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The Rice Thresher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Type Weekly Newspaper
Format 11x17 tabloid
First Published 1916
Headquarters Rice University, Houston, Texas
Editor in Chief Christina Tan

The Rice Thresher is the weekly student newspaper of Rice University in Houston, Texas. It was first published in 1916.[1] It has an estimated circulation of 3,000 and is distributed throughout the university and its surrounding areas.[2]

The Thresher has won numerous awards from journalism organizations like the Society of Professional Journalists,[3] Texas Intercollegiate Press Association, the College Media Association (CMA), and the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP), including Best Newspaper for a 4-year University under 5,000 from CMA (2016, 2018, 2019),[4] two All-American ratings from ACP (2009–2010, 1995–1996), and four Newspaper Pacemaker Finalist Awards (2018, 2017, 2003, 2000).[5] In 2018, the Thresher was named the 3rd best college newspaper in the United States by the Princeton Review, up from 12th best in 2017.[6]

The Thresher runs on a six-figure annual budget, employs over 100 staffers, and is distributed each Wednesday of the school year with the exception of examinations periods and holidays. The paper is separated into six sections: News, Opinion, Features, Arts and Entertainment, Sports, and the satirical Backpage.


In the beginning ... literary societies unite (1915–918)

The Rice Thresher was the first student publication to be formed at the Rice Institute despite it appearing in the fourth academic year (1915–1916). In the fall of 1915, three literary societies - the Elizabeth Baldwin (female), the Owl (male), and the Riceonian (male) - elected three members each to serve on a committee to organize the paper. The committee then selected the founding editorial board, composed entirely of committee members plus two additional students. On Saturday, January 15, 1916, the first issue of the then-bi-weekly Thresher was published under the guidance of editor-in-chief William M. Standish.[7]

New era ... democracy ushers in weekly publication (1918–)

In 1918, two seminal events occurred to transform the Thresher into its modern iteration. First, a voluntary blanket tax was established for publications and sports events. The voluntary tax provided the Thresher $1.50 from each student who paid, and the now mandatory blanket tax remains the backbone of Thresher finances to this day. Second, in May 1918, the Thresher and all other student organizations were transferred under the purview of the newly-formed Student Association, inaugurating a system whereby the leadership of the paper would be elected by the student body along with the Campanile leadership and other student officers. During a divisive May 1918 election, students who had paid their blanket tax elected John T. Rather editor in chief and T. J. Burnett managing editor.[8][9] However, no issues were published during Rather's stewardship, owing to a suspension of student activities until the end of World War I. Post-war, a second Student Association election was held in January 1919 and installed Joe R. Shannon as editor in chief, Paul Frederick Bobb as managing editor, and Graham Peck as business manager, resulting in the first issue of the new era on February 6, 1919. From this issue forward, the Thresher has published weekly with a few deviations.[10] Over the years, the sections, masthead, offices elected, page dimensions, and number of pages have fluctuated, but the modern Thresher was born in 1918.

Alternative, affiliated, and rumored Thresher publications; special editions

  • Caustic Tape / The Tape (1918) - rumored to be affiliated; published as a student protest to prior review/censorship threats from the administration after the Thresher initially gave glowing praise to the military life at Rice and Rice traditions but subsequently printed student opinions that were overwhelmingly contrary.
  • The Critic (1919) - rumored to be affiliated; published while student activities, including the Thresher, were suspended until the end of World War I, demanding reform in the editorial selection process and the Thresher in general.
  • The Flusher (1920) - sequel to Caustic Tape; confirmed as a Thresher publication.
  • Co-ed Thresher (1924–1926) - confirmed as a Thresher publication.
  • Thresher Review / Thresher Literary Review (1960s-1970s) - confirmed as a Thresher publication.
  • The Rice Sentinel (1990–1993) - rival publication; magazine format with a conservative viewpoint.
  • Rice News (1993) - rumored to be affiliated; NOT affiliated with the official Rice publication of the same name; the fake issue proclaimed Rice had named its sixth president. Even local press took the bait.
  • Regular Special Issues
    • April Fools' Issue - numerous regular issues have appeared on April 1 but some have had acknowledgements of the day, had satirical sections, or have been published as all-in, satirical April Fools' Issues. Issues with satirical content are detailed below.:
      • The Thresher (1927) - formatting trick with mast in the middle, upside down articles on top half, regularly-oriented articles on bottom half.
      • The Thresher (1937) - full satirical issue.
      • The Thresher (1938) - last two pages of the regular issue.
      • The Thresher (1944) - full satirical issue.
      • The Lamar Lancer (1960) - first page of the regular issue.
      • The Rice Paddy (1964) - last two pages of the regular issue.
      • Ye Rott Phloutor (1965) - last two pages of the regular issue.
      • The Rice Thresher with mast mirror-imaged (1966) - full satirical issue.
      • ПРдВДд (1967) - full satirical issue.
      • The Trash (1968) - full satirical issue.
      • The Trasher (1969-) - full satirical issue.
        • The Reice Trasher (1971)
        • The Rice Thresher with mast mirror-imaged (1975)
        • The Nice Thresher (1976)
        • The New York Tomes (1980)
        • The Rice Thresher (1981–1983)
    • Class Issues
      • Freshman Thresher [also known as Slime Thresher, The Friday Fish] (1920s-1930s)
      • Sophomore Thresher (1920s-1930s)
      • Junior Thresher (1920s-1930s)
      • Senior Thresher (1920s-1930s)
    • Graduation Issue
    • O-Week Issue
  • Special Editions/Issues/Inserts
    • Christmas Edition (12/15/1916)
    • The Daily Thresher (1968) - editor in chief Dennis Bahler takes the Thresher daily to cover protests over the appointment of William Masterson as president of Rice University. The Board of Governors made the appointment without any consultation with the students or faculty. A statement opposing the appointment was signed by 61 faculty members, and students approved the statement in a 951-7 vote.
    • Economic Summit Issues (1990)
    • Rupp Resigns Insert [Volume 80, Number 9 1/2] (10/23/1992) - inserted inside the regular edition, providing breaking news coverage of Rice President Rupp's resignation over a rumored dispute.
    • Centennial Issue (10/12/2012) - magazine format commemorating the Rice University Centennial and looking at the first 100 years and into the future.
    • "Thresher turns 100" Issue (Spring 2016) - magazine format commemorating the Rice Thresher's Centennial and looking at the first 100 years.

