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William Marsh Rice University
The academic seal of Rice University. A shield divided by a chevron, carrying three owls as charges, with scrollwork saying "LETTERS", "SCIENCE", "ART".
Motto Letters, Science, Art
Established 1891 (opened 1912)
Type Private
Endowment $3.6 billion[1] (2009)
Chairman James W. Crownover
President David Leebron
Provost Eugene Levy
Faculty 611 full time, 396 part time/adjunct[2]
Staff 1,964[3]
Undergraduates 3,237[4] (fall 2009)
Postgraduates 2,277[4] (fall 2009)
Doctoral students 1,285[4]
Location Houston, Texas, US
Campus Urban, 300 acres (1.2 km2)[5][6]
Former names The William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science and Art
Colors Rice Blue & Rice Grey
         [7]
Nickname Owls
Mascot Sammy the Owl
Athletics NCAA Division I Conference USA
Affiliations SACS, AAU
Website www.rice.edu
Blue shield with grey chevron and charged with three owls

William Marsh Rice University (commonly known as Rice University and opened in 1912 as The William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science and Art) is a private coeducational research university located in Houston, Texas, United States. Its campus is located near the Houston Museum District and adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.

The student body consists of over 3,000 undergraduate, 897 post-graduate, and 1,247 doctoral students, and awarded 1,448 degrees in 2007.[4] The university employs 611 full-time faculty and 396 part-time or adjunct faculty members in 2007.[2] Rice has a very high level of research activity and had $77.2 million in sponsored research funding in 2007.[8] Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of nanotechnology,[9] artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, and space science. Rice was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1985.[10] The university is organized into eight schools offering 40 undergraduate degree programs,[11] 51 masters programs, and 29 doctoral programs.[12][13]

Rice opened in 1912 as a coeducational institution with free tuition. The university was founded several years after the murder of its namesake, the prominent Houston businessman William Marsh Rice, who left a $4.6 million ($111 million in current dollars) funding endowment in his will. It is listed as one of thirty Hidden Ivies and as one of Newsweek's "New Ivies". Rice University is currently ranked 17th in the United States according to the 2010 US News and World Report.[14][15]

Contents

History

Background

William Marsh Rice's estate funded the establishment of the Rice Institute

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. 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. It took nearly ten years for Jones and Patrick to be found guilty of conspiring to steal Rice's fortune. Patrick was convicted of murder in 1901. Baker helped Rice's estate direct the fortune, worth $4.6 million in 1904 ($111 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 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."

Establishment and growth

Lovett Hall, formerly known as the Administration Building, was the first construction on campus

In 1911, the cornerstone was laid for the Institute's first building, the Administration Building, now known as Lovett Hall in honor of the founding president. On September 23, 1912, the anniversary of William Marsh Rice's murder, the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science, and Art began course work. 48 male and 29 female students were enrolled, paying no tuition, with classes taught by a dozen faculty. Rice was unusual for the time in that it had coeducational admissions. Three weeks after opening, a spectacular international academic festival was held in celebration, bringing Rice to the attention of the entire academic world. Four years later, at the first commencement ceremony, 35 bachelor's degrees and one master's degree were awarded. That year, the student body voted to adopt the Honor System, which still exists today. The first doctorate was conferred in 1918.

The Founder's Memorial Statue, a bronze statue of a seated William Marsh Rice, holding the original plans for the campus, was dedicated in 1930, and installed in the central academic quad, facing Lovett Hall. The residential college system proposed by President Lovett was adopted in 1958, with the East Hall residence becoming Baker College, South Hall residence becoming Will Rice College, West Hall becoming Hanszen College, and the temporary Wiess Hall becoming Wiess College.

John F. Kennedy speaking at Rice Stadium in 1962

In 1959, the Rice Institute Computer went online. 1960 saw Rice Institute formally renamed William Marsh Rice University. Rice acted as a temporary intermediary in the transfer of land between Humble Oil and Refining Company and NASA,[16] for the creation of NASA's Manned Space Flight Center (now called Johnson Space Center) in 1962. President John F. Kennedy then made a speech[17] at Rice Stadium announcing that the United States intended to reach the moon before the end of the decade of the 1960s, and "to become the world's leading space-faring nation." The relationship of NASA with Rice University and the city of Houston has remained strong to the present day.

