News from RICE University

Selman joins Rice Board of Trustees, Kraft re-elected

Rice University has announced the appointment of Cathryn Selman ’78 and the re-election of Patti Kraft ’87 to its board of trustees. Both distinguished alumnae will serve four-year terms starting July 1.

Cathryn Selman ’78 (left) Patti Kraft ’87 (right).
Cathryn Selman ’78 (left) Patti Kraft ’87 (right).

“On behalf of the Rice community and the board of trustees, I am pleased to introduce our newest trustees, both proud Rice alumnae,” said Robert T. Ladd, chair of the board. “Cathryn and Patti have shown steadfast dedication to our university, which will guide their advocacy for our diverse stakeholders. Rice’s future holds significant opportunities, and our new trustees will play a pivotal role in shaping it.”

“Rice University proudly extends its heartfelt congratulations to Patti and Cathryn on their re-election and election to the board of trustees,” said Rice President Reginald DesRoches. “Their unwavering commitment to excellence and service, both locally and globally, exemplifies the core values we hold dear at Rice. Their extensive professional accomplishments and dedication to community engagement serve as inspiration to us all. With their continued leadership, we are poised to navigate the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow, ensuring Rice remains at the forefront of innovation and education.”

A Houston native, Selman brings extensive finance experience, including 16 years with Exxon Corporation in domestic and international roles. She held key positions at Exxon Exploration Company and served as an executive director at Russell Reynolds Associates from 1997–99.

Selman served in various volunteer roles since graduation. In 2007, she received the university’s Meritorious Service Award. She led 1978 Class Giving efforts as Annual Fund chair multiple times and served on the Friends of Fondren Library Board. Additionally, she has contributed to the advisory councils of the Chao Center for Asian Studies and Rice Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. Currently, Selman serves on advisory boards for Rice’s School of Social Sciences and the Center for Career Development.

In 2017, Selman became a founding board member of Harbor Christian Academy, a faith-based private school providing affordable education to underserved children in Houston.

Selman has also held key roles in several Houston nonprofits. Notable achievements include co-leading the successful merger of two prominent Houston HIV/AIDS service organizations in 1999, and a significant role in public-private partnership efforts resulting in the Houston Zoo’s current excellence. Selman also served two terms as vice chair for board governance of Houston Zoo, Inc. Additionally, the mayor appointed her to the Houston Public Library Foundation board in 2005, and she later served as chair until 2013.

Selman received a Bachelor of Arts with honors in economics and history from Rice in 1978 and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1982. Her late father was a 1951 graduate of the Rice Institute, and her sister and eldest son graduated from Rice. She and husband Douglas M. Selman have three sons and twin 17-year-old granddaughters.

Kraft was re-elected to Rice’s board after previously serving two four-year terms from 2015–23. She is an active volunteer in the Boston area and owner of Bellezza Home in Newton, Massachusetts. Her retail store, Bellezza, specializes in fine hand-painted Italian ceramics. She currently serves on multiple committees at Boston Children’s Hospital, including the Stem Cell Research Oversight and the Stem Cell Task Force. She is also campaign co-chair of Massachusetts General Hospital Brigham.

Kraft is a board member of Boston College and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. She is a former trustee for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and serves on various committees of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Gateway Arts Advisory Committee.

She is also the Boston-area event host for the Rice Initiative for Students Cabinet and Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics Council.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Kraft was formerly a deputy legal counsel for Gov. William Weld in Massachusetts, a litigation associate at Goodwin Procter and a consultant at Bain & Company. She has a Bachelor of Arts in economics and managerial studies from Rice and lives in Newton with her husband Jonathan Kraft.

The board of trustees represents all Rice stakeholders and is the university’s highest governing authority.