Recognition from beyond the hedges

  • In 1948, editor in chief Brady Tyson waged an editorial campaign to convince Rice to admit Black students, drawing national media coverage and an exchange of letters with J. Strom Thurmond, then-Governor of South Carolina.[11]
  • In 1990, Rice hosted the annual summit of leaders of the seven largest industrial democracies. The Thresher published special issues during the summit with the help of 16 student journalists from around the country who were invited by the staff.
  • In 1992, Thresher staff served as correspondents for news organizations who wanted coverage of the Republican National Convention being hosted in Houston.
  • In 1992, the Thresher broke a cheating scandal, revealing athlete corruption while the university refused to confirm or deny the events. The Thresher's coverage garnered national recognition.[12]
  • In 1996 and 1997, the German government hosted student journalists, including members of the Rice Thresher staff, for a two-week journalism program in Germany. The students researched, wrote, edited, and published a stand-alone newspaper covering popular issues in German life at the time, including reunification, health insurance, environmental clean-up, and city planning. The 1996 issue was named American Sector.
  • In 2010, the Thresher received commendations for its coverage of the proposed Rice-Baylor College of Medicine merger.



Thresher News focuses almost entirely on campus events.


Thresher Opinions typically prints the staff editorial, submitted letters, columns, and a cartoon. The section has been home to several awards won by the Thresher.[3]


The Features section (added as Spotlight in 2017) focuses on features and profiles relevant to Rice. It serves to cover the unique Rice student experience and feature events, organizations, and people in the community.

Arts and Entertainment

Thresher A&E reviews campus plays, new movies, music and often contains a column by the editor or other writers.


With Rice's Division I-A status, Thresher Sports is unusually large for a weekly paper of a small school. In addition to Rice's official sport teams, it focuses on intramural and residential college sports.

The Backpage

There is a section called "the Backpage" that included a regular feature "Misclassifieds" (Misclass), in which students would write embarrassing stories about their friends or funny and embarrassing quotes heard around campus. In recent years, the Backpage has taken on more of a humor or satire theme, addressing issues on campus.

The Backpage has resulted in many controversies over the years, including at November 1996 Backpage titled "Rice Women Are Like...,"[13][14] a Misclass concerning former Rice president Malcolm Gillis' wife, and a September 2006 Backpage that received attention from online blogs all of which resulted in apologies or firings.[15]

Section graveyard

Over the years, Thresher staffs have reorganized, consolidated, and separated sections into new iterations and created special sections to reflect student life at the time. Some of these sections that are not currently in the paper are listed below (details to be added at a later date):

  • Arts
  • Calendar
  • Colleges
  • Dramatics
  • Engineering
  • Exchange
  • Fanfare
  • Features
  • Fine Arts
  • Hoots
  • Local
  • Lifestyles
  • Literary
  • Men in Service
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Op-ed
  • Religion
  • Society
  • Student Life
  • Women's Activities

Other departments / positions (historically)

While the official sections of the Thresher define it, several other departments have come and gone over the years as the publication's lifeblood and support system. Some of these departments are listed below (details to be added at a later date):

  • Advertising
  • Beats
  • Business
  • Cartoonists
  • Circulation
  • Copy
  • Graphic Arts / Graphics
  • Media
  • Online
  • Photography
  • Production
  • Reporters (inc. Staff Reporters)
  • Subscription
  • Typesetter
  • Typists
  • Video
  • Web

Editors in chief (historically)


  • Christina Tan (2019–2020)
  • Andrew Grottkau (2018–2019)
  • Emily Abdow (2018–2019)
  • Juan Saldaña (2017–2018)
  • Drew Keller (2017–2018)
  • Yasna Haghdoost (2016–2017)
  • Andrew Ta (2015–2016)
  • Miles Kruppa (2014–2015)
  • Rachel Marcus (2013–2014)
  • Ryan Gupta (2012–2013)
  • Seth Brown (2012–2013)
  • Josh Rutenberg (2011–2012)
  • Anna Wilde (2010–2011)


  • Casey Michel (2009–2010)
  • Dylan Farmer (2008–2009)
  • Lily Chun (2008–2009)
  • Stephen Whitfield (2007–2008)
  • Julia Bursten (2007)
  • David Brown (2006–2007)
  • Amber Obermeyer (2005–2006)
  • Jonathan Yardley (2004–2005)
  • Lindsey Gilbert (2004–2005)
  • Mark Berenson (2003–2004)
  • Rachel Rustin (2002–2003)
  • Robert Reichle (2001–2002)
  • Leslie Liu (2001–2002)
  • Brian Stoler (2000–2001): sixth editor to serve two terms; first to serve them non-consecutively.


