Overview of the Celebration
Our celebration of Rice's first 100 years draws inspiration from the Formal Opening of the Rice Institute, the grand commemoration of the University's 50th year, its long and storied relationship with the City of Houston, and the promise of Rice's continued advancement in its second century.
1908: Edgar Odell Lovett's visionary journey
Just over a century ago, Rice Institute's newly appointed founding president, Edgar Odell Lovett, embarked on a search for a vision: For nearly nine months in 1908 and 1909, he inspected leading academic institutions across Europe and Asia in search of the educational and architectural ideas that would become the Rice Institute.
He interviewed educators, recruited faculty, toured university facilities and piqued global curiosity about the new world-class, doctorate-granting university that would soon open in Texas. As Rice nears its Centennial Celebration, we commemorate Lovett's trip and the grand vision on which our beloved university was founded.
1912: Rice Institute opening ceremonies
Over 1400 scholars and academic leaders from around the world joined Lovett for the opening ceremonies of the Rice Institute. Events included receptions, musical performances by the Kneisel Quartet, and a series of Inaugural Lectures by 12 international speakers.
On October 12, 1912, following a grand academic procession, they gathered on the lawn of what is now Lovett Hall to formally dedicate the new Institute. It was there that Lovett delivered his historic keynote address explaining "The Meaning of the New Institution," which was published in the first Rice Institute Pamphlet.
A chartered train transported the dignitaries to Galveston, where they celebrated with a shore supper and stayed overnight at the newly built Galvez Hotel. They returned to Houston on Sunday morning for a citywide religious celebration.
1962: Semicentennial Celebration
In 1962, along with the Inauguration of Kenneth Pitzer as the University's third President, Rice celebrated its Semicentennial. In a fashion similar to the opening celebrations of 1912, hundreds of scholars and distinguished representatives from universities worldwide visited the campus to hear special speakers, attend lectures, and participate in ceremonies commemorating the university.
Throughout the year, Rice held 13 symposia, the proceedings of which were published in a uniform series by the University of Chicago Press. It was as part of these year-long celebrations that President John F. Kennedy delivered his historic space exploration address at the Rice Stadium, promising that the United States would send a man to the moon by the end of the decade.
From October 10-12, Rice celebrated its first 50 years with a major academic convocation, which included such notable speakers as Margaret Mead, Allan Nevins, Maurice Ewin, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Jacob Viner, and keynote speaker Arnold Toynbee. These luminaries didn't just stand behind lecterns. Many of the visiting scholars and speakers visited and dined with students in the colleges.
2011: Houston's 175th anniversary
On March 2, 2011 we marked the centennial of laying the cornerstone of Rice's first building, the Administration Building (now Lovett Hall). Our continuing celebration of Rice's centennial also presents an opportunity to highlight Rice's relationship to the City of Houston, which celebrates the 175th anniversary of its founding in 2011. In many ways, the Rice campus is a symbol of Houston's coming of age: Rice has provided the intellectual capital that has fueled Houston's growth and Rice has a long history of contributing to the city's cultural life, while it was Houston in a sense that provided William Marsh Rice's fortune with which he chartered Rice.
2012: Centennial Celebration
2012 will mark the centennial of the Rice Institute's opening and the matriculation of its first class of students. Please save the dates October 10-14, when we will commemorate Rice's first 100 years and celebrate the remarkable journey that has transformed Rice from a bold little institute on the edge of the prairie to a thriving international university on the cutting edge of education and research.
The Centennial Celebration promises to be one of the most vibrant events ever held here. But you need not wait until October 2012 to take part in the festivities: Please visit the calendar of upcoming events and get involved now!