The original charter of Rice Institute dictated that the university admit and educate, tuition-free, "the white inhabitants of Houston, and the state of Texas." In 1963, the governing board of Rice University filed a lawsuit to allow the university to modify its charter to admit students of all races and to charge tuition. They had explicitly not admitted minorities in the past. Rice won its case, and charged tuition for the first time in 1965. In the same year, Rice launched a $33 million ($228 million) development campaign. $43 million ($241 million) was raised by its conclusion in 1970. In 1974, two new schools were founded at Rice, the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and the Shepherd School of Music. The Brown Foundation Challenge, a fund-raising program designed to encourage annual gifts, launched in 1976, ending in 1996 having raised $185 million ($257 million). The Rice School of Social Sciences was founded in 1979.

On-campus housing was exclusively for men for the first forty years. Jones College was the first women's residence on the Rice campus, followed by Brown College. According to legend, the women's colleges were purposefully situated at the opposite end of campus from the existing men's colleges as a way of preserving campus propriety, which was greatly valued by Edgar Odell Lovett, who did not even allow benches to be installed on campus, fearing that they "might lead to co-fraternization of the sexes".[18] The path linking the north colleges to the center of campus was given the tongue-in-cheek name of "Virgin's Walk." Individual colleges became coeducation between 1973 and 1987, with the single-sex floors of colleges that had them becoming co-ed in 2006. By then, several new residential colleges had been built on campus to handle the university's growth, including Lovett College, Sid Richardson College, and Martel College.

Recent history

George H.W. Bush meeting Vladimir Putin at Rice in 2001

The Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations was held at Rice in 1990. In 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy was created. In 1997, the Edyth Bates Old Grand Organ and Recital Hall and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, renamed in 2005 for the late Nobel Prize winner and Rice professor Richard E. Smalley, were dedicated at Rice. In 1999, the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology was created. The Rice Owls baseball team was ranked #1 in the nation for the first time in that year (1999), holding the top spot for eight weeks.

In 2003, the Owls won their first national championship in baseball, which was the first for the university in any team sport, beating Southwest Missouri State in the opening game and then the University of Texas and Stanford University twice each en route to the title. In 2008, President David Leebron issued a ten point plan titled "Vision for the Second Century" outlining plans to increase research funding, strengthen existing programs, and increase collaboration.[19] The plan has brought about another wave of campus constructions, including the erection the newly renamed Bioscience Research Collaborative[20] building (intended to foster collaboration with the adjacent Texas Medical Center), a new recreational center and renovated basketball stadium, and the addition of two new residential colleges, Duncan College and McMurtry College.

Beginning in late 2008, the university considered a merger with Baylor College of Medicine, though the merger was ultimately rejected in 2010.[21] Select Rice undergraduates are currently guaranteed admission to BCM upon graduation as part of the Rice-Baylor program. According to History Professor John Boles' recent book University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute, the first president's original vision for the university included hopes for future medical and law schools.

Campus

Herzstein Hall, in the Academic Quad
A view along the inner loop, with three of Rice's many golf carts in view

Rice's campus is a heavily-wooded 285-acre (1.15 km2) tract of land located close to the city of West University Place, in the museum district of Houston.

Five streets demarcate the campus: Greenbriar Street, Rice Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Main Street, and University Boulevard. For most of its history, all of Rice's buildings have been contained within this "outer loop". In recent years, new facilities have been built close to campus, but the bulk of administrative, academic, and residential buildings are still located within the original pentagonal plot of land. The new Collaborative Research Center, all graduate student housing, and the Wiess President's House are located off-campus.

Rice prides itself on the amount of green space available on campus; there are only about 50 buildings spread between the main entrance at its easternmost corner, and the parking lots and Rice Stadium at the West end. The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, consisting of more than 4000 trees and shrubs (giving birth to the legend that Rice has a tree for every student), is spread throughout the campus.

The university's first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, intended for the campus to have a uniform architecture style to improve its aesthetic appeal. To that end, nearly every building on campus is noticeably Byzantine in style, with sand and pink-colored bricks, large archways and columns being a common theme among many campus buildings. Noteworthy exceptions include the glass-walled Brochstein Pavilion, Lovett College with its Brutalist-style concrete gratings, and the eclectic-Mediterranean Duncan Hall.

