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Tudor still impacting Rice long after the playing days are done

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Few college athletes continue to play key cogs at their schools well after the playing days are done. 

Former Rice Owl basketball team captain Bobby Tudor is proving to be that rare exception.

"I feel like I owe a lot to Rice and I feel some real obligation to give back," Tudor told FOX 26 from his downtown Houston corporate office.  "Rice has been great to me."

Tudor in many ways represents the epitome of the Rice student-athlete experience.

Tudor graduated in 1982 as a four-year starter.  After finishing Tulane law school in 1987 he spent 20 years with investment banking giant Goldman Sachs before launching Houston-based Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., an independent energy investment banking and research firm.  

He recently was elected the next chair of the Rice Board of Trustees after serving on that board since 2006.

Six years ago Tudor and his wife, Phoebe, provided a $7 million lead donation that served as the last piece of financing for the renovation that is now Tudor Fieldhouse.

All testaments to a life-long relationship to a university that began with a scholarship offer more than three decades ago.

"I didn't pay a penny in four years at Rice," Tudor said.  "And in reward I came away with an elite education, one that is hard to replicate not just in our country but in the world.  And for that I feel a great sense of responsibility to make sure that remains open to others.  One of the reasons athletics is important to us at Rice is that it brings to our campus a set of highly motivated highly driven talented people who would not otherwise be there. "

In 1978 Tudor was sifting through scholarship offers from his home in Pineville, Louisiana.  His books were just as strong as his basketball so his options were both board and deep.

Tudor visited Duke and Arkansas, both fresh from break-through runs to the Final Four.  He considered Vanderbilt and the Ivy League.  He had family ties to LSU.  He finally decided on Rice believing he was getting the best of both the academic and athletic worlds.

"When I was being recruited Mike Schuler was the head basketball coach at Rice at the time," Tudor said.  "I remember in the recruiting visit in my home Schuler said, 'You know, we have plans to completely redo Autry Court.'  What he didn't tell me, that he intended me to pay for it."   

But wether he is contributing his money, his time or his influence, Tudor continues to impact his university like few others from any other campus in the country.

"The special thing is not the diploma," Tudor said.  "The special thing is the Rice education.  And I feel very privileged to have been given that opportunity and that's a big part of the reason I give back."

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