  • Muriel Tam (1999–2000)
  • Jett McAlister (1999–2000)
  • Brian Stoler (1998–1999): sixth editor to serve two terms; first to serve them non-consecutively.
  • Angelique (Siy) Geehan (1997–1998)
  • Joel Hardi (1997–1998)
  • Marty Beard (1996–1997)
  • Vivek Rao (1995–1997): fifth editor to serve two terms; first to serve with two different co-editors.
  • Charles Klein (1995–1996)
  • David Hale (1994–1995)
  • Peter Howley (1993–1994): believed to be only editors to run against each other initially and then decide to join campaigns.
  • Kraettli Epperson (1993–1994): believed to be only editors to run against each other initially and then decide to join campaigns.
  • Leezie Kim (1992–1993)
  • Chad Carson (1992–1993)
  • Ann Zitterkopf (1991–1992)
  • Harlan Howe (1991–1992)
  • Kurt Moeller (1990–1991)
  • Jay Yates (1990–1991)


  • Sarah Leedy (1989–1990)
  • Greg Kahn (1989–1990): second Rice journalism award later named in Greg Kahn's memory in 2013 (first awarded in 2014).
  • Joel Sendek (1988–1989)
  • Michelle Wucker (Spring 1988)
  • Mike Raphael (Fall 1987)
  • Spencer Greene (Spring 1987)
  • Lisa Gray (Fall 1986)
  • Scott Snyder (1985–1986)
  • Paul Havlak (1984–1985)
  • Mark Mitchell (Spring 1984)
  • Chris Ekren (Fall 1983)
  • Jeanne Cooper (Spring 1983)
  • Tom Morgan (Fall 1982)
  • Jay Grob (Spring 1982)
  • Bruce Davies (Fall 1981)
  • Richard Dees (1980–1981)


  • Matt Muller (1979–1980)
  • Michelle Heard (1978–1979)
  • Phil Parker (1977–1978)
  • Carla (Setser) McFarland (1976–1977)
  • Gary Brewton (1974–1976): fourth editor to serve two terms.
  • Steve Jackson (1972–1974): third editor to serve two terms.
  • DeBow Freed (1971–1972)
  • John Mauldin (1970–1971)


  • John "Jack" D. Murray (1969–1970)
  • Dr. Dennis Bahler (1968–1969)
  • Phil Garon (Spring 1968)
  • Darrell Hancock (Fall 1967)
  • Sandy Coyner (1966–1967)
  • John Durham (1965–1966)
  • Hugh Rice Kelly (1964–1965)
  • Eugene Keilin (1963–1964)
  • Griffin Smith (1962–1963)
  • Marjorie (Trulan) Clark (1961–1962)
  • Bill Delaney (1960–1961)


  • Buddy Herz (1959–1960)
  • Virginia "Ginger" Purlington Bernhard (1958–1959): only known editors to marry another editor after being editors. (see previous name).
  • Jim Bernhard (1957–1958): only known editors to marry another editor after being editors (see next name).
  • Donna (Paul) Martin (1956–1957)
  • Al Beerman (1955–1956)
  • Dr. William "Bill" H. Gordon, Jr. (1954–1955)
  • Richard "Dick" Karig (1953–1954)
  • Allyce (Tinsley) Cole (1952–1953)
  • William "Bill" P. Hobby, Jr. (1951–1952)
  • Ruey Boone-Carville (1950–1951)


  • Emmett McGeever (1949–1950)
  • Rev. Brady Tyson (1948–1949)
  • Robert "Bob" Flagg (1947–1948)
  • Donald "D.L." Anderson (1946–1947)
  • Mildred (McCall) Fike (1945–1946): first female editor to serve a full-year term.
  • Muriel Elizabeth (Wick) Escobar (Spring 1945)
  • Charlie Meyers (Fall 1944)
  • Roberta "Bobbye" (Sahol) Cummings (Spring 1944)
  • Betty Lou (Johnson) Strobell (Fall 1943): first elected female editor.
  • Marion Hargrove (1943): first female editor; appointed due to active duty call-up of the current editor (her husband) and other Rice men to World War II; only known editors to have been married while being editors (see previous name).
  • Jim Hargrove (1942–1943): only known editors to have been married while being editors (see next name).
  • Dr. Patrick "Pat" Nicholson (1940–1942): second editor to serve two terms.


  • William "Bill" V. Ballew Jr. (1939–1940)
  • Francis Collins (1938–1939)
  • Col. Gene Sisk (1937–1938)
  • Bob Illes (1936–1937)
  • John Costley (1935–1936)
  • James H. Scott (1934–1935)
  • Peter Maniscalco (1933–1934)
  • Thomas Gready (1932–1933)
  • Gardner Soule (1931–1932)
  • Elbert Turner (1930–1931)


  • Ted Strong (1929–1930)
  • Thomas "T.O." Wood (1928–1929)
  • J.C. McNeill (1927–1928)
  • Gordon Turrentine (1926–1927)
  • T.B. Stubbs (1925–1926)
  • Jack Glenn (1923–1925): first editor to serve two terms, but only for a year and a half.
  • E. Oren Arnold (Fall 1923): editor for a semester/term of issues before being removed for letting his academics slip by committing too much to the paper..
  • Buford Goodwin (Spring 1923): first editors to split duties by semester.
  • W.M. Darling (Fall 1922): first editors to split duties by semester.
  • Arch D. Batjer (1921–1922)
  • Hill C. Gresham (1920–1921)


  • Lucius Lamar (1919–1920): first editors to serve as co-editors.
  • Paul Bobb (1919–1920): first editors to serve as co-editors, first Rice journalism award later named in Paul Frederick Bobb's honor in 1983.
  • Joe R. Shannon (Spring 1919)
  • John T. Rather (Fall 1918): elected but no issues published due to cessation of student activities until end of World War I.
  • Roy W. Lillard (1917–1918)
  • Eugene Milis (1916–1917)
  • William M. Standish (1915–1916): first issue was published January 15, 1916.

