Dec 21 , 2011

In the spring of 2001, we offered a course titled “A University So Conceived: The History of Rice University.” The eight-session course covered a range of topics including “From Origins to Opening, 1891-1912,” “Rice and Houston: A Successful Partnership,” “The Desegregation of Rice University” and “People and Events That Have Changed the Course of Rice’s History.”

We recently found a box of VHS tapes of the lectures and had them digitized to preserve them. (We don't typically videotape our courses; the fact that we taped this one shows how special we thought it was.) So, our holiday present to you is this wonderful set of lectures from 2001. You’ll hear Dr. John Boles, the William P. Hobby Professor of History; Dr. Melissa Kean, now Rice’s Centennial Historian; Stephen Fox, now lecturer in architecture at Rice; Bill Barnett, then chair of the Rice Board of Trustees; Dr. Frank Fisher, now professor emeritus of biology, and former Rice President Dr. Malcolm Gillis.

Because of the length limitations on YouTube, each lecture is in four parts.  Click on the links below to navigate through the course. The video quality is not great, and sometimes the audio isn't either, but the content is fabulous.


A University So Conceived: The History of Rice University

Lecture 1. February 19, 2001.
“Rice Institute: From Origins to Opening, 1981-1912”

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
The legacy of William Marsh Rice. The dramatic events leading up to the opening of the institute, and the significant choice of Edgar Odell Lovett as first president.
Lecturer: Dr. John B. Boles, William P. Hobby Professor of History, Rice University, and managing editor, Journal of Southern History.
(Note that Dr. Boles has since published an extensive biography of Edgar Odell Lovett, "University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute."

Lecture 2. February 26, 2001.
“People and Events That Have Changed the Course of Rice’s History”
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
A discussion of selected events in which individuals have provided the leadership to pursue an expanded version of what Rice could become.
Lecturer: E. William Barnett, chair, Rice University Board of Trustees, and senior counsel, Baker Botts L.L.P. (now trustee emeriti and adjunct professor of management)

Lecture 3. March 5, 2001.
“Rice and Houston: A Successful Partnership”

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Rice University’s growing resources, its role in bringing NASA to Houston, and its increasingly important outreach to the community. Distinctive traditions of Rice.
Lecturer: Dr. John Boles.

Lecture 4. March 12, 2001.
“The Desegregation of Rice University"
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
The decision to end an all-white admissions policy. The changing social and academic climate and the financial pressures that pulled Rice in this direction from World War II to the 1960s.
Lecturer: Dr. Melissa Kean, postdoctoral research associate in history, Rice University (now Rice University Centennial Historian).

Lecture 5. March 19, 2001.
“Rice and the Economic Summit of Rice University”

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
From structures to security, how Rice prepared for the summit of world political leaders that took place on the campus in 1990.
Lecturer: Dr. John Boles.

Lecture 6. March 26, 2001.
“‘A Level and Stupid Site’? The Changing Ecology of Rice”
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
The flat, flood-prone expanse of prairie that was the Rice Institute site, complete with meandering gulley, “swimming grasshoppers and mud chimneys of crayfish.” Changes in this environment and the impact on the surrounding community.
Lecturer: Dr. Frank M. Fisher, professor of biology, Rice University (now professor emeritus).

Lecture 7. April 2, 2001.
“The General Plan of the William M. Rice Institute”

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
The master plan by the great American architect Ralph Adams Cram. Changing ideas about the spatial organization of the campus. How new buildings relate to campus architecture. Rice’s role in the development of Houston and in the development of 20th-century American architecture.
Lecturer: Stephen Fox, fellow, Anchorage Foundation of Texas, and adjunct lecturer in architecture, Rice University (now lecturer in architecture at Rice, lecturer in architecture of the University of Houston and a fellow of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas).

Lecture 8. April 9, 2001.
“Rice: The Second Century”

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
How Rice University can adjust to a rapidly changing world.
Lecturer: Dr. Malcolm Gillis, president, Rice University and E.K. Zingler Professor of Economics (now University Professor and E.K. Zingler Professor of Economics).

(Note that this spring Dr. Melissa Kean is teaching another Rice history course: “Rice: The Evolution of a University.”)

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