College Coordinator for Martel College
Like many native Houstonians, Bonnie Stroman has more than a few ties to Rice University.
Her grandfather’s advertising company ran ads in the Campanile; an uncle was enrolled at Rice but left to serve in World War II; and her husband Mike ’80 (Sid Rich), daughter Lauren ’06 (Sid Rich), and son-in-law Kevin Hirshberg ’09 (Sid Rich) are all Rice alumni.
“I really began to feel a personal, deep connection with Rice when I became a Rice parent,” Bonnie says. “Lauren brought all of her friends over to the house for dinners and holidays, and they would always talk about how much they loved the university.”
After their daughter Lauren graduated in 2006, Bonnie and her husband decided that they wanted to stay involved with Rice student life. The Stromans became Community Associates at Sid Richardson College, where they held dinners for students, attended college events on campus and served as mentors.
“Really, I’m just happy to be here as a source of support for students.”
Bonnie also began working at Rice in the Development and Alumni Relations division, where she gained a deep appreciation for how the Rice community supports student life and learning. “I was not a fundraiser, but the positions I held gave me insight into the importance of philanthropy,” she notes. “My passion really was in being part of the residential college system, so I began to look for a role on the A-team of a college. It’s so energizing to be around young people.” Eventually, when a College Coordinator position opened up at Martel College, Bonnie saw another opportunity to deepen her connection to students.
One of the perks of the job, for Bonnie, is that no two days are the same. “I have various responsibilities, like looking after the common spaces, coordinating mail and packages for students, helping out the O-Week Coordinators and other things,” Bonnie says. “Really, I’m just happy to be here as a source of support for students. I often help them get connected with different offices or programs all over campus, so I really get to know a lot about our residents and learn about what’s going on around campus.”
Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, Bonnie took on some new tasks, including coordinating with housing and dining on new procedures and ordering and distributing PPE. “It is phenomenal how much time, energy and thought Rice has spent on making sure our students are healthy and safe,” she adds. “It hasn’t always been easy, and I dearly miss having students in my office every day, but I am happy and eager to do my part for our Martel residents.”
“The best way for us to continue our connection is to support Rice and its students, with our time and with our donations. We’re invested — and investing — in its future.”
She also notes how seriously the students have responded to testing, contact tracing and social distancing measures. “I really am so proud of how students are assuming the responsibilities of staying safe,” Bonnie says. “Rice students are really mature, and they have been really gracious in the way their college experience has been turned upside down.”
In addition to the Stromans’ time spent as Rice parents and Community Associates, and on top of the work Bonnie continues to do as a College Coordinator, they have made a point to donate in support Rice students as often as they can. “Because we, as a family, have a deep connection to the university, we really care and are interested in what goes on at Rice,” Bonnie remarks. “The best way for us to continue our connection is to support Rice and its students, with our time and with our donations. We’re invested — and investing — in its future.”
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