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About Rice University
William Marsh Rice University, commonly referred to as Rice University or Rice, is a private research university located on a 295-acre (1.19 km2) campus in Houston, Texas, United States. The university is situated near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center. Rice is generally considered the top university and the most selective institute of higher education in the state of Texas.
Opened in 1912 after the murder of its namesake William Marsh Rice, Rice is now a research university with an undergraduate focus. Its emphasis on education is demonstrated by a small student body and 6:1 student-faculty ratio. The university has a very high level of research activity for its size, with $115.3 million in sponsored research funding in 2011. Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing, space science, and nanotechnology. It was ranked first in the world in materials science research by the Times Higher Education (THE) in 2010. Rice is a member of the Association of American Universities.
The university is organized into eleven residential colleges and eight schools of academic study, including the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the School of Social Sciences, School of Architecture, Shepherd School of Music and the School of Humanities. Graduate programs are offered through the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, School of Architecture, Shepherd School of Music, and Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Rice students are bound by the strict Honor Code, which is enforced by a student-run Honor Council.
Rice competes in 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports and is a part of Conference USA, often competing with its cross-town rival the University of Houston. Intramural and club sports are offered in a wide variety of activities such as jiu jitsu, water polo, and crew.
History of Rice University
On May 18, 1891, Massachusetts-born businessman William Marsh Rice chartered the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science, and Art as a gift to the city of Houston, where he made his fortune. The terms of the charter required that work on the new institute would begin only after Rice's death.
On September 23, 1900, Rice was chloroformed to death by his valet, Charlie Jones, who had conspired with an unscrupulous lawyer, Albert Patrick, to murder the aging millionaire and claim his estate using a forged will. When an autopsy ordered by Rice's attorney, Captain James A. Baker, revealed evidence of poisoning, Jones agreed to provide state's evidence in return for immunity from prosecution. Patrick was convicted of murder and sent to Sing Sing. He was pardoned in 1912, the same year that classes began at the Rice Institute.
In 1907, the trustees of the Rice Institute acted upon the recommendation of Woodrow Wilson (then president of Princeton) and named astronomer and mathematician Edgar Odell Lovett the first president of Rice. Lovett called for the establishment of a university "of the highest grade," "an institution of liberal and technical learning" devoted "quite as much investigation as to instruction." [We must] "keep the standards up and the numbers down," declared Lovett. "The most distinguished teachers must take their part in undergraduate teaching, and their spirit should dominate it all."
The Rice Institute opened on September 23, 1912, the anniversary of Mr. Rice's murder, with 77 students and a dozen faculty. An international academic festival celebrated the opening three weeks later, a spectacular event that brought Rice to the attention of the entire scholarly world. Four years later, at the initial commencement, 35 bachelor's degrees and one master's degree were awarded, with the first doctorate conferred in 1918.
Dates of Note
- 1891 Charter establishing the Rice Institute signed (May 18).
- 1896 Rice's second wife dies. Her will claims half of Rice estate.
- 1900 William Marsh Rice murdered (September 23).
- 1901 Albert Patrick imprisoned for the murder.
- 1904 Legal challenges to Mrs. Rice's will resolved; Rice Institute receives $4.6 million founding endowment from Rice estate.
- 1907 Edgar Odell Lovett named first president of Rice Institute.
- 1911 Cornerstone laid for first campus building (now Lovett Hall).
- 1912 First classes held; 77 male and female students, 10 faculty.
- 1914 Rice becomes a charter member of the Southwest Conference.
- 1916 Honor system adopted by vote of the student body.
- 1918 First Rice Ph.D. awarded to Hubert Bray (in mathematics).
- 1928 Rice awarded a Phi Beta Kappa Chapter.
- 1930 Founder's Memorial statue dedicated.
- 1945 William Vermillion Houston named second president of Rice.
- 1950 Rice Stadium opened.
- 1958 Residential college system initiated.
- 1960 Rice Institute is formally redesignated as Rice University.
- 1961 Kenneth Sanborn Pitzer named third president of Rice.
- 1962 Speaking in Rice stadium, President John F. Kennedy spoke on the nation's space efforts to land a man on the moon.
- 1963 Rice opens nation's first department of Space Physics.
- 1965 School of Architecture founded.
