About the Humanities Research Center
HRC Faculty & Staff
Faculty Advisory Panel
External Advisory Board
The Humanities Research Center fosters scholarly research and intellectual community in the humanities broadly understood, facilitates scholarly work between the School of Humanities and other areas of Rice University, and leads institutional change by partnering with other foundations, centers, research institutions, and universities. The Center strives to bring a dynamic element to research and teaching by developing "intellectual liquidity" within and between Humanities and the sciences, information and communications technologies, and the professions.
Furthermore, the Center serves as the nucleus within the University where the disciplinary changes that will shape its future can be profitably reflected on and anticipated. For a university the size of Rice, these collaborations--both within the university and beyond it--are crucial to stimulating innovation and new research. In short, the Center is an agent of intellectual integration, within and beyond the School of Humanities.
Since its establishment in 1987, the Center has contributed substantially to the growing vitality of the humanities and culturally oriented social sciences at Rice. Center research groups and workshops have fostered the kinds of collegiality among faculty and collaboration across departments and disciplines that are so crucial for innovative work in this field. In addition, the Center's internal fellowship program has granted 58 semester-long fellowships of teaching release to faculty in order to facilitate their research. Further, Center-funded guest lectures, symposia, and conferences bring between 80 and 100 scholars to campus per year, providing the national and international intellectual exchanges that are crucial to excellence in scholarship and teaching.
The Center's main programs include Postdoctoral Fellows supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation; Graduate Seminars sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation; NEH Distinguished Visiting Scholars; Lynette S. Autrey Visiting Professors; Internal Faculty projects, designed to foster current faculty interests. This year, the Center is funding three leaves, eight workshops, and six large-scale conferences, as well as numerous individual speakers and panels organized through the workshops. Through such activities, the Humanities Research Center has become a primary venue for the advancement of scholarship and teaching.
The HRC has completed a faculty exchange agreement with the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, designed to enhance professional developments and to promote international relations. In spring 2006, Elelwani Farisani was in residence at the Center.
2006-2007 External Advisory Board
The HRC External Advisory Board's tasks are twofold: to maximize the cultural impact of the Center's current programs and to help the Center develop a broad vision for its future. It will meet more than twice a year to consider new and vital linkages between the Center and the larger community. The board members' wide and varied range of expertise offers the HRC an invaluable perspective on the larger social and cultural impact of the intellectual infrastructure that the Center sponsors.
John Paul Beltran
B.A. in History from Rice, 1976
John Beltran is the CEO and a majority partner of John Paul Richard, Inc., a sportswear company that he co-founded in 1996. The company produces the label Uniform JPR for department stores and Studio JPR for popular-price chain stores. Mr. Beltran is also active in educational, religious, musical, and theatrical organizations.
B.A. in Economics and Sociology from Rice, 1980
Nancy Carlson earned a J.D. degree from the University of Texas School of Law and practiced law for a number of years. She is a board member of TACA, the Dallas Children's Theater, and Texas Ballet Theater.
Ałex Dell earned an M.S. in orthodontics from Columbia University's School of Dental & Oral Surgery. He ran a private orthodontic practice in Houston until 1998 and is now a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthodontics. He is a board member of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, which funds programs around the world that foster safe environments in which underserved children can achieve their dreams. Dr. Dell is also on the SDOS Advisory Board at Columbia University, the American Jewish Committee Board, and the Aspen Music Festival & School National Board.
Biography will appear soon.
Nancy Mauney Mafrige
Rice Graduate, 1959
Nancy Mauney Mafrige has taught English at the University of Houston and has raised a family. Nancy has served on several Rice boards including: the Alumni Board; the Alumni Institute; and the Women's Athletic Board. She has also been her class chairperson for Alumni Fund Drives.
Emily Bailen McKeage
Emily Bailen McKeage earned her M.A. and PhD. in the Department of Comparative Literature of the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. She currently does freelance editorial work and teaches in the New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Students of the Gallatin School initiate projects that span multiple disciplines and professions.
Jonathan F. McKeage
B.A in English from Rice, 1973
Jonathan ("Jay") F. McKeage earned his M.A. and PhD. in the Department of Comparative Literature of the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and was awarded a certification in business administration from the Wharton School of Business. After 18 years on Wall Street in the areas of investment banking and equity anlaysis, Jay is now President and CEO of InfoTech USA, Inc., an information technology solutions provider to small and medium sized businesses and government agencies. InfoTech USA assists in network design, file server and workstation implementation and maintenance, and project management.
B.A. in Biology from Rice, 1973
Rob Quartel earned his Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University. He is a former Member of the US Federal Maritime Commission and an internationally recognized expert in US national maritime and transportation security policy. He currently serves as Chairman and CEO of FreightDesk Technologies, a leading provider of advanced internet-based supply chain security and transportation management applications for international cargo management to both government and industry. Mr. Quartel has taken an active role in developing a public policy response to the issue of international container security, serving as a technical advisor to both the Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation. He was the first to publicly describe the concept of “pushing the borders out” via a “virtual” electronic data border that would allow government officials to profile cargoes prior to embarkation to the United States by merging commercially available data with intelligence information. The concept has since become one of the key pillars of the President’s Homeland Security Strategy
B.A. in French Studies from Rice, 1959
Sandra Robbins earned her J.D. from the University of West Los Angeles and practiced law for a number of years. In the 1970s Sandra formed the California Women's Savings and Loan Bank, which specialized in loans to single, divorced, and widowed women. Sandra Robbins is now retired, but remains active in commercial real estate development and in collecting art in San Francisco. She also participates in Rice Alumni events.
B.A. and B.S. from Rice, 1970 & 1971
Charles Szalkowski is a venture capital and private equity transactions lawyer at Baker Botts L.L.P., where he also leads that law firm's long, historic representation of Rice University, and is the law firm's General Counsel. He holds two degrees from Rice (B.A. '70 and B.S. '71) and two degrees from Harvard (M.B.A. '73 and J.D. '75). He has long been active at Rice in various volunteer capacities, including having formerly chaired the Rice Fund Council, and is currently the President-Elect of the Association of Rice Alumni and a member of one of the committees of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Szalkowski was the recipient of the 2006 Jaworski Award given by the Houston Bar Association Auxiliary in recognition of a long record of outstanding community service. He is a former chairman of the board of the DePelchin Children's Center, a former chairman of the board of St. Luke's United Methodist Church, a former chairman of the Texas Business Law Foundation, and a graduate of Leadership Houston. He has been an active volunteer leader for many other nonprofits involved in religious, charitable, educational, economic development and professional activities. He has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute and the Houston Philosophical Society, and was named by Texas Monthly magazine as one of the "Top 100 Superlawyers" in Texas for several years in a row. He and his wife, Jane, who heads the IT department of their large church, have two children, Jennifer (Rice '00 and Harvard Law '04) and Stephen (Williams College '04 and University of Texas Law School '07).
Troy L. Williams
B.A. in History from Rice, 1995
Troy Williams earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Questia and a member of the company's Board of Directors. Troy founded Questia, which is the largest library of copyright-cleared books online together with a set of sophisticated tools such as automatic footnotes and bibliographies. Between 1998 and 2001, Troy oversaw the development of the Questia offering, built a management team with a depth of experience in the technology, internet, library and publishing industries, and secured more than $150 million in financing to make Questia one of Houston's leading dotcoms. Today, Questia has over 70,000 titles licensed from over 250 publishers, 70 employees and subscribers in over 200 countries. A strong supporter of education, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, the Education Foundation of Harris County, and the Friends of Fondren Library.