Siler serves as a thought leader with a special focus on programming related to the recruitment and support of historically excluded student populations throughout the recruitment and admission process, and she is the liaison to programs such as QuestBridge

Before she completed a three-year term on the National Association for College Admission Counseling Board of Directors, Siler served in the presidential cycle of the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling from 2008-2010. She now serves on the International Baccalaureate College and University Relations Committee and as a board member for Admissions Community Cultivating Equity and Peace Today

In college, Siler was heavily involved in theater on campus, and in 1985 she appeared in “Ain’t Misbehavin’” at Brown College, which was the first all-Black production at Rice. She maintains her involvement in theater, having appeared in over 80 productions in and around Houston, and is a company member of Paul Hope Cabarets at Ovations. She has served on four theatrical boards and is the current treasurer for Thunderclap Productions.

She has been a community associate at Brown College for over 29 years, and has been recognized with the Outstanding Community Associate award a number of years.


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