- 1966 University-led lawsuit to modify Institute charter is successful, permitting Rice to charge tuition and admit non-Caucasians.
- 1967 Continuing Studies Program founded (now School of Continuing Studies).
- 1969 William H. Masterson appointed then withdraws as president of Rice. Frank Vandiver appointed interim president.
- 1970 Norman Hackerman named fourth president of Rice.
- 1974 Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Administration founded.
- 1975 Shepherd School of Music founded.
- 1979 School of Social Sciences founded.
- 1981 Rice made repository of NASA Johnson Space Center Archives.
- 1985 George Erik Rupp named fifth president of Rice.
- 1990 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations held at Rice.
- 1993 S. Malcolm Gillis named sixth president of Rice.
- 1993 James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy founded.
- 1996 The Nobel Prize in Chemistry won by Professors Richard Smalley and Robert Curl for the discovery and application of carbon 60 molecules (buckminsterfullerenes)
- 1999 In October, former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela speaks in Autry Court before a packed crowd.
- 2001 Former president George H. W. Bush introduces Russian president Vladimir Putin in Stude Concert Hall.
- 2003 Rice Owls baseball team defeats Stanford, winning the College World Series, the 1 st National Championship in a team sport for Rice.
- 2004 David W. Leebron named seventh president of Rice.
Institutional Accreditation or Recognition - Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
- In 2016, Rice was ranked 87th in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
- In 2016, Rice was ranked tied for 72nd internationally (38th nationally) by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
- Rice University was also ranked 90th globally in 2016 by QS World University Rankings.
- Rice is noted for its entrepreneurial activity, and has been recognized as the top ranked business incubator in the world by the Stockholm-based UBI Index for both 2013 and 2014.
- Rice was ranked tied at 15th among national universities and at 5th for "best undergraduate teaching" in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report in its 2017 edition.
- USNWR also ranked the Jones Graduate School of Management tied for 33rd and the Brown School of Engineering 31st in the nation in 2016.
- Forbes magazine ranked Rice University at 30th nationally among both liberal arts colleges and universities in 2016.
- Kiplinger's Personal Finance places Rice 4th in its 2015 ranking of best value private universities in the United States.
- The Princeton Review ranked Rice 1st for "Best Quality of Life" and "Happiest Students" in its 2012 edition,20th among LGBTfriendliest colleges in its 2014 edition, and one of the top 50 best value private colleges in its 2011 edition.
- Rice was ranked 41st among research universities by the Center for Measuring University Performance in 2007.
- Consumer's Digest ranked Rice 3rd on the list of top 5 values in private colleges in its June 2011 issue.
- Fiske Guide to Colleges ranked Rice as one of the top 25 private "best buy" schools in its 2012 edition.
- In 2011 the Leiden Ranking, which measures the performance of 500 major research universities worldwide, using metrics designed to measure research impact ranked Rice 4th Globally, for effectiveness and contribution of research.
- In 2013 the university was again ranked first globally for quality of research in natural sciences and engineering, and 6th globally for all sciences.
- In 2014, The Daily Beast ranked Rice 14th out of nearly 2,000 schools it evaluated.
- In 2016, Money Magazine ranked Rice 4th in the nation.
Student Life @Rice University
Situated on nearly 300 acres (1.2 km2) in the heart of Houston's Museum District and across the street from the city's Hermann Park, Rice is a green and leafy refuge – an oasis of learning convenient to the amenities of the nation's fourth-largest city. Rice's campus adjoins Hermann Park, the Texas Medical Center, and a neighborhood commercial center called Rice Village. Hermann Park includes the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre and an 18-hole municipal golf course. Reliant Park, home of Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome, is two miles (3 km) south of the campus. Among the dozen or so museums in the Museum District is the Rice University Art Gallery, open during the school year. Easy access to downtown's theater and nightlife district and to Reliant Park is provided by the Houston METRORail system, with a station adjacent to the campus's main gate. The campus recently joined the Zipcar program with two vehicles to increase the transportation options for students and staff who need but currently don't utilize a vehicle.
Main article: Residential colleges of Rice University
In 1957, Rice University implemented a residential college system, as proposed by the university's first president, Edgar Odell Lovett. The system was inspired by existing systems in place at Oxford and Cambridge in England and at several other universities in the United States, most notably Yale University. The existing residences known as East, South, West, and Wiess Halls became Baker, Will Rice, Hanszen, and Wiess Colleges, respectively.
