Port Talks

Port Talks: History and Mission

Port Talks are a Baker College tradition begun in 2000 by Alex Byrd, a Rice alumnus and former Baker Resident Associate, who is also a professor of history emphasizing the African diaspora and African American history.

Designed to foster intellectual vibrancy in the college and to forward, outside of the classroom, the academic mission of the university, Port Talks last about one hour, proceed in an informal tone, and are followed by port and chocolate and other refreshments.  The definition of “academic” here is intentionally broad, since the talks can include intellectual autobiography, address philosophical questions, topical questions, and range in focus from cell biology to theology to post-undergraduate student life.

Selected Port Talks

  • 2004, David Guitterrez, Chicano historian from UCSD.  “The Internationalization of American Hispanic Identity and the Future of Chicano/a Studies
  • 2004, Art Rascon, Channel 13 TV reporter.  Topic: Journalists Embedded in Iraq. A Personal Account.
  • 2005, President of Rice University, David Leebron.  During his inaugural term, Baker invited the President to speak about “Residential College System: A New Vision”
  • 2005, Dr. Clifford Dacso, “Making Good Enough Medical Choices.”  Dr. Dasco is a practicing internist and Director of The Abramson Family Center for the Future of Health: a collaboration of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, the University of Houston, and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.
  • 2005, Suzanne O’Malley, “You, After Rice.” Rice University Writer in Residence, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Screenwriter (Law and Order); Author of Are You There Alone?: The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates.
  • 2006, Professor of Biology Mary Ellen Lane, ”Demystifying the Issues and the Science of Embryonic Stem Cell Research.”
  • 2006, Dean of Humanities Gary Wihl.  “Historical Perspectives on Terrorism and the Political.”
  • 2007, Baker Associate Kurt Ritz, Rice University’s Joint Campus Minister, “Tolerance and Christianity”