Wiess School of Natural Sciences
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Natural Sciences alumni honored at Rice Alumni Association 2015 Laureates Dinner

The Association of Rice Alumni (ARA) Laureates Award Program honors Rice alumni and friends for extraordinary contributions to their profession, local communities, and the University. Four Natural Sciences alumni were recognized at the 2015 Laureates Dinner for their accomplishments. From distinguished research careers in mathematics and medicine to significant philanthropic contributions to excelling in professional baseball, our alumni are impacting every aspect of our culture. We congratulate these alumni on all of their achievements and take this opportunity to share some of the highlights of their stories.

Laureates Award 2015_2 

The Association of Rice Alumni honored four Natural Sciences alumni at this year’s annual Laureates Dinner. Shown from left to right are 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award winner E. Brad Thompson, Lance Berkman, Dean Peter Rossky, J. Bruce Laubach, Barbara E. Murray, and Raymond L. Johnson. 



Distinguished Alumni Award
The Distinguished Alumni award is presented to alumni who have advanced the interests and standards of Rice University through distinctive professional or volunteer careers.

Lance Berkman ’98 
Lance Berkman is a former professional baseball player. He was named the 1997 National Collegiate Player of the Year and first team All-American as a first baseman with the Rice Owls. A first-round draft pick by the Houston Astros, Berkman went on to a long and successful professional career. He is a six-time MLB All-Star and earned a World Series ring as a member of the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. 

Raymond L. Johnson ’69 
Raymond Johnson is a highly accomplished mathematician and an advocate for minorities in higher education. He was the university’s first African-American graduate student and the first African-American faculty member at the University of Maryland. After a 40-year career in the Department of Mathematics at Maryland, he returned to Rice where he held the W.L. Moody Jr. Visiting Professorship of Mathematics from 2009 to 2014 and is now an adjunct professor. He has received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentorship in addition to commendations from the Texas State Senate and the city of Houston. 

Barbara E. Murray ‘69
Barbara Murray is an internationally recognized expert in infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance, and bacterial pathogens. Her research, aimed at understanding antibiotic-resistant bacteria and developing new treatments for them, has resulted in more than 300 medical articles. She is a past president of the Infectious Disease Society of America and the current director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and co-director of the Center for the Study of Emerging and Re-Emerging Pathogens at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. 

Meritorious Service Award
The Meritorious Service Award recognizes Rice alumni, faculty, staff, and friends who have made significant, sustained, and voluntary contributions of energy, time, and creativity toward the advancement of the university.

J. Bruce Laubach ’55 
Bruce and Mary Lou ’58 Laubach met while attending Rice University and they continue to support the university with their time and resources. Bruce has served as the chairman of the 1955 Golden Anniversary Scholarship Committee and on the ARA Board of Directors and the couple co-chaired the Brazos Valley Rice Alumni Group when they lived in College Station, Texas. After moving to Colorado, they have remained connected to campus regularly travelling to attend Rice events including Classroom Connect, associates dinners, Baker Society events, laureates dinners, and Homecoming & Reunion.

For more information about the 2015 Laureates click here.