Lovett Hall, named for Rice’s visionary first president, is the university’s most iconic campus building. Through its Sallyport arch, new students symbolically enter the university during matriculation and depart as graduates at commencement. Duncan Hall, Rice’s computational engineering building, was designed to encourage collaboration between the four different departments situated there. The building’s colorful Martel Foyer, drawn from many world cultures, was designed by the architect to symbolically express this collaborative purpose.

The campus is organized in a number of quadrangles. The Academic Quad, anchored by a statue of founder William Marsh Rice, includes Ralph Adams Cram's masterpiece, the asymmetrical Lovett Hall, the original administrative building; Fondren Library; Herzstein Hall, the physics building and home to the largest amphitheater on campus; Sewall Hall for the social sciences and arts; Rayzor Hall for the languages; and Anderson Hall of the Architecture department. The Humanities Building, winner of several architectural awards, is immediately adjacent to the main quad. Further west lies a quad surrounded by McNair Hall of the Jones Business School, the Baker Institute, and Alice Pratt Brown Hall of the Shepherd School of Music. These two quads are surrounded by the university's main access road, a one-way loop referred to as the "inner loop". In the Engineering Quad, a trinity of sculptures by Michael Heizer, collectively entitled 45 Degrees, 90 Degrees, 180 Degrees, are flanked by Abercrombie Laboratory, the Cox Building, and the Mechanical Laboratory, housing the Electrical, Mechanical, and Earth Science/Civil Engineering departments, respectively. Duncan Hall is the latest addition to this quad, providing new offices for the Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Statistics departments.

A stone bench in the academic quad

Roughly three-quarters of Rice's undergraduate population lives on campus. Housing is divided among eleven residential colleges, which form an integral part of student life at the University (see Residential colleges of Rice University.) The colleges are named for university historical figures and benefactors, and while there is wide variation in their appearance, facilities, and dates of founding, are an important source of identity for Rice students, functioning as dining halls, residence halls, sports teams, among other roles. Rice does not have or endorse a greek system, with the residential college system taking its place. Five colleges, McMurtry, Duncan, Martel, Jones, and Brown are located on the north side of campus, across from the "South Colleges", Baker, Will Rice, Lovett, Hanszen, Sid Richardson, and Wiess, on the other side of the Academic Quadrangle. Of the eleven colleges, Baker is the oldest, originally built in 1912, and the twin Duncan and McMurtry colleges are the newest, and are now open for the first time for the 2009-10 school year. Will Rice, Baker, and Lovett colleges are undergoing renovation to expand their dining facilities as well as the number of rooms available for students.

An overhead view of Rice Stadium, where the Owls play their home football games

The on-campus football facility, Rice Stadium, opened in 1950 with a capacity of 70,000 seats. After improvements in 2006, the stadium is currently configured to seat 47,000 for football but can readily be reconfigured to its original capacity of 70,000, more than the total number of Rice alumni, living and deceased.[22] The stadium was the site of Super Bowl VIII and a speech by John F. Kennedy on September 12, 1962 in which he challenged the nation to send a man to the moon by the end of the decade.[23] The recently renovated Tudor Fieldhouse, formerly known as Autry Court, is home to the basketball and volleyball teams. Other stadia include the Rice Track/Soccer Stadium and the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium. A new Rec Center is being built on campus, which will house the intramural sports offices and provide an outdoor pool, training and exercise facilities for all Rice students, while athletics training will solely be held at Tudor Fieldhouse and the Rice Football Stadium.

The university and Houston Independent School District jointly established The Rice School, a kindergarten through 8th grade public magnet school in Houston.[24] The school opened in August 1994. Through Cy-Fair ISD Rice University offers a credit course based summer school for grades 8 through 12. They also have skills based classes during the summer in the Rice Summer School.

Organization

Duncan Hall, home of the Computer Science and Statistics departments

Rice University is chartered as a non-profit organization and is owned and governed by a privately-appointed board of trustees. The board consists of a maximum of 25 voting members who serve four year terms and is currently chaired by James W. Crownover.[25] The trustees serve without compensation and a simple majority of trustees must reside in Texas, including at least 4 within the greater Houston area.[26] The board of trustees delegates its power by appointing a President to serve as the chief executive of the university. David W. Leebron was appointed President in 2004 and succeeded Malcom Gillis who served since 1993. The provost, six vice presidents, and other university officials report to the President. The President is advised by a University Council composed of the Provost, eight members of the Faculty Council, two staff members, one graduate student, and two undergraduate students. The President presides over a Faculty Council which has the authority to alter curricular requirements, establish new degree programs, and approve candidates for degrees.[26] Rice University possesses an endowment of $4.7 billion (as of 2007).

