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Rice University Department of Athletics Honors Esteemed Alumnus with Events to Benefit Student Award & the ALS Community

The Celebration of Courage Returns to Houston September 6 – 7, 2019 as the Rice Owls Take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Houston, TX – The Brigance Brigade Foundation and Rice University Department of Athletics today announced that the two organizations will team up this fall to host the 3rd annual Celebration of Courage in Houston, TX. Created to pay tribute to alumnus and Rice University Hall of Fame Football Player, O.J. Brigance, and his strength and determination through his ongoing 12-year battle with ALS, the Celebration of Courage events will benefit the Brigance Brigade Foundation and Rice University’s O.J. Brigance Courage Award Fund.

The 2019 Celebration of Courage, which will take place September 6 – 7, 2019 as the Rice Owls take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, will include two events: “R” Association Tailgate, honoring O.J. Brigance, and the 1.57 Mile Championship Walk, both open to the public. At the “R” Association Tailgate, guests will enjoy food and drinks as they connect with O.J. Brigance, his wife Chanda, and other Rice Owl letterwinners. Participants in the 1.57 Mile Championship Walk will gather at Rice Stadium the following day for a morning of family-friendly fun and fitness to include Rice Alum DJ, snacks and water, music and games in the Kids’ Fun Zone. Anyone interested in attending the walk can register online or onsite/day-of for $25 per adult and $10 for kids under 10. More information and registration can be found here:

“O.J. Brigance is a legend to all of us here at Rice, not just because of the stats he put up on the football field, but because of the strength of character, courage and determination he continues to demonstrate every single day,” said Rice Director of Athletics & Lifetime Fitness Joe Karlgaard. “We are thrilled to be able to continue to support him and the extremely important work he does on behalf of families battling the same disease he fights through every day.”

After dealing with an emotional diagnosis of ALS in 2007, O.J. Brigance and his wife, Chanda, created the Brigance Brigade Foundation one year later to equip, encourage and empower other people living with ALS. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization improves the quality of life for people battling the disease right now by providing financial support, access to vital equipment, and resource guidance for families.

“The outpouring of support from the Houston community during the Celebration of Courage will make an immediate positive impact on our families who are in desperate need of help right now as they fight the ever-changing symptoms of ALS,” said Stephanie Chall, Executive Director of the Brigance Brigade Foundation. “We are grateful to have Rice University stand beside us in our mission and contribute to O.J. and Chanda’s vision for their legacy.”

The O.J. Brigance Courage Award is given annually to the Rice University football player who best represents and demonstrates the combined qualities of teamwork, good character, work ethic, and courageous leadership which are the hallmarks of the athletic and professional career of O. J. Brigance.  By his example, Brigance inspired, and continues to inspire, excellence in his teammates by simply striving for excellence in himself.

To learn more and RSVP / purchase tickets for the ‘Celebration of Courage’ events, please visit:

About Rice University:
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. With 3,962 undergraduates and 3,027 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships; just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 2 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice Athletics sponsors 14 sports and seeks to be the institution of choice for elite student-athletes who become champions at Rice and beyond. It has won 20 conference championships across 11 sports over the past six years and is a consistent participant in NCAA post-season competition. Regularly ranking among the top 10 in FBS graduation rates, the department consistently achieves a career placement rate of over 90 percent.

About the Brigance Brigade Foundation:
The Brigance Brigade Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to equip, encourage, and empower people living with ALS. Founded by #57 former champion football player, O.J. Brigance and his wife, Chanda, the Brigance Brigade Foundation cultivates a caring community, demands dignity for all, and actively works to create a lasting, positive impact to realize a world where people touched by ALS thrive with purpose and passion. For more information, visit