William Marsh Rice University, commonly referred to as Rice University or Rice, is a private research university located on a 295-acre campus in Houston, Texas, United States.
The history of Rice University began with the untimely demise of Massachusetts businessman William Marsh Rice. Rice made his fortune in real estate, railroad development and cotton trading in the state of Texas. In 1891, Rice decided to charter a free-tuition educational institute in Houston, bearing his name, to be created upon his death, earmarking most of his estate towards funding the project. Rice's will specified the institution was to be a "a competitive institution of the highest grade" and that only white students would be permitted to attend.On the morning of September 23, 1900, Rice was found dead by his valet, and presumed to have died in his sleep. Shortly thereafter, a suspiciously large check made out to Rice's New York City lawyer, signed by the late Rice, was noticed by a bank teller due to a misspelling in the recipient's name. The lawyer, Albert T. Patrick, then announced that Rice had changed his will to leave the bulk of his fortune to Patrick, rather than to the creation of Rice's educational institute. A subsequent investigation led by the District Attorney of New York resulted in the arrests of Patrick and of Rice's butler and valet Charles F. Jones, who had been persuaded to administer chloroform to Rice while he slept. Rice's friend and personal lawyer in Houston, James A. Baker, Sr., aided in the discovery of what turned out to be a fake will with a forged signature. Jones was not prosecuted since he cooperated with the district attorney, and testified against Patrick. Patrick was found guilty of conspiring to steal Rice's fortune and convicted of murder in 1901, although he was pardoned in 1912 due to conflicting medical testimonyBaker helped Rice's estate direct the fortune, worth $4.6 million in 1904 ($121 million today), towards the founding of what was to be called the Rice Institute. The Board took control of the assets on April 29 of that year. In 1907, the Board of Trustees selected the head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Princeton University, Edgar Odell Lovett, to head the Institute, which was still in the planning stages. He came recommended by Princeton's president, Woodrow Wilson. In 1908, Lovett accepted the challenge, and was formally inaugurated as the Institute's first president on October 12, 1912. Lovett undertook extensive research before formalizing plans for the new Institute, including visits to 78 institutions of higher learning across the world on a long tour between 1908 and 1909. Lovett was impressed by such things as the aesthetic beauty of the uniformity of the architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, a theme which was adopted by the Institute, as well as the residential college system at Cambridge University in England, which was added to the Institute several decades later. Lovett called for the establishment of a university "of the highest grade," "an institution of liberal and technical learning" devoted "quite as much to 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."
As a leading research university with a distinctive commitment to undergraduate education, Rice University aspires to pathbreaking research, unsurpassed teaching, and contributions to the betterment of our world. It seeks to fulfill this mission by cultivating a diverse community of learning and discovery that produces leaders across the spectrum of human endeavor.
As of 2011, Rice has graduated 98 classes of students consisting of 51,961 living alumni. Over 100 students at Rice have been Fulbright Scholars, 20 Marshall Scholars, 25 Mellon Fellows, 12 Rhodes Scholars, 6 Udall Scholars, and 65 Watson Fellows, among several other honors and awards. Rice's distinguished faculty consists of 1 Nobel laureate, 2 Pulitzer Prize award winners, 6 Fulbright Scholars, 29 Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Recipients, 8 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1 member of the American Philosophical Society, 35 Guggenheim Fellowships, 17 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 7 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 fellows of the National Humanities Center, and 86 fellows of the National Science Foundation. Alumni of Rice have occupied top positions in business, including George R. Brown; Thomas H. Cruikshank, the former CEO of Halliburton; John Doerr, billionaire and venture capitalist who provided original investments in Google, Amazon.com, Compaq, Netscape, Coursera, and Sun Microsystems; Howard Hughes; and Fred C. Koch. In government and politics, Rice alumni include Alberto Gonzales, former Attorney General; Charles Duncan, former Secretary of Energy; William P. Hobby, Jr.; John Kline; George P. Bush; and Annise Parker, incumbent Mayor of Houston. Many Rice alumni have gone on to successful careers in the humanities such as Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Oscar-winning writer of the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain; and Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City, who attended for three semestersNotable entrepreneurs who graduated from Rice include Tim and Karrie League, founders of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Drafthouse Films; and Brock Wagner and Kevin Bartol, founders of Saint Arnold Brewing Company. In science and technology, Rice alumni include 14 NASA astronauts; Robert Curl, Nobel Prize-winning discoverer of fullerene; and Robert Woodrow Wilson, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation. NASA former Apollo 11 and 13 warning systems engineer and motivational speaker Jerry Woodfill attended Rice on an athletic scholarship as well.Rice athletes include Lance Berkman, Bubba Crosby, Harold Solomon, Frank Ryan, Tommy Kramer, Jose Cruz, Jr., O.J. Brigance, Tony Cingrani, as well as three Olympians.
Urban, 295 acres