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1980's

1980
Jones and Lovett Colleges go coed.
1980
Rice holds a campus forum on "Energy and Our Present Generation," featuring Charles Duncan '47, energy secretary to President Jimmy Carter, as speaker. (Duncan later serves as chair of the Rice Board of Governors for 14 years.)
1981
The Rice Institute for Policy Analysis is formed to study public policy. It becomes part of the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy in 1993.
1981
Rice is made a repository of NASA's Johnson Space Center archives. They are housed in Woodson Research Center in Fondren Library and will be returned to Johnson Space Center in early 2000.
1982
The Houston Area (later changed to Advanced) Research Center, a four-university consortium, opens in The Woodlands. Participating universities are Rice, University of Houston, University of Texas, and Texas A&M University.
1983
The Graduate Student House opens in the former Tidelands Motor Inn building at the corner of Main Street and University Boulevard, giving graduate students, for the first time, a residence hall of their own.
1983
Wiess College goes coed.
1983
The Seeley G. Mudd Computer Science building is constructed with a major grant from the Los Angeles-based Seeley G. Mudd Fund.
1984
The Materials Science building opens, completing the engineering quad.
1984
Herring Hall, for the Jesse H. Jones School of Administration, is completed and named for Robert J. Herring, Houston business leader and former chair of the Rice board.
1984
President Norman Hackerman announces his retirement.
1985
George E. Rupp is named the fifth president of Rice. Former dean of Harvard Divinity School and a professor of religious studies, he is the first nonscientist president of Rice. He reemphasizes the ideals set forth by President Lovett: Rice will offer outstanding education to the most capable students; it will intensify its efforts in research, scholarship, and professional accomplishment; and it will uphold and extend the very concept of education that animated the founder¡ªservice to the community. His plans include improving the curriculum to maintain Rice's excellent undergraduate education; strengthening graduate programs by building on areas of existing excellence; adding new faculty with interdisciplinary interests and either great distinction or promise; fostering research; and initiating a new wave of building.
1985
Professors Robert Curl and Richard Smalley of Rice and Professor Harold Kroto of the University of Sussex discover the third-known molecular form of carbon, buckminsterfullerene, affectionately known as the "buckyball."
1986
The Ley Student Center, named for Wendel and Audrey Ley, opens next to the Rice Memorial Center. The Student Association Senate, Rice Program Council, Graduate Student Association, Thresher, Campanile, and KTRU move in.
1986
Alumnus Larry McMurtry wins the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Lonesome Dove, which was published the year before.
1987
Sid Richardson and Brown Colleges become the last colleges to go coed.
1987
Changes are made again to the Rice curriculum. The new "foundation course curriculum" states that science, engineering, architecture, and music students must take a year-long humanities course and a social science course, and humanities and social science students must take a year-long natural science course.
1987
Rice announces the first scholarships for minority students.
1988
Wiess College pulls off the biggest student prank in Rice history¡ªusing only a hand-built A-frame, students rotate Willy's Statue 180 degrees so that he faces the library.