List of residential colleges
This is a list of residential colleges at Rice:
- Baker College, named in honor of Captain James A. Baker, friend and attorney of William Marsh Rice, and first chair of the Rice Board of Governors.
- Brown College, named for Margaret Root Brown by her in-laws, George R. Brown.
- Duncan College, named for Charles Duncan, Jr., Secretary of Energy.
- Hanszen College, named for Harry Clay Hanszen, benefactor to the university and chairman of the Rice Board of Governors from 1946-1950.
- Jones College, named for Mary Gibbs Jones, wife of prominent Houston philanthropist Jesse Holman Jones.
- Lovett College, named after the university's first president, Edgar Odell Lovett.
- Martel College, named for Marian and Speros P. Martel, was built in 2002.
- McMurtry College, named for Rice alumni Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Silicon Valley venture capitalists.
- Sid Richardson College, named for the Sid Richardson Foundation, which was established by Texas oilman, cattleman, and philanthropist Sid W. Richardson.
- Wiess College, named for Harry Carothers Wiess (1887–1948), one of the founders and one-time president of Humble Oil, now ExxonMobil.
- Will Rice College, named for William M. Rice, Jr., the nephew of the university's founder, William Marsh Rice.
Although each college is composed of a full cross-section of students at Rice, they have over time developed their own traditions and "personalities". When students matriculatethey are randomly assigned to one of the eleven colleges, although "legacy" exceptions are made for students whose siblings or other close relatives have attended Rice. Students generally remain members of the college that they are assigned to for the duration of their undergraduate careers, even if they move off-campus at any point. Students are guaranteed on-campus housing for freshman year and two of the next three years; each college has its own system for determining allocation of the remaining spaces, collectively known as "Room Jacking". Students develop strong loyalties to their college and maintain friendly rivalry with other colleges, especially during events such as Beer Bike Race and O-Week. Colleges keep their rivalries alive by performing "jacks," or pranks, on each other, especially during O-Week and Willy Week. During Matriculation, Commencement, and other formal academic ceremonies, the colleges process in the order in which they were established.
The Baker 13 is a tradition in which students run around campus wearing nothing but shoes and shaving cream at 10 p.m. on the 13th and the 31st of every month (the 26th on months with fewer than 31 days). The event, long sponsored by Baker College, usually attracts a small number of students, but Halloween night and the first and last relevant days of the school year both attract large numbers of revelers.
Beer Bike Race
According to the official website: "Beer Bike is a combination intramural bicycle race and drinking competition dating back to 1957. Ten riders and ten chuggers make up a team. Elaborate rules include details such as a prohibition of "bulky or wet clothing articles designed to absorb beer/water or prevent spilled beer/water from being seen" and regulations for chug can design. Each residential college as well as the Graduate Student Association participates with a men's team, a women's team, and alumni (co-ed) team. Each leg of the race is a relay in which a team's "chugger" must chug 24 US fluid ounces (710 ml) of beer or water for the men's division and 12 US fluid ounces (350 ml) for women before the team's "rider" may begin to ride. Participants who both ride and chug are referred to as "Ironmen". Willy Week is a term coined in the 1990s to refer to the week preceding Beer-Bike, a time of general energy and excitement on campus. Jacks (pranks) are especially common during Willy Week; some examples in the past include removing showerheads and encasing the Hanszen guardian." The morning of the Beer Bike race itself begins with what is by some estimations the largest annual water balloon fight in the world. Beer-Bike is Rice's most prominent student event, and for younger alumni it serves as an unofficial reunion weekend on par with Homecoming. The 2009 Beer Bike race was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Bill Wilson, a popular professor and long-time resident associate of Wiess College who died earlier that year.
In the event of inclement weather, Beer Bike becomes a Beer Run. The rules are nearly identical, except that the Bikers must instead run the length of the track. The most recent Beer Run occurred in 2016.
A number of on-campus institutions form an integral part of student life at Rice. Many of these organizations have been operating for several decades.
