Rice historian to revisit the ‘Masterson Crisis’ at Sept. 13 Scientia lecture

Rice historian to revisit the ‘Masterson Crisis’ at Sept. 13 Scientia lecture


In the late summer of 1968, Rice’s President Kenneth Pitzer stepped down to assume the presidency of Stanford University. In February 1969, the Rice Board announced their election of William Masterson as his successor. The appointment created a controversy on campus and just a few frantic days later Masterson resigned, convinced that he could not lead Rice in the face of an open, widespread and sustained faculty rebellion.


The ideas, loyalties and misunderstandings that were at the heart of this dramatic conflict shed light on a fundamental issue in this institution’s history: What is the purpose of Rice University and how are its goals best pursued? And who gets to decide?

Rice Centennial Historian Melissa Kean will revisit this event and the questions it raised in her Scientia lecture, “Rice’s ‘Masterson Crisis’: The Problem is, What is the University Going to be?” The talk will be at 4 p.m. Sept. 13 in Duncan Hall’s McMurtry Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Kean’s talk is the first of the 2011-2012 Scientia series, the theme of which is “Rice: A Century of Change.” The evolution of Rice University from a small, regional institute to a major research university is rooted in the vision of its various presidents and trustees, the ingenuity and insight of its faculty, and the generosity of its supporters. In this centennial series, speakers will look at the decisive events that shaped the university in its first century and explore the emerging fields of research that will shape the future of Rice.

Upcoming lectures will examine “100 Years of Social Science at Rice and the Next 100 Years,” “Carbon Nanotechnology at Rice: Past, Present and Future” and “Sallie’s Gift: The Shepherd School of Music — Beginnings and Evolution.”

For more information on Scientia, visit http://scientia.rice.edu.

About admin