Molly Gibbins Hipp Hubbard
1956 - 2019
Molly Hubbard passed away Tuesday morning November 19th due to complications from cancer. To the end her beauty, dry wit, positive attitude, and core faith remained intact. She was surrounded with love and grace in her final days as friends and family rallied around to hold her close as she transitioned. As in life, she exhibited her signature courage and never say never attitude.
Molly will be remembered for being fabulous in just about every respect. She was a native Texan and citizen of the world, with a special ability to forge life-long friendships and vibrant partnerships. Molly connected with people from all walks of life and saw the best in everyone. To be loved and cherished by Molly was to know friendship and devotion at its best.
Molly combined infectious enthusiasm with a potent capacity to act, the results of which are demonstrated in her successful years of advancement and fund raising. There was no project initiative too ambitious for Molly. Starting with the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, she raised funds for the museum’s expansion, then joining The Nature Conservancy of Texas in the early 90s to raise funds for their pioneering programs to acquire magnificent nature preserves across Texas, including Dolan Falls, that to this day protect critical habitat. She had a special ability for cultivating major donors and helping others realize their visions. As one colleague remembers, “No one could tell her no”.
Her path then led back to the University of Texas to secure her degree in Humanities with a focus on Art History, where she graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Following graduation, she joined The Austin Museum of Art to support their proposed new downtown campus. Finally, in 2002 she moved to Houston for love and to build a life with her husband, Ford Hubbard. In short order she captured the heart of the city and became a visible and cherished part of the community. She had friends and fans of every age – everyone, it seems, was a bit smitten with Molly.
Joining Rice University in 2002, she had a long and distinguished career starting as Director of Development for The James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy, where she worked for five years, raising over $25 million and implementing a stewardship program for a $75 million endowment. She then became Director of Development for Special Projects at Rice providing strategic counsel to deans and department chairs on projects for the Shepherd School of Music, School of Humanities, School of Social Sciences, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management.
It was during this tenure she began working with the Art Committee raising funds through endowments and gifts to create a collection of art at Rice. As the program gained momentum, in 2008 she was appointed University Art Director, Public Art, leading the aspirational new program as part of Rice’s Vision for the Second Century as a means of enlivening the campus and connecting it with the arts community in Houston. It was the perfect fit, combining her love of art, ability to cultivate donors, and passion to realize a vision. Two of her proudest achievements were the successful completion James Turrell skyspace, dubbed “Twilight Epiphany”, which opened June 14, 2012, and serving as the Spectacle Committee Co-Chair for the Rice Centennial also in 2012.
In recognition of her leadership and impact in the arts, in 2007 Governor Rick Perry appointed Molly to a six-year term on the Texas Commission on the Arts. In recent years she had launched her own consulting practice bringing her unique talents to support initiatives closer to her heart including the homeless, animal rescue/rehabilitation, and, of course, art projects with impact.
Molly leaves behind her husband, Ford Hubbard III, her stepdaughter Julia Ashland Hubbard, her siblings Cynthia Lavin and Ty Gibbins, and niece, Crystal Holmes.
A celebration of her life will be held at Christ Church Cathedral located at 1117 Texas Avenue in Houston starting at 2:00PM on Thursday December 5th, 2019. Donations in her honor may be made to Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition (www.twrcwildlfecenter.org).
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