Awards (external)

Associated Collegiate Press

  • Newspaper Pacemaker Finalist (2016–2017) - "In recognition of general excellence and outstanding achievement by a college newspaper in a national competition. Given by the Associated Collegiate Press at the National College Media Convention in Dallas, Texas on October 28, 2017. - Laura Widmer, ACP Executive Director"
  • Best of Show Award for a Four-year Weekly Tabloid, Fourth Place (2017)[16]
  • Best of Show Award for a Four-year Weekly Tabloid, Fourth Place (2012) - "Presented for general excellence at the National College Journalism Convention in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2012. - Logan H. Aimone, ACP Executive Director"
  • Best of Show Award for a Four-year Weekly Tabloid, Sixth Place (2011) - "Presented for general excellence at the National College Journalism Convention in Orlando, Fla. on Oct. 30, 2011. - Logan H. Aimone, ACP Executive Director"
  • All-American with Four Marks of Distinction (2009–2010)
  • Best of Show Award for a Four-year Weekly Newspaper, Sixth Place (2010) - "Presented for general excellence at the ACP National College Journalism Convention in Phoenix on February 28, 2010. - Logan H. Aimone, ACP Executive Director"
  • Best of Show Award for a Small School Web Site, Eighth Place (2010) - "Presented for general excellence at the ACP National College Journalism Convention in Phoenix on February 28, 2010. - Logan H. Aimone, ACP Executive Director"
  • Best of Show Award for a Four-year Weekly Tabloid, Third Place (2009) - "Presented for general excellence at the ACP National College Journalism Convention in San Diego on March 1, 2009. - Logan H. Aimone, ACP Executive Director"
  • Best of Show Award for a Four-year Weekly Tabloid, Sixth Place (2008) - "Presented for general excellence at the ACP National College Journalism Convention in San Francisco on March 2, 2008. - Logan H. Aimone, ACP Executive Director"
  • Best of Show Award for a Four-year Weekly Tabloid, First Place (2007) - "Presented for general excellence at the ACP National College Journalism Convention in Portland on March 11, 2007. - Logan H. Aimone, ACP Executive Director"[17]
  • Best of Show Award for a Newspaper, Third Place (2006) - "Presented for general excellence at the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention in St. Louis on Oct. 29, 2006. - Sarah Rice, ACP Official"
  • Best of Show Newspaper, Second Place, General Excellence (2006) - "Presented by Associated Collegiate Press. August 6, 2006. 2006 National College Publications Workshops Washington, D.C."
  • Best of Show Newspaper, First Place, General Excellence (2005) - "Presented by Associated Collegiate Press. August 7, 2005. 2005 National College Publications Workshops Washington, D.C."
  • Newspaper Pacemaker Finalist (2002–2003) - "In recognition of general excellence and outstanding achievement by a college newspaper in a national competition. Given by the Associated Collegiate Press and the Newspaper Association of America Foundation at the National College Media Convention in Dallas, Texas on November 8, 2003. - Tom E. Rolnicki, ACP Executive Director"
  • Best of Show Newspaper, First Place, General Excellence (2001) - "Presented by Associated Collegiate Press. August 5, 2001. 2001 National College Publications Workshops Washington, D.C."
  • Newspaper of the Year, Third Place (2001) - "Presented by Associated Collegiate Press. February 25, 2001. 2001 National College Newspaper Convention San Francisco."
  • Newspaper Pacemaker Finalist Award (2000) - "In recognition of general excellence and outstanding achievement in a national competition. Given by the Associated Collegiate Press and the Newspaper Association of America Foundation at the National College Media Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 27, 2001. - Tom E. Rolnicki, ACP Executive Director"
  • Best of Show Four-Year College Newspaper, Third Place (1999) - "Presented by Associated Collegiate Press. August 8, 1999. 1999 National College Publications Workshops Washington, D.C."
  • All-American with Four Marks of Distinction (1995–1996) - "Rao said that while the Thresher highly values being student run, one of the disadvantages of not having an adviser is that its editors must rely on skills learned in high school. However, both Klein and Rao feel that the staff has been able to overcome these difficulties to produce a newspaper that is highly competitive with other college newspapers." 3,650 out of 4,150 points, 3,000 needed for All-American.[18]
  • First Class Rating (Spring 1962) - "Special credit was given to news coverage (including headlines and leads), editorials, and editorial page features such as "Faculty Sound-Off." Frank Wright, judge, described the issues as "an exceptional job of coverage and writing." Lowest scores were given for photography and sports. Of the sports page, Wright commented, "this section is not up to the standards of the rest of the paper. Given Rice's athletic emphasis and national reputation, this section should be a strong one.""[19]
  • First Class Rating (Fall 1961) - "High scores were gained in the Editorial, News Coverage, and Front Page Make-up categories. Low scores were given for Features and Proofreading."[20]
  • First Class Rating (Spring 1961) - "William E. Delaney, Jr., now of the Columbia School of Journalism, edited last year's Thresher." ... "A First Class rating is rather high for Rice when one considers that the paper is competing with those of other schools which have journalism schools or departments. Rice has neither. Points are awarded on the basis of coverage, content, and physical properties. The Thresher ranked particularly high with respect to its editorials, headlines, and printing." 3,200 points, 200 shy of All-American.[21]
  • First Class Rating (Fall 1960) - "Rice's newspaper was among 350 college newspapers participating in the semi-annual criticism directed by the University of Minnesota's Department of Journalism. With special commendation in such areas as editorials, lay-out, and balanced news coverage..." 3,220 points; 3,000 needed for First Class.[22]
  • Second Class Rating (1959–1960) - 2,980 points, 20 shy of First Class.
    • Superior for editorials, sports writing, editorial page, and makeup.
    • Excellent newswriting and coverage.[23]
  • First Class Rating (Fall 1957) - "This is the second time since 1941 The Thresher has achieved this award. Last year's Thresher was also in this category." ... "The judge's summary of The Thresher was: "A very extensive job of covering the news and imagination with makeup."" 3,300 points, 200 shy of All-American.
    • Superior Excellence for editorials (210 out of 200 points), balance, treatment of copy, and creativeness.
    • Excellent for sports writing and copyreading.
    • Very good on news story content, leads, features, sports coverage, makeup and display, and headlines.[24]
  • First Class Rating (1956–1957) - "News stories were given 100 points out of a possible 100 points." 1,605 out of 1,700 points.
    • Superior for editorials.
    • Excellent for style, leads, features, interview stories, and editorial page features.
    • Very good on categories covering the rest of the paper.
    • Good for sports coverage and photography.[25]
  • First Class Rating (1941)[25]