Rice Coffeehouse finds its beginnings in Hanszen College, where students would serve coffee in the Weenie Loft - a study room in the old section's fourth floor. Later, the coffee house moved to the Hanszen basement to accommodate more student patrons. That coffeehouse became known as Breadsticks and Pomegranates. Due to flooding, an unfortunate effect of 1) its location in the basement and 2) the Houston climate, this coffee house closed. Demand for an on-campus Coffeehouse grew and in 1990, the Rice Coffeehouse was founded.
The Rice Coffeehouse is a not-for-profit student-run organization serving Rice University and the greater Houston community. Over the past few years, it has introduced fair-trade and organic coffee and loose-leaf teas.
Coffeehouse baristas are referred to as K.O.C.'s, or Keepers of the Coffee. Rice Coffeehouse has also adopted an unofficial mascot, the squirrel, which can be found on T-shirts, mugs, and bumper stickers stuck on laptops across campus. The logo pays tribute to Rice's unusually plump and frighteningly tame squirrel population.
Valhalla is a non-profit graduate student pub located under Keck Hall which serves as the social nexus for graduate student life at Rice, and the pub is primarily staffed and managed by volunteer Rice graduate students. The pub's patrons have expanded beyond graduate students and other members of the local community in recent years, and the pub has become a regular on the annual "Best of Houston" published by the Houston Press, being named the "Best Place to Meet Single Women" in 2004.
Willy's Pub is Rice's undergraduate pub run by students located in the basement of the Rice Memorial Center. It opened on April 11, 1975, with Rice President Norman Hackerman pouring the first beer. The name was chosen by students in tribute to the university's founder, William Marsh Rice. After the drinking age in Texas was raised in 1986, the pub entered a period of financial difficulties and in April 1995, was destroyed in a fire. The space was gutted but renovated and remains open.
Rice Bikes is Rice's newest student-run business. They function as a full-service on-campus bicycle store, rental shop, and repair shop. It originated in the basement of Sid Richardson College in February 2011. In spring 2012, it officially became the third student-run business. A group of students in a sociology class at Rice started a bicycle rental business, and in fall 2013 it and Rice Bikes merged. It is now located in the Rice Memorial Center.
Rice Bikes sells refurbished bicycles bought from students and functions as a full bicycle repair shop.
Rice has a weekly student newspaper (The Rice Thresher), college radio station (KTRU Rice Radio), and campus-wide student television station (RTV5). All three are based out of the RMC student center. In addition, Rice hosts several student magazines dedicated to a range of different topics; in fact, the spring semester of 2008 saw the birth of two such magazines, a literary sex journal called Open and an undergraduate science research magazine entitled Catalyst.
The Rice Thresher is published every Wednesday and is ranked by Princeton Review as one of the top campus newspapers nationally for student readership. It is distributed around campus, and at a few other local businesses and has a website. The Thresher has a small, dedicated staff and is known for its coverage of campus news, open submission opinion page, and the satirical Backpage, which has often been the center of controversy. The newspaper has won several awards at Associated Collegiate Press conferences.
KTRU Rice Radio is the student-run radio station. Though most DJs are Rice students, anyone is allowed to apply. It is known for playing genres and artists of music and sound unavailable on other radio stations in Houston, and often, the US. The station takes requests over the phone or online. In 2000 and 2006, KTRU won Houston Press' Best Radio Station in Houston. In 2003, Rice alum and active KTRU DJ DL's hip-hip show won Houston Press' Best Hip-hop Radio Show. On August 17, 2010, it was announced that Rice University had been in negotiations to sell the station's broadcast tower, FM frequency and license to the University of Houston System to become a full-time classical music and fine arts programming station. The new station, KUHA, would be operated as a not-for-profit outlet with listener supporters. The FCC approved the sale and granted the transfer of license to the University of Houston System on April 15, 2011, however, KUHA proved to be an even larger failure and so after four and a half years of operation, The University of Houston System announced that KUHA's broadcast tower, FM frequency and license were once again up for sale in August 2015. KTRU continued to operate much as it did previously, streaming live on the Internet, via apps, and on HD2 radio using the 90.1 signal. Under student leadership, KTRU explored the possibility of returning to FM radio for a number of years. In spring 2015, KTRU was granted permission by the FCC to begin development of a new broadcast signal via LPFM radio. On October 1, 2015, KTRU made its official return to FM radio on the 96.1 signal. While broadcasting on HD2 radio has been discontinued, KTRU continues to broadcast via internet in addition to its LPFM signal.