Rice's undergraduate students benefit from a centralized admissions process, which admits new students to the university as a whole, rather than a specific school (the schools of Music and Architecture are decentralized). Students are encouraged to select the major path that best suits their desires; a student can later decide that they would rather pursue study in another field, or continue their current coursework and add a second or third major. These transitions are designed to be simple at Rice, with students not required to decide on a specific major until their sophomore year of study.

Rice's academics are organized into six schools which offer courses of study at the graduate and undergraduate level, with two more being primarily focused on graduate education, while offering select opportunities for undergraduate students. Rice offers 360 degrees in over 60 departments. There are 40 undergraduate degree programs, 51 masters programs, and 29 doctoral programs.[11][12] Undergraduate tuition for the 2008-2009 school year was $29,960.[4]

Undergraduate and Graduate Schools

Graduate Schools

Faculty members of each of the departments elect chairs to represent the department to each School's dean and the deans report to the Provost who serves as the chief officer for academic affairs.[26]

Academics

Rice is a medium-sized, highly residential research university.[27] The majority of enrollments are in the full-time, four-year undergraduate program emphasizing arts & sciences and professions. There is a high graduate coexistence with the comprehensive graduate program and a very high level of research activity.[27] It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as well as the professional accreditation agencies for engineering, management, and architecture.[28]

Each of Rice's departments is organized into one of three distribution groups, and students whose major lies within the scope of one group must take at least 12 credit hours of approved distribution classes in each of the other two groups, as well as completing two physical education courses as part of the LPAP (Lifetime Physical Activity Program) requirement. For students who do not pass the university's writing test (administered during the summer before matriculation), a writing class, COMM 103, becomes a requirement.

The majority of Rice's undergraduate degree programs grant B.S. or B.A. degrees. Rice has recently begun to offer minors in areas such as business,[29] energy and water sustainability,[30] and global health.[31]

Student body

Demographics of Rice University student body[4]
Undergraduate Post-graduate U.S. Census[32]
African American 6.8% 5.5% 12.1%
Asian American 19.2% 12.6% 4.3%
White American 51.7% 66.6% 65.8%
Hispanic American 12.1% 8.7% 14.5%
Native American 0.5% 0.5% 0.9%
International student 5.1% 4.7% (N/A)

Rice enrolled 3,001 undergraduates, 897 post-graduate, and 1,247 doctoral students and awarded 1,448 degrees in 2007.[4] Women make up 48% of the undergraduate body and 35% of the professional and post-graduate student body. 51% of undergraduates and 49% of post-graduates hail from Texas but the student body also represented all 50 states, the District of Columbia, two U.S. Territories, and 83 foreign countries.[4]

11,172 applications for undergraduate admission were received for the class of 2013 (Fall 2009), 2,487 were admitted (22%), and 894 enrolled (37%).[4] In the class of 2013, 72% of ranked freshmen graduated in the top 5% of their high school class, and the inter-quartile range for SAT was 640-750 for reading, 670-780 for math, and 640-730 for writing.[4] 97% of freshmen re-enrolled the subsequent year and 77% of students graduate in 4 years and 90% graduate in 6 years.[33]

With an estimated total expenses of $45,638 for the 2009-2010 school year, Rice awarded $34.1 million in financial aid for 2007-2008 and 2,139 (71.2%) of undergraduates received some sort of aid.[4]

Honor code

The Rice honor code plays a central role in academic affairs. Nearly all Rice exams are unproctored and professors give timed, closed-book exams that students take home and complete at their own convenience. Potential infractions are reported to the student Honor Council, elected by popular vote. The penalty structure is established every year by Council consensus; typically, penalties have ranged from a letter of reprimand to an 'F' in the course and a two semester suspension.[34] During the Orientation Week, students must take and pass a test demonstrating that they understand the Honor Code's requirements. After that time, students affirm their commitment by writing On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unauthorized aid on this assignment.[35]