College Media Association

  • Apple Award: Best Newspaper for a 4-year University under 5,000 (2012, 2016, 2018, 2019)[4]

National Scholastic Newspaper Association

  • A Rating (1959–1960) - "The Rice Thresher, vintage 1959–1960, has won an "A" rating from the National Scholastic Newspaper Association for the first time in The Thresher's history, according to Buddy Herz, last year's Thresher editor. The ratings, put out by the University of Missouri's School of journalism, one of the top schools of journalism in the country, are based on conditions of publication, such as money, facilities, personnel, etc., as well as general appearance. With regard to the Thresher, Rice University is the only school in the SWC without a journalism department, and thus hasn't the opportunities for volume or coverage as would some other schools."[23]

Society of Professional Journalists

  • Region 8 Mark of Excellence Award, Third Place (2007) - "In recognition of outstanding accomplishments in collegiate journalism in the category of Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper (Published less than 4 times per week). March 29, 2008."

Texas Intercollegiate Press Association

Awards (internal)

Paul Frederick Bobb Award

The Paul Frederick Bobb Award is the only undergraduate award given at Rice for excellence in journalistic writing and reporting. Over the years, the then-current editors in chief have expanded and contracted the award to include news reporting, news features reporting, features reporting, and outstanding senior/body of work categories. The award was established in 1983 in honor of Paul Frederick Bobb (editor in chief 1919–1920) who passed away that year. The winners in each category are traditionally given $100.[26] The editors in chief select a shortlist of nominated articles from the previous year, and then the editorial board votes on the winner based on a review of the nominated articles (with bylines redacted) or via write-in votes for articles not nominated. Historical winners include:

  • Anna Ta & Elizabeth Rasich (2019)
  • Emily Abdow (2018)
  • Anna Ta (2018)
  • Pak Wei Tong (2017)
  • Yasna Haghdoost (2016)
  • Yasna Haghdoost & Drew Keller (2016)
  • Christen Sparago (2015)
  • Kaylen Strench (2015)
  • Christen Sparago (2014)
  • Rachel Marcus & Molly Chiu (2014)
  • Joey Capparella (2013)
  • Joey Capparella & Molly Chiu (2013)
  • Farrah Madanay (2012)
  • Nicole Zhao (2012)
  • Seth Brown (2011)
  • Conner Hayes (2011)
  • Catherine Bratic (2010)
  • Cindy Dinh (2010)
  • Josh Rutenberg (2010)
  • Catherine Bratic (2009)
  • Jocelyn Wright (2009)
  • Lily Chun (2008)
  • Evan Mintz (2008)
  • Beko Binder (2007)
  • Matt McKee (2007)
  • David Brown (2006)
  • Sarah Baker (2006)
  • Risa Gordon (2005)
  • Jenny Rees (2004)
  • Olivia Allison (2003)
  • Chris Larson (2002)
  • Mark Berenson (2002)
  • Elizabeth Jardina (2001)
  • Elizabeth Jardina (2000)
  • Leslie Liu (2000)
  • Emily Meyer (2000)
  • Brian Stoler (2000)
  • Jose Luis Cubria (1999)
  • Greg Norman (1998)
  • George Hatoun & Vivek Rao (1997) - news category - Unfinished business: Troubles in the Jones School (9/13/96)
  • David Gordon & Paul O'Brien (1997) - news features category - A guide to local coffee houses (9/27/96)
  • Charles Klein (1997) - outstanding senior/body of work category
  • Sei Chong (1996)[27]
  • Tony Tran (1996)[27]
  • Kraettli Epperson (1995) - news/news features categories - ESL student dies after shot to head (9/23/94); Censoring the Internet (3/24/95)[28]
  • David Hale (1995)[28]
  • Peter Howley (1995)[29]
  • David Hale (1994) - news features category - Rice from a Wheelchair (9/3/93)[28]
  • Peter Howley (1994)[29]
  • Patricia Lin (1994)
  • Leezie Kim with Kraettli Epperson, Eric Carmichael, Chad Carson, Melissa Williams, and Paul Jordan contributing (1993) - Rupp resigns amidst rumored dispute (10/23/92)[30] [Kraettli Epperson first to win two Bobb Awards.]
  • Kraettli Epperson (1992) - body of work[31]
  • John McCoy (1992) - body of work[31]
  • Shaila Dewan (1991) - body of work[32]
  • Kurt Moeller (1990)[33]
  • Sarah J. Leedy (1990)[33]
  • Steven Lait (1990) - outstanding service category (presented outside the Paul Frederick Bobb Award framework)[33]
  • Michele Wucker (1989)[34]
  • David Schnur (1988)
  • Scott Snyder (1987) - body of work - SnydeRemarks (column) and contributions over several years[35]
  • David Friesenhahn (1986) - body of work
  • David Potash (1985) - features category - Sexual orientation: out of the closet and before the voters (11/16/1984)[36]
  • Deborah L. Knaff (1984) - features category - Remember the environment? Eight profs do (2/24/84)[37]
  • Dave Collins (1983) - features category - On drugs at Rice (series)[38]

Greg Kahn Award

The Greg Kahn Award is the only undergraduate award given at Rice for journalistic staff excellence. The award is named in honor of Greg Kahn (editor in chief 1989–1990). It was established after Kahn's untimely death in 2013, and it was first awarded in 2014. Historical winners include:

  • Christina Tan (2019)
  • Andrew Grottkau (2018)
  • Yasna Haghdoost (2017)
  • Miles Kruppa (2016)
  • Miles Kruppa (2015)
  • Rachel Marcus (2014)

Thresher Poetry Prize

The Thresher Poetry Prize was announced in the March 23, 1918, staff editorial. The Prize was open to all students, encouraged the writing and submission of poetry, and carried a $10 cash award for the best poem as adjudged by three members of the Rice English Department.[39]

  • Roy E. Lillard (1918) - To---; "When the dawn creeps out of its opaque bed / And the dark sky turns blue / When the light of day with its rim of red / Throws a rainbow in the dew-- / Then it's time to wake and of joy partake / --For it's time to think of you. // When the sun has sped thru his path of might / And I've thought the whole day thru / When the shadows tell of approaching night / And the crickets chirp anew-- / Then it's time to rise and to bright eyes, / --For it's time to be with you. // When the half-moon's down 'neath a Western hill, / And I've told my meaning true, / When the stars look down with a winking still / Just to show they'd say it, to-- / Then it's time to sleep, to my bed I creep, / --For it's time to dream of you."
    • Frances P. Fineman (Honorable Mention)
    • Ellamarye Failor (Honorable Mention)[40]

Thresher Review / Thresher Literary Review Prize

The Thresher Review or Thresher Literary Review was both a yearly spin-off publication of the Thresher in the 1960s-1970s and a contest with a $15 prize. Students were encouraged to submit "short-short stories; poetry reviews; criticism; photography; and essays of 'social import' on topics relevant to today's social problems." The editors would then choose a winner in the essays category to receive the $15 prize.[41]


Despite not having a journalism department ever nor an adviser until the fall of 1997, the Rice Thresher has produced more than its fair share of luminaries in the fields of journalism, writing, computer gaming, medicine, the military, law and politics. Below is an incomplete list of those accomplished alumni who, amongst many other accomplishments, include the founders of the award-winning magazine Texas Monthly, a publisher of a large daily newspaper, an editor in chief of a major national newsmagazine, a president of a major news network, a White House Press Secretary, an award-winning screenwriter, a decorated war veteran, a managing partner of one of the nation's largest law firms, and the longest-tenured Lieutenant Governor in Texas history.

The Rice Thresher proudly honors and celebrates these alums below with their highest position held at the Thresher and years of said position held in parenthesis:

