Rice University’s Centennial Campaign exceeds $1 billion goal

With a record-setting $1.081 billion in gifts and pledges, Rice University announced today that it has exceeded the $1 billion goal of its Centennial Campaign — the largest fundraising effort in the school’s 100-year history.

The campaign raised funds to achieve the strategic objectives of Rice’s Vision for the Second Century and to heighten the positive impact that Rice and its graduates have on the world through education, research and service. Scholarships, endowed faculty chairs, fellowships, student leadership programs, investments in research and academic initiatives, new buildings, athletics facilities and renovations to current facilities were made possible by the campaign.

“We did it! More than 49,000 Rice alumni, faculty and staff, members of the Houston community and some very special friends of the university saw the Vision for Rice’s Second Century and made this happen,” said Rice alumna and trustee emeritus Susie Glasscock, who co-chaired the campaign with alumnus and trustee Bobby Tudor. “President David Leebron and Board Chair Jim Crownover were, and are, great motivators — and fundraisers.”

Tudor, who will become the new chair of the Rice Board of Trustees July 1, added: “Raising more than a billion dollars is impressive by itself. Having a school as small as Rice reach and exceed such a stretch goal, and to do this during a time when Houston was hit by Hurricane Ike and the nation’s economy suffered a prolonged recession, makes this achievement particularly satisfying.”

Rice launched the campaign in November 2008 after raising half the $1 billion goal during the quiet phase. Four recent major gifts pushed the total over $1 billion:

  • Dr. Milton and Laurie Boniuk gave Rice $28.5 million to establish the Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance.
  • A lead gift for a new opera house at the Shepherd School of Music has been secured from an anonymous donor, and additional funds will be raised to complete the project.
  • An anonymous friend of the university increