Both James Lockhart Autry III and Allie May Autry attended Rice Institute. James, Jr. graduated in 1921 and Allie May in 1925. Every family member was active in supporting the university and created a lasting impact on Rice. Mrs. Autry donated $50,000 toward building and furnishing a permanent community house as a memorial to James Lockhart Autry II on stipulation that it should be operated on a non-sectarian basis, open to both men and women, students, and faculty of Rice Institute. It was designed by William Ward Watkin and Cram & Ferguson in the Italian Mediterranean style featured on many of the Rice campus buildings. The “Fireside of Rice” was dedicated on November 6, 1921 and quickly became a popular gathering place and hosted partiies, receptions, movies, plays, dances, and Archi Arts balls.
Mrs. Autry was vivacious and enjoyed parties and had friends of all ages. She was very popular on the Rice Institute campus, and the 1927 yearbook was dedicated to her. When she died, classes were suspended during the hour her funeral was held, out of respect to her memory,