  • E. Oren Arnold (editor in chief fall 1923): freelance journalist with articles appearing in numerous publications like the Saturday Evening Post and Colliers; Sunday editor of the Arizona Republican; editor of multiple local newspapers in Texas and Arizona, Rice correspondent for the Houston Chronicle; author of numerous books including Wonders of the West, Cattle Brands, The Golden Strand, and Native Son; winner of the Southwest Literary Award for The Golden Chair (1954).[42][43][44][45]
  • William Broyles, Jr. (contributing editor 1964–1965): founding editor of Texas Monthly (1972–1980); editor in chief of California (1980–1982); editor in chief of Newsweek (1982–1984); contributing writer for the Houston Post and The Economist; screenwriter of China Beach, Apollo 13, Cast Away and flags of our fathers; rice commencement speaker (1983).
  • paul burka (Sports Editor 1962–1963): senior executive editor, political columnist, and blogger for Texas Monthly (1973–2015); National Magazine Award for reporting excellence (1985).[46]
  • Sei Chong (news editor 1994–1995): acting editor of India Ink at the New York Times (2013–2014); copy editor of India Ink at the New York Times (2012–2013); online business editor, Asia, for the International Herald Tribune (2008–2012); editor of Seoul Bureau for Thomson Reuters (2006–2008); deputy editor for the JoongAng Daily (2003–2005); copy editor for the San Jose Mercury News (2002–2003); copy editor for the San Francisco Chronicle (1995–2002).[47]
  • Molly Chiu (managing editor 2013–2014): producer for KHOU-TV (2016-); writer and production assistant for KHOU-TV (2014–2016); news intern for KHOU-TV (2013); production intern for Houston PBS (2012); intern reporter for The Tribune (2011).[48]
  • Joey Capparella (news editor 2013): associate online editor for Car and Driver magazine (2016-); daily news editor for Automobile Magazine (2013-2016); intern reporter for the Houston Press (2013).[49]
  • Jeanne Cooper (editor in chief spring 1983): freelance travel writer, guidebook author, and editor appearing in the "San Francisco Chronicle, Sunset magazine, and Flight Centre (Sydney, Australia), The Observer (London), My Table (Houston), Jungle Media and American Way (American Airlines), among others. Guidebook contributions include Frommer's Hawaii (2015–2017 editions), Pauline Frommer's Cancun and the Yucatan, the Ultimate Food Lover's Guide to Houston, San Francisco TimeOut, Fodor's Gold Guides (Washington, D.C., and Boston), Travel & Leisure Boston and the Irreverent Guide to Boston." (1990-); get lost blogger at (2014-); California and central coasting columnist at (2011-); Hawaii insider blogger at (2008-); aloha Friday columnist at (2007-); freelance globetrotter columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle (2011–2015); travel editor at the San Francisco Chronicle (2004–2008); news and features editor at the San Francisco Chronicle (1997–2004); theater and music critic at the Boston Globe (1994–1997).[50]
  • Gregory Curtis (contributing writer 1965; editor in chief of spin-off Thresher Review): founding staff writer of Texas Monthly; editor in chief of Texas Monthly (1981–2000); contributing writer for the New York Times, the New York Times magazine, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and Time; author of The Cave Painters and Disarmed: The Story of Venus DeMilo.[51]
  • Peter Debruge (arts & entertainment editor 1996): chief international film critic for Variety (2013-); adjunct professor at Chapman University (2012–2013); senior film critic/features editor for Variety (2005–2013); programming manager for AOL Moviefone (2001–2005); editorial intern at Entertainment Weekly (2001).[52][53]
  • Shaila Dewan (features editor 1991–1992): national correspondent for criminal justice issues for the New York Times;[54] national economy reporter for the New York Times (2011-); staff writer for the Houston Press (1996–1999).[55]
  • Rachel Dornhelm (features editor 1994–1995): self-employed radio producer/editor (2001-); contributing freelance journalist and blogger for NPR, including Marketplace, Bay Area local affiliates, and Newsday; 2009 L.A. Press Club National Entertainment Journalism Award.[56][57][58]
  • Josh Earnest (staff writer 1996): White House Press Secretary for President Barack Obama (2014–2017); White House Deputy Press Secretary for President Barack Obama (2011–2014).
  • Jack Glenn (editor in chief 1923–1925): founder, producer, and editor of "The March of Time" newsreel segments that appeared in theaters for decades; while a journalist in Paris, Glenn was the person who reportedly "pulled Charles A. Lingbergh off of a plane in Paris in May, 1927" after Linbergh completed his historic trans-Atlantic crossing; taught movie producing and directing at the City College of New York; president of the Screen Directors Guild of New York (predecessor to the Screen Directors International Guild) in the late '40s.[42]
  • Lisa Gray (editor in chief fall 1986): features enterprise editor, education reporter, editorial board member, columnist, arts editor of the Houston Chronicle (2005-); founder and lead columnist for the Houston Chronicle''s Gray Matters series (2014-); managing editor and columnist of the Houston Press (1998–2001); editor of Cite Magazine (2001–2003); managing editor of the Washington City Paper (1994–1995).[59]
  • Amy (Jeter) Hansen (arts & entertainment editor 1994–1995): digital content editor/communications officer at Kaiser Family Foundation (2014-); health care reporter at The Virginian-Pilot (2010–2014); education reporter at The Virginian-Pilot (2005–2010); crime reporter at The Virginian-Pilot (2002–2005); general assignment reporter at The Virginian-Pilot (2000–2002); suburban correspondent at The Philadelphia Inquirer (1999–2000); correspondent at the Capital News Service (1999); technical writer and project manager at Craft and Miertschin (1996–1998).[60]
  • Jim Hargrove (editor in chief 1942–1943): U.S. ambassador to Australia for President Gerald Ford (1976–1977); Senior Assistant Postmaster General for Support Services (1971–1976); "instrumental in the reorganization of the Post Office department into the semi-autonomous U.S. Postal Service" as a "key player in writing and enacting the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970;" Assistant Postmaster General for Finance (1969–1971); member of a prisoner interrogation team during World War II and later wrote a memoir about the experience called The Way It Was; former member of the Rice Institute/University Board of Governors (1960) [The Rice Institute was renamed Rice University in 1960, and the Board is now called the Board of Trustees.].[61][62][63]
  • William P. Hobby, Jr. (editor in chief 1951–1952): publisher of the Houston Post (1963–1983); 37th Lieutenant Governor of Texas (1973–1991); 5th Chancellor of the University of Houston System (1995–1997); Sid Richardson Chair in Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and Radoslav Tsanoff Professor at Rice University; author of How Things Really Work: Lessons from a Life in Politics.
  • Steve Jackson (editor in chief 1972–1974): founder of Steve Jackson Games; victorious in search and seizure case Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service; founded The Backpage.[64]
  • Greg Kahn (editor in chief 1989–1990): McCormick Legal Fellow at the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, which adjoined the Student Press Law Center; clerk for Texas Supreme Court Justice Rose B. Spector; reporter for the Baytown Sun; award for the year's best staffer at the Thresher established in his name after his untimely death in 2013.[65][66]
  • Hugh Rice Kelly (editor in chief 1964–1965): co-founder and general counsel of Texans for Lawsuit Reform (1994-); senior vice president and general counsel for Houston Lighting & Power/Reliant (1984–2002); partner at BakerBotts LLP in the trial and utility regulatory departments (1972–1984); editor in chief of the Texas Law Review; expelled from Rice by Dean Higginbotham for refusing to place the name of the faculty 'sponsor' in the staff box, but the faculty voted to reinstate him.[67][68]
  • Menton Murray (managing editor 1927–1928): dean of the Texas House of Representatives (1963–1975); representative in the Texas House of Representatives (1949–1975) where he was chair of the House Conservation and Reclamation Committee and earned the nickname 'Mr. Water' for his water rights advocacy; Harlingen (TX) municipal court judge and justice of the peace (1938–1942); issue editor at TheDaily Texan (1930–1931).[69]
  • Dr. Patrick "Pat" Nicholson (editor in chief 1940–1942): author of numerous books, including In Time: An Anecdotal History of the First Fifty Years of Houston; William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute, Mr. Jim: The Biography of James Smither Abercrombie, The Divers of Acapulco and Other Stories, and The Iron Butterfly and Other Stories; past president of the American College Public Relations Association; past president of the Houston Council on World Affairs; vice president of university development at the University of Houston (1957–1981); management lecturer at the University of Houston (1951–1956); served in naval intelligence.[70]
  • Eric O'Keefe (staff writer 1983–1984): editor of The Land Report (2006-); contributor to The New York Times (1996–2008); editor of Nicklaus Magazine (2003–2005); editor of Cowboys & Indians (1998–2003); editor at large of <i>POLO Magazine</i> (1997–1998); executive editor of Chile Pepper (1996–1997); author of numerous books including Perfect 10, The Cup, Big Bend & West Texas; and the Texas Monthly Guidebook to El Paso.[71][72]
  • Harry M. Reasoner (contributing columnist 1959–1960): managing partner at Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. (1992–2001); partner in commercial and business litigation at Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. (1970-);[73] law clerk for the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (1963–1964); president of the Texas Access to Justice Commission (2007);[74] former member of the Rice University Board of Trustees.[75]
  • David Rhodes (staff writer 1992–1994): president of CBS News (2011-); head of U.S. television for Bloomberg L.P. (2008–2011); vice president of news at Fox News (1996–2008);[76] current member of the Rice University Board of Trustees.[77]
  • Jana Lynne Sanchez (staff writer 1984–1985): MD of Blue Texas Strategy LLC (2019–present); Democratic nominee for US Congress in the 6th District of Texas (2017); Dean's Advisory Board for the School of Social Sciences, Rice University (2014–present); CEO of CitySavvy Ltd (London and Amsterdam (2005-2014), Amsterdam-based correspondent for Thomson Reuters (2000–2003); London bureau chief for IDG News Service (1998–2000); features editor at Computerwire for Computer Business Review (1997–1998); editor at Cross Border Publishing for Corporate Online (1997); contributing writer/editorial assistant at The Baltimore Sun (1994–1996).[78][79]
  • Col. Gene Sisk (editor in chief 1937–1938): "among his military decorations and awards are the American Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Air Force Longevity Service Award with six Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal, Combat Readiness Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Commendation Award Medal, Legion of Merit, and Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster;" served in the U.S. Air Force as a bombing operator (B-24 pilot), aircraft observer and Staff Judge Advocate (1939–1969); was editor in chief of the school paper at San Jacinto High School in Houston where one of his reporters was Walter Cronkite.[80]
  • Griffin Smith, Jr. (editor in chief 1962–1963): executive editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (1992–2012); travel editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (1987–1992); co-founding member and senior editor of Texas Monthly magazine; contributing writer for National Geographic and Saturday Review.[81]
  • Michelle (Heard) Smith (editor in chief 1978–1979): fashion editor at the Austin American-Statesman (1986–1991); fashion writer at the Houston Chronicle (1979–1986).[82]
  • Gardner Soule (editor in chief 1931–1932): held editorial positions at multiple magazines, including managing editor of Better Homes & Gardens; contributing writer for Boys' Life and Popular Science; editor and photographer for the Associated Press; author of 20 books on ancient mariners, oceanography, and cryptozoology, including Christopher Columbus: On the Green Sea of Darkness, Men Who Dared the Sea: The Ocean Adventures of the Ancient Mariners, The Greatest Depths: Probing the Sea to 20,000 Feet and Below, and Trail of the Abominable Snowman.
  • Christof Spieler (features editor 1995–1996): board member of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County [METRO] (2010-); senior lecturer at the Rice University School of Architecture (2008-); lecturer at the Rice University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (2015-).[83]
  • Chris Strathmann (assistant news editor 1996–1997): senior producer for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (2016-); senior producer for This Week with George Stephanopoulos (2013–2015); producer for Good Morning America (2006–2012); producer for CNN (2004–2005); assistant producer for CNN (2003–2004).[84]
  • Charles Szalkowski (editor at large 1970–1971): senior partner and general counsel of BakerBotts LLP (1975–2012); chair of the Technology and Emerging Growth Companies practice at BakerBotts LLP; recipient of the Leon Jaworski Community Service Award; former member and chair of the Audit Committee of the Rice University Board of Trustees.[75][85][86][87]
  • Rev. Brady Tyson (editor in chief 1948–1949): served on the U.S. United Nations mission under U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and President Jimmy Carter (1977–1980), including a stint as deputy leader of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva where he stirred controversy by apologizing for alleged U.S. involvement in subverting Chile's Allende government. His obituary noted that "a 1977 article in The Washington Post called Dr. Tyson 'among the most unlikely diplomats ever to hit the road on behalf of the U.S. government,' saying he was 'openly contemptuous of most U.S. career diplomats and the press, both of whom he accuses of helping to keep repressive regimes in power throughout Latin America.'"; professor at American University's School of International Service (1967–1994); served on the board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; served as a Methodist minister and missionary in Brazil; as editor in chief of the Thresher, he waged an editorial campaign to convince Rice to admit Black students. At the time, Rice administrators responded that the notion was not allowed under the Rice charter. In 1966, Rice challenged the charter and won the right to admit Black students.[88][89][90][11]
  • Felisa Yang (associate news editor 1996–1997): senior staff writer at UCSF Health (2007–2010); associate editor at CNET Networks (2004–2007); managing editor at CMP Media (2000–2002); copy and production editor at Miller Freeman (1997–2000).[91]

