The Ivy Coach Daily

May 26, 2021

A Proud Day for Rice University

Rice University has great reason to be proud of two of its sons (photo credit: AniRaptor2001).

We have long stressed on the pages of this college admissions blog that the great advantage of attending an elite university is not the in-classroom education. Organic Chemistry is likely not taught much differently at Arizona State University as it as at Harvard University. So what then is the big advantage of attending an elite university? That’s an easy one. It’s the classmates with whom you share your college experience. When you attend an elite university, you share your formative years with young people who are going to go on to become captains of finance, of law, medicine, education, and so much more. You go to school with the future shapers of our world. That’s something the vast majority of universities across America simply can’t offer. Allow us to share a case in point: Bill and Barney, proud alumni of Rice University.

As Jared S. Hopkins reports this week for The Wall Street Journal in a piece entitled “Bill and Barney, Two Old College Pals, Help Save the World From Covid-19,” “A half-century ago, freshman Barney Graham rolled onto the Rice University campus in a new 1971 Ford Mustang. To blow off steam that year, he launched water balloons off the dorm roof with his new roommate Bill Gruber, who drove a hand-me-down Dodge Monaco. Barney, a top high-school athlete and valedictorian from a family farm in Kansas, starred in intramural sports at Rice. Bill, a high-school academic star from a Houston suburb, said Barney made up for his own athletic deficiencies when they played football and softball…Last year, the two men returned to competition, this time in a race to stop the pandemic. When Moderna Inc. announced in November that its vaccine had proved highly effective against Covid-19, Dr. Barney Graham, a government scientist who helped design the shot, emailed his old pal. Dr. Bill Gruber ran the clinical trials of the vaccine from Pfizer Inc., which had announced its own similarly impressive results a week earlier.”

Yes, Bill and Barney, two college roommates at Rice University, were instrumental leaders in bringing to an end the pandemic that has brought the people of our nation — and the world — to their knees. Bill, the guy who drove the Dodge Monaco, and Barney, the high school athlete and valedictorian from Kansas, are due much credit for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that have helped us all see the light. Thank you to Dr. Gruber. Thank you to Dr. Graham. Thank you to Rice University for educating these two men whose immense contributions to our world will not ever be able to be fully measured.

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