Scope and Contents
This collection consists of materials accumulated by a major alumni supporter of Rice athletics over sixty years. Many of the items involve the R Association, the organization to which all varsity athletes can belong. There are correspondence files about dues, yearly banquets, and other activities. Included is the R Association roster from 1912 to 1952. There are membership lists of the R Association Hall of Fame, the Quarterback Club (1998, 2004), and the Student Owl Club (2004-05). Also included are the R Association by-laws and the certificate form for an R Association Honorary Member.
In addition to the R Association items, there are materials about various projects to raise funds for athletics, e.g. a 1998 Phone-a-thon, baseball Dollars for Dingers (2004), the baseball commemorative brick campaign (2007), and For Rice’s Honor programs. Records of the budget, fund raising, and insurance of the Owl Club are also included.
Widely ranging particular events are represented, such as Homecoming 1954, Rice Day 1959, Letterman’s Day 1997, the reunion of 1930 to 1939 football players in 1998, the Association of Rice Alumni Pre-Game Parties in 1999, an Owl Club retreat in 2000, Red Bale dinners, a San Antonio Athletics Alumni Reception in 2006, the Blue and Gray Weekend in 2006, and Rodeo Nights in 1997, 1998, and 2001.
Programs from specific events include Track and Field Programs from 1925-26, the 1950’s, 1962, and 1974; the 2000 Baseball Schedule; and the 1970 Southwest Conference Championship. There are copies of an athletics newsletter titled Talon, as well as random newsclips.
Finally, the collection includes envelopes of memorabilia from the 1930’s 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. There are some of Stancliff’s personal letters, as well as his honors and awards from the R Association. A folder marked “Rice Stadium” contains diagrams and information about the financing dated 1951.
Biographical / Historical
Fred J. Stancliff for 63 years was the secretary-treasurer of the Rice University organization for all athletes whose participation earned them the award of the letter R. He and his wife Florence are credited with keeping the R Association operating through decades of Rice athletics that are referred to as “The Stancliff Years.”
Stancliff came to Rice from El Campo, Texas, and as a freshman was captain of the track team. He distinguished himself particularly as a discus thrower. Attention to his expertise was drawn not only by distance records but also by a photograph showing him in position ready to throw. The resemblance of the photograph to a well- known Greek statue led to its being printed first in the rotogravure section of a Houston newspaper and then circulated nationally.
Stancliff was elected secretary of the R Association in 1923 when he accepted his first varsity letter. He continued in that position and added treasurer to it, serving until 1986. In 1971 the organization honored him with the Distinguished R Man Award, and in 1973 he was recognized with a tribute as “the man who has been the motivating and sustaining force in our organization for the last 50 years.”
A Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering is the degree Stancliff earned, graduating in 1926. Until the Depression years he worked as a field and petroleum engineer. Friendship with a fellow alumnus who had been captain of the football team led to his being offered a job selling insurance for Southland Life. By 1935 he was given the opportunity to become a general agent for Volunteer State Life Insurance Company, a position he held for many years.
Sancliff died in 1995.