External links


  1. ^ "Rice Thresher - About". Retrieved 2015-07-12.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Rice Thresher - newspaper in Houston, Texas USA covering Houston university news at Mondo Times". Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  3. ^ a b "Society of Professional Journalists: SPJ News". 2007-01-04. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  4. ^ a b "2016 Apple Award Winners". Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  5. ^ "ACP - Contest Winners". Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  6. ^ "Best College Newspaper". Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  7. ^ "Editorial: History of the Thresher". The Rice Thresher. January 15, 1916.
  8. ^ "Stude Association in Finished Form: Organization in Running Order with Officers Elected and Constitution Adopted: Heated Discussions Occur at Constitutional Mass Meetings--Dodge Heads Association for Next Year--Much Interest in Election". The Rice Thresher. May 25, 1918.
  9. ^ "Student Government". The Rice Thresher. May 25, 1918.
  10. ^ "H. L. Bell Will Head Students Association: Student Body Resumes Work Begun before Changes Made by War.: College Activities Center in Organization Which Fosters Many Rice Institutions--Election Returns Show Close Race". The Rice Thresher. February 6, 1919.
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  15. ^ Let’s be edgy and counter-cultural by being racist! Yeah!
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  40. ^ "Lillard Wins Thresher Poetry Prize Contest: Honorable Mentions Go to Fineman and Failor-Thresher is Gratified With Number of Contestants-Nearly Hundred Poems Entered". The Rice Thresher. May 25, 1918.
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