RTV5 is a student-run television network available as channel 5 on campus. RTV5 was created initially as Rice Broadcast Television in 1997; RBT began to broadcast the following year in 1998, and aired its first live show across campus in 1999. It experienced much growth and exposure over the years with successful programs like "Drinking with Phil," a weekly news show, and extensive live coverage in December 2000 of the shut down of KTRU by the administration. In spring 2001, the Rice undergraduate community voted in the general elections to support RBT as a blanket tax organization, effectively providing a yearly income of $10,000 to purchase new equipment and provide the campus with a variety of new programming. In the spring of 2005, RBT members decided the station needed a new image and a new name: Rice Television 5. The station has recently set about revitalizing its staff roster and campus image; one of RTV5's most popular shows is the 24-hour show, where a camera and couch placed in the RMC stay on air for 24 hours. One such show is held in fall and another in spring, usually during a weekend allocated for visits by prospective students. RTV5 has a video on demand site at rtv5.rice.edu.
The Rice Review, also known as R2, is a yearly student-run literary journal at Rice University that publishes prose, poetry, and creative nonfiction written by undergraduate students, as well as interviews. The journal was founded in 2004 by creative writing professor and author Justin Cronin.
The Rice Standard is an independent, student-run variety magazine modeled after such publications as The New Yorker and Harper's. Prior to fall 2009, it was regularly published three times a semester with a wide array of content, running from analyses of current events and philosophical pieces to personal essays, short fiction and poetry. In August 2009, the Standard transitioned to a completely online format with the launch of their redesigned website, ricestandard.org. The first website of its kind on Rice's campus, the Standard now features blog-style content written by and for Rice students. The Rice Standard has around 20 regular contributors, and the site features new content every day (including holidays).
Open, a magazine dedicated to "literary sex content," predictably caused a stir on campus with its initial publication in spring 2008. A mixture of essays, editorials, stories and artistic photography brought Open attention both on campus and in the Houston Chronicle.The third and last annual edition of Open was released in spring of 2010.
Services of Rice University
Ranked No. 2 for "best quality of life" by the Princeton Review, Rice students love the culture and the resources that support them in their day-to-day lives. The rankings are based on students' assessment of food on and off campus, dorm comfort, campus beauty, ease of getting around campus, relationship with the local community, campus safety, the surrounding area, interaction between students, friendliness and happiness of the student body, and smoothness with which the school is administered. Rice has consistently ranked in the top 10 of this category over the past several years.
Due to the commitment Rice has to support each of its students, you'll never lack resources at Rice. Student services provide everything from academic advising to personal counseling. So whatever your needs are, Rice is equipped.
- Academic Advising
- Center for Career Development
- Center for Civic Leadership
Student Life Programs
- Campus Store
- International Services (OISS)
- Multicultural Affairs
- Orientation Week
- Student Activities
- Student Center
- Student Media
- Transportation (bus services)
- College Assistance Peer Program (CAPP)
- Counseling Center (RCC)
- Disability Support Services
- Rice Women's Resource Center
- Student Health Insurance
- Student Health Services
- Wellness Center
Comprehensive Research University
Rice is a leading research institution that fosters diversity and an intellectual environment that produces the next generation of leaders and advances tomorrow’s thinking.
Access to Faculty
Outside the classroom, you'll have the opportunity to interact with faculty members through experiential learning and hands-on research.
More than just a residential hall, your college will be the place you dine, study, socialize and develop lifelong friendships. Whether you choose to live on or off campus, you will be affiliated with your college throughout your time at Rice.
As an integral part of the university's mission, we seek a broadly diverse student body where educational diversity increases the intellectual vitality of education, scholarship, service and communal life at Rice
Houston is an international city, with an energetic and diverse culture. From attending premier performing arts events to eating at outstanding restaurants to shopping at trendy stores, you'll find plenty to do and see.
NCAA Division I Sports
Rice athletes are at the top of their game, both in the classroom and on the field. Rice supports 14 teams — 7 each for men and women — that compete in the most competitive division of intercollegiate sports
A Rice education will take you places. Just take a look at some of our alumni who developed their passions at Rice, and have made an indelible mark on the world.