Bill Gordon was a much-respected long-time member of the Space Physics and Astronomy Department who first came to Rice in 1966 as Dean. He retired twenty years later as Provost and Vice President. He made many contributions to science and engineering and was a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. This, and his great service to Rice, is recognized by the fact that he is one of only two Emeritus Professors to hold the title of Distinguished. The award monies are given to the student(s) who demonstrated academic and research achievement in Space Physics or Astronomy.
BIOGRAPHY: William E. Gordon
William E. Gordon was born in Paterson, New Jersey on January 8, 1918. He served in the Air Force during World War II, and earned a Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1953. He married Elva Freile in 1941, they have a son and a daughter. During the first half of his academic career (1948-66) at Cornell he conceived, supervised the design and construction, and directed the early operation of the Arecibo Observatory with its 300-meter spherical antenna. At Rice University (1966-86) he served as a Professor of Space Science and Electrical Engineering, as Dean of Natural Sciences and Engineering, as Provost and Vice President, and is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He is a member and Foreign Secretary (1986-90) of the National Academy of Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Foreign Associate of the Engineering Academy of Japan, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He was the Vice President of the International Council of Scientific Unions (1988-93) and is an Honorary President of the International Union of Radio Science. He received the Balth van der Pol Gold Medal in 1966, the Arctowski Gold Medal in 1984, a USSR Academy of Sciences Medal in 1985 for distinguished contributions in international geophysical programs and the Centennial Medal of the University of Sofia in 1988. He was a consultant for Northwest Research Associates on large radar facilities, an advisor to the Air Force and Navy on the HAARP facility in Alaska, a member of the Advisory Committee for the 2001 Asia-Pacific Radio Science Conference, a speaker at the Inauguration of the Indonesia/Japan radar facility on the equator at the source of El Niño/La Niña, and the father of the radio telescope at Arecibo, an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing.
William F. Marlar was a businessman in Denver, Colorado, who was tragically disabled as a result of a robbery. His wife, Freda Marlar, assumed the management of the business, which prospered under her direction. She was a staunch American patriot and believer in the free enterprise system. At the time the Soviets launched Sputnick in 1957, she felt that American ingenuity and technical knowledge should be stimulated from the private sector in an effort to equal and eventually surpass the Soviet space accomplishments. To aid in this purpose she established the William F. Marlar Memorial Foundation, which has continued to promote her initial purposes, through university grants, since her death in 1968.
The Juday family association with Rice began in 1960 when Richard D. Juday, son of Chancey and Evelyn, matriculated as a Rice student. Richard’s elder daughter, Jennifer, and his wife Darcey Goode Juday both also received Rice degrees. In conferring the endowment to support the Rice Space Institute, Dr. Richard Juday wrote, “The education Rice provided has had a profoundly favorable effect on all of our lives. We are altogether pleased that our parents Chancey and Evelyn Juday were so favorably disposed toward Rice as to include you in their estate planning”.