Scope and Contents
This collection includes correspondence, agendas, meeting minutes, notes, budgets, correspondence and photographs from the Office of Eric Johnson, former Vice President for Resource Development, Rice University Office of Resource Development, from 1996-2007.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish material from Rice University Office of Resource Development, Vice President for Resource Development, Eric Johnson must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
Biographical / Historical
In the earliest years of Development activity at Rice following the $33 million campaign (1965-1969), leadership was provided by alumni. In August of 1969 Sam Emison, ’25, and an Alumni Governor, accepted the assignment to be in charge of Development, but because of ill health he stepped down a year later. In September of 1970, Charles F. Moser, ’39, who had been executive director of the Alumni Association for the preceding nine-and-a-half months, was appointed assistant to the president for Development by President Norman Hackerman. This position was assumed by Dr. William W. Akers, professor of chemical engineering, in June 1973, when Charles Moser became director of the university’s Enhancement Program. The agreement was that Dr. Akers, a member of the Rice faculty since 1947, would continue his teaching and research while devoting half his time to heading the university’s Development office. Dr. Akers had been closely associated with the $33 million campaign and had served as chairman of the faculty-staff division of the annual fund drive. In 1972 he was the national vice chairman for the community division. He had been a member of the national Rice University Fund Council, the advisory body for the university’s major support programs, since it was organized in 1970.
In April 1975 Dr. Akers was promoted to the office of vice president for External Affairs and as such oversaw both Development and Public Affairs. The person who was to become Development director in 1979, Margaret “Sully” Alsobrook, had been working at Rice since 1955. She had organized the Rice Associates program and from 1969 had helped develop the Annual Fund, focused on alumni giving. Development activities under Sully’s supervision had grown to include the Annual Fund, Major Gifts, Planned Gifts, Corporate and Foundation Giving, and Research. She retired as director of Development in 1990.
In 1986 Kent E. Dove succeeded Dr. Akers as vice president for External Affairs, and he was succeeded in 1990 by Dr. Frank Ryan, under whom Public Affairs was separated from Development and Alumni Affairs in 1994, Dr. Ryan assuming leadership of Public Affairs.
In 1995 a new officer was hired to oversee Development, Kathryn Costello. She came to Rice with the title vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs. Her role was shortly renamed vice president for University Advancement, which once again included Public Affairs. In 1998 she left Rice to become the University of Georgia’s first senior vice president for External Affairs.
Kathryn Costello was followed in 1999 by Eric C. Johnson, who was hired with the title vice president for Resource Development. (From this point forward, Public Affairs became a separate division under its own vice president.) Johnson retired from this position in 2007, at which time Darrow Zeidenstein moved up to the head position from having been associate vice president for Development under Johnson.
Naturally the staff handling Development activities has greatly increased in size through the years. It numbered around twenty during Sully’s time and has now grown to over one hundred. The meaning of the title Development director has also changed. There are now many employees with the word director in their titles: executive director, senior director, associate director, assistant director, and director—each of these assigned, for instance, to a specific academic division or activity.