Rice Business Facilities McNair Hall

Message from Dean Peter Rodriguez:

Dear Rice Business Community, 

I write to update you on our school in light of the ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ order issued this morning by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Under the order, which begins at 11:59 this evening and lasts until at least Friday, April 3, all of Harris County joins Dallas County, Brazos County, Galveston County and the cities of Austin and San Antonio, which have issued similar orders. 

The judge’s order asks that we, ‘… stay at home unless our jobs are essential to the health and safety of the community.’ The good news is that we’re almost all of the way to this point at Rice Business now. The additional adjustments we have to make are relatively small and manageable. Thanks to so many of you who have rallied and supported each other, we are able to ensure that our primary mission to educate not only continues, but also continues to meet our high standards. 

Beginning tomorrow, the number of people on campus will be reduced to the bare minimum. Thinking of our beautiful campus without us on it seems like such a loss, but this unprecedented circumstance also reminds me of a sign outside a rural church near my hometown. The sign read, ‘The Pirtle United Methodist Church Meets Here,’ making it clear that what mattered was the people dedicated to the mission of the place, not the place itself. Just as the congregation, not the building, comprised the Pirtle United Methodist Church, our community, and not our campus, is the essence of our school. 

A few days after the rain stopped from Hurricane Harvey, a reporter asked me how our school was managing to carry on. Despite all the chaos, what I recall most were the undeniable bonds connecting our community and the strong feeling of optimism and pride at working with friends who were also great citizens and generous leaders. With many needs to fill, facing hard work and hard adjustments, we were at our best, taking care of each other, supporting the well-being of our community and giving our best efforts for our students. That time is here again and I know, and have seen, that we have within our community everything we need to flourish through this moment.

Our rallying call to be ‘attentive, responsive and kind’ in all that we do was established to express the values made evident in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Now, as then, let’s lead from where we are and act to express these same core values in all the ways we engage with each other and with our community. 

Stay connected, stay positive and stay home, 
Peter 

Learn More About Crisis Management

After Harvey, some companies gouged prices and others volunteered their space. How companies react during disasters stems from the moral views of firm decision-makers.
During a crisis, outsiders view leaders who only show no sadness, only anger as less effective as research by Rice Business professor D. Brent Smith shows.
Chronic loneliness could lead people to self-sabotage when reaching out to others, making loneliness a self-perpetuating—and painful—cycle.
Rice Business Professor Anastasiya Zavyalova explains why pre-existing moral codes are essential for companies in crisis.
Delivery-based grocery shopping is growing, but the online future of grocery shopping might be overhyped, as Rice Business professor Scott Sonenshein explains.