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Chapters

Title Page
1. Preface
2. A Special View
3. A Precarious Beginning
4. Creating A Vision
5. The Grand Opening
6. Setting the Standard
7. A Changing World
8. Postwar Growth
9. Student Life
10. A Maturing University
11. A Generation of Change
12. The University in Transition
13. Continuing Lovett’s Vision
14. Reinforcing Excellence
15. A University Comes of Age
16. A University So Conceived
17. A Second Century Begins
18. A Selected Bibliography on Rice
19. Acknowledgements

 

A University So Conceived

13. Continuing Lovett's Vision

It was just that potential that attracted theologian George E. Rupp, dean of the Harvard Divinity School, to become Rice’s fifth president. Those few who still considered Rice only a science-engineering institute were surprised by the choice of a humanist, but the trustees’ choice reflected Rice’s maturation into a complete university. The search itself—involving faculty, alumni, students, and board members—was an extraordinary exercise in examining what the university might become and the type of leadership necessary for significant enhancement, a search ultimately praised by the Carnegie Foundation as a model for all of higher education. As President Rupp and his family moved to Houston in the summer of 1985, Rice was admitted to the ranks of the Association of American Universities.

Another symbol of university status was achieved that year: the Rice Institute Pamphlet, begun in 1915 by President Lovett and transformed in 1961 into Rice University Studies, became in 1985 the Rice University Press. With the vigorous leadership of President Rupp and the wholehearted support of the board of govenors, headed by Charles W. Duncan, Jr., the university soon announced a program of enhancement that rivaled in boldness the plans of 1912. It was understood that significant improvement of the university would entail the raising of substantial sums of money, but the university community appeared ready to be challenged. As Rice approached 1987, the seventy-fifth anniversary of its opening, the current of optimism and excitement about its future gained momentum.

The pomp and pageantry of George Rupp’s inaugural ceremony on October 25, 1985, brightened an otherwise cloudy day, and the rain clouds restrained themselves just long enough for the audience of students, alumni, friends, faculty, and distinguished visitors to hear President Rupp’s inaugural commitment “to stand with Edgar Odell Lovett” in insisting on three proud traditions at Rice. “First, we will continue to offer outstanding education to the most capable students we can attract, irrespective of their ability to pay.” And their education will help bridge the chasm between what C. P. Snow has called the two cultures of science and the humanities, for Rice since the beginning has been and will remain dedicated to “liberal and technical learning.” Second, Rupp emphasized, “we will continue and intensify our efforts in research, scholarship, and professional accomplishment.” Rice had always stood for the expansion of knowledge as well as its communication, and that tradition will be honored. Third, Rupp pledged “to uphold and extend . . . the very conception of education that animated the founder of this institution . . . service to the broader society.” He pointed out how fortunate the Rice community of scholars was to be able to work on such a beautiful campus, and he emphasized the opportunities for interdisciplinary study and cooperation that Rice’s small scale afforded.