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Rice University Launches $1 Billion Campaign for Its Second Century

November 7, 2008

Rice University today launched its largest fundraising campaign ever — $1 billion — to train more student leaders, boost its research program and expand its community and international outreach during the university’s next century.

“Four years short of a century ago, the founding president of Rice announced that this new educational institution would set no upper limit on our endeavors as a university,” said Rice President David Leebron. “As we approach the century mark and look back with pride on what has been achieved, we continue to embrace that aspiration as we look forward to the next 100 years.”

Rice will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2012. In announcing the Centennial Campaign, Leebron said the initiative will provide resources the university needs to achieve the goals of its Vision for the Second Century (V2C), which include strengthening its research, increasing scholarship resources, expanding its undergraduate enrollment by 30 percent, building stronger connections to its home city of Houston and enhancing its global presence and opportunities.

The campaign goal includes $400 million for undergraduate and graduate education, $310 million for research and $290 million for collaborations with leading institutions in Houston and initiatives around the globe.

Leebron noted the campaign launch comes at a difficult time as the Houston area continues to recover from Hurricane Ike and as people around the world cope with economic volatility. “We cannot ignore these considerable events that have affected the lives of so many in our community,” he said. “But an investment in Rice — in education and research — is for the long term, with lasting dividends in the form of opportunities for our students and the production of new knowledge that helps foster economic growth and improved living standards.

“Our aspiration to raise $1 billion by the end of our centennial year is impressive by any university’s standards, but it is remarkable for an institution of our relatively small size,” Leebron said. “That makes the role of our alumni and friends even more vital.”

Rice raised half of the $1 billion goal during the “quiet phase” of the campaign. Recent gifts include more than $30 million each from alumnus Charles Duncan and his wife, Anne, and alumni Burton and Deedee McMurtry to construct two new residential colleges; $22.5 million from alumni John and Ann Doerr’s private charitable organization, the Benificus Foundation, of which $15 million goes to a new center that will revolutionize the way engineering students are taught; an anonymous eight-figure gift for a new physics building; $12.4 million from the estate of alumni Hugh and Annette Gragg for scholarships and two endowed chairs; an anonymous gift of $10 million for scholarships for middle-income students; and $5 million from alumni Clint and Nancy Carlson to support Rice’s School of Humanities and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management.

The funds raised so far also include contributions for 14 faculty chairs, $51.6 million in endowed scholarships, a doctoral program in art history supported by the Brown Foundation, a doctoral program in sociology supported by Houston Endowment (pending approval by the Rice Faculty Senate), the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Center for Asian Studies, an endowment to support and name the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, two lead gifts for the Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center, several gifts to support collaborative research in the Texas Medical Center, and gifts for the Brochstein Pavilion and the renovation of Autry Court, now known as Tudor Fieldhouse and Youngkin Center.

Major donors of these early gifts were thanked at a celebration event Thursday night on campus. The launch continued today with an “All-Rice” picnic for students, faculty and staff. Entertainment included a performance by the indie rock band The National. Rice’s homecoming follows this weekend, when the Owls face Army in the homecoming game Saturday afternoon.

“It’s phenomenal to have such a surge of early support and already be halfway toward our goal so early in the campaign,” said alumnus and Board of Trustees Chair Jim Crownover. “We’re very grateful to all of the alumni, businesses, foundations and community leaders who made that possible. Their generous support is an obvious endorsement of the Vision for the Second Century and President Leebron’s leadership. And we’re very fortunate to have such capable, committed and enthusiastic alumni as Susie Glasscock and Bobby Tudor serving as co-chairs of this history-making campaign.”

“I truly believe Rice’s future is essential to the future success of the city of Houston,” said Glasscock. “This campaign is about the education of our future leaders, from preschool through postdoctoral work, about collaborative biomedical research with our Texas Medical Center partners and about understanding our community better.”

Tudor said, “It’s all about getting better. The world is changing around us and universities are increasingly competitive. One of the inspirational things about Rice is that aspirations have always been extremely high — starting with Edgar Odell Lovett and Captain James Baker — and they continue to be high.

“We should be working aggressively to make Rice better every day. That’s what the Centennial Campaign is all about — ensuring that 20 years from now, 100 years from now, Rice is that much better,” Tudor said.

The groundwork for the Centennial Campaign was laid in 2005, when Leebron initiated a “Call to Conversation” — a discussion in the Rice community about the university’s strengths and challenges. The result was the V2C, a strategic plan with 10 major objectives intended to take Rice’s education, research and public service mission to even higher levels of quality and impact.

The fundraising campaign will run through the 2012-13 academic year. The billion-dollar goal is double the goal of the “Rice: The Next Century” campaign, which ended in June 2004.

To view a video about Rice’s history and the campaign, visit www.rice.edu/centennialcampaign.

This news release may be found at www.rice.edu/nationalmedia.

Located in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked one of America’s best teaching and research universities. Known for its “unconventional wisdom,” Rice is distinguished by its: size — 3,001 undergraduates and 2,144 graduate students; selectivity — 12 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources — an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 5-to-1; sixth largest endowment per student among American private research universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work.




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