Rankings

University rankings (overall)

ARWU World[36] 99
ARWU North & Latin America[37] 58
Forbes[38] 43
Times Higher Education[39] 100
USNWR National University[40] 17
WM National University[41] 57

Rice's undergraduate program was ranked 17th among "National Universities" by U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) in its 2009 edition and 41st nationally by Forbes Magazine in 2008.[42][43] USNWR also ranked the Jones Graduate School of Management 40th and the Brown School of Engineering 35th.[44][45] The Princeton Review ranked Rice 1st for "Best Quality of Life", 2nd for "Lots of Race/Class Interaction", 15th for "Happiest Students", and 4th for "Best Value" in its 2009 edition.[46] Rice was ranked 26th among national universities by The Washington Monthly in 2006,[47] 78th internationally by The Times Higher Education Supplement in 2008,[48] 97th internationally (54th nationally) by the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2008,[49] 41st among research universities by the Center for Measuring University Performance in 2007.[50]

Research centers and resources

Rice is noted for its pioneer applied science programs in the fields of nanotechnology,[9] artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, and space science.

  • Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (SINST)[51] - the nation's first nanotechnology center
  • Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN)[52] - promotes the discovery and development of nanomaterials that enable new medical and environmental technologies
  • Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP)[53] - provides a resource for education and research breakthroughs and advances in the broad, multidisciplinary field of nanophotonics
  • Rice Quantum Institute[54] - organization dedicated to research and higher education in areas relating to quantum phenomena
  • Rice Space Institute[55] - fosters programs in all areas of space research
  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB)[56] - facilitates the translation of interdisciplinary research and education in biosciences and bioengineering
  • Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology[57] - dedicated to the advancement of applied interdisciplinary research in the areas of computation and information technology
  • Baker Institute for Public Policy[58] - one of the leading nonpartisan public policy think-tanks in the country
  • Connexions - an open-content library of course materials developed by Rice University
  • Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship - supports entrepreneurs and early-stage technology ventures in Houston and Texas through education, collaboration, and research
  • Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE)
  • Rice Gallery[59] - the only university art space in the country dedicated to site-specific installation

Student life

Situated on nearly 300 acres 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 the 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 that need that currently don't utilize a vehicle.[60]

Residential colleges

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 Cambridge and Oxford in England. The existing residences known as East, South, West, and Wiess Halls became Baker, Will Rice, Hanszen, and Wiess Colleges, respectively.

There are currently eleven residential colleges, with six (Baker, Hanszen, Lovett, Sid Richardson, Wiess, and Will Rice) on the south side of campus and five (Brown, Jones, Martel, Duncan, and McMurtry) on the north.[61] The latter two north colleges will be housing students for the first time during the 2009-2010 school year. 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 matriculate they 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 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.

Traditions

Baker 13

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 26th or 31st of every month. The event, long sponsored by Baker College, usually attracts a small number of students, but on both Halloween night and the last relevant day of the school year both attract large numbers of revelers.[62]

Beer Bike

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 ounces of beer or water for the men's division and 12 ounces for women before the team's "rider" may begin to ride.[63] 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 who died early that year.

Campus institutions

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

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 Bread 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.[64] 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

Valhalla is a non-profit graduate student pub located under Keck Hall which serves as the social nexus for graduate student life at Rice.[65] It provides the graduate student community and the Rice community as a whole with a family-friendly place to unwind and relax after a long work day,[66] and a comfortable place for graduate students to relax and relate on the woes of graduate research. Additionally, Valhalla plays a pivotal role in many campus traditions including the Baker 13 and Beer Bike.

It was founded in 1970, but did not get an alcohol license until 1971. The management and all shifts are staffed by graduate students, faculty, staff, and other volunteers, which helps keep prices affordable for the target graduate student clientele. 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 due to the frequency of intelligent conversation and smart, single women.[67]

Willy's Pub

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.[68][69]

Student-run media

Rice has a weekly student-run newspaper (The Rice Thresher), radio station (KTRU-FM), and campus-wide television network (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[70] is published every Friday 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 on the College Publisher network. 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 (pronounced "kay-true") is the student-run, 50,000 watt radio station. Though most DJs are 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.[71][72] In 2003, Rice alum and active KTRU DJ DL's hip-hip show won Houston Press' Best Hip-hop Radio Show.[73]

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 need 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.[74]

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.[75]

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 brand-new 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.[76] The third annual edition of Open is expected in spring 2010.

Published from 1983 until the mid-2000s, The University Blue, also known as UBlue, was Rice's student run literary arts magazine. It previously released an issue every spring, containing original, creative work produced by all members of the Rice Community. This includes students as well as faculty, staff, associates and alumni. It is funded by a blanket tax of the student body.[77] However, as of spring 2009 UBlue has not been published in three years, leading to some confusion among current students as to whether it exists.

Athletics

Rice Stadium during an Owls game

Rice participates in NCAA Division I athletics and is part of Conference USA. Rice was a member of the Western Athletic Conference before joining Conference USA in 2005. Rice is the second-smallest school, measured by undergraduate enrollment, competing in NCAA Division I FBS football, only slightly ahead of Tulsa.

The Rice baseball team won the 2003 College World Series, defeating Stanford and is Rice's only national championship in a team sport. The victory made Rice University the smallest school in 51 years to win a national championship at the highest collegiate level of the sport. The Rice baseball team has played on campus at Reckling Park since the 2000 season. As of 2008, the baseball team has won 12 consecutive conference championships in three different conferences: the final championship of the defunct Southwest Conference, all nine championships while a member of the Western Athletic Conference, and three more championships in its first three years as a member of Conference USA. More recently, Rice's baseball team has finished third in both the 2006 and 2007 College World Series tournaments. Rice now has made six appearances to Omaha for the CWS. In 2004, Rice became the first school ever to have three players selected in the first eight picks of the MLB draft when Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann and Wade Townsend were selected third, fourth, and eighth, respectively. In 2007, Joe Savery was selected as the 19th overall pick.

The Owls in a game against the Texas Longhorns

In 2006, the football team qualified for its first bowl game since 1961, ending the second-longest bowl drought in the country at the time. On December 22, 2006, Rice played in the New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana, against the Sun Belt Conference champion, Troy. The Owls lost 41-17. The bowl appearance came after Rice had a 14-game losing streak from 2004-05 and went 1-10 in 2005. The streak followed an internally authorized 2003 McKinsey report that stated football, alone, was responsible for a $4 million deficit in 2002. Tensions remain high between the athletic department and faculty, as a few professors who chose to voice their opinion were in favor of abandoning the football program. Hired in January 2006, new head coach Todd Graham sparked the "Rice Renaissance," the revival of the Owl football program. David Bailiff replaced Graham and inherits a team poised to continue the success enjoyed in 2006. Sophomore wide receiver Jarett Dillard set an NCAA record in 2006 by catching a touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games and takes a 15-game overall streak into the 2007 season. Rice Stadium also serves as the performance venue for the university's Marching Owl Band, or "MOB." Despite its name, the MOB is a scatter band which focuses on performing humorous skits and routines rather than traditional formation marching.

In 2008, the football team posted a 9-3 regular season, capping off the year with a 38-14 victory over Western Michigan University in the Texas Bowl. The win over Western Michigan marked the Owls' first bowl win in 45 years.

Rice Owls men's basketball won 10 conference titles in the former Southwest Conference (1918, 1935*, 1940, 1942*, 1943*, 1944*, 1945, 1949*, 1954*, 1970; * denotes shared title). Most recently, guard Morris Almond was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Rice recently named former Cal Bears head coach Ben Braun as head basketball coach to succeed Willis Wilson, fired after Rice finished the 2007-2008 season with a winless (0-16) conference record and overall record of 3-27.

Rice has been very successful in women's sports in recent years. In 2004-05, Rice sent its women's volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams to their respective NCAA tournaments. In 2005-06, the women's soccer, basketball, and tennis teams advanced, with five individuals competing in track and field. In 2006-07, the Rice women's basketball team made the NCAA tournament, while again five Rice track and field athletes received individual NCAA berths. In 2008, the women's volleyball team again made the NCAA tournament.

Rice's mascot is Sammy the Owl. In previous decades, the university kept several live owls on campus in front of Lovett College, but this policy has been discontinued.

Rice also has a 12-member coed cheerleading squad and an all-female dance team, both of which perform at football and basketball games throughout the year.

Alumni, faculty and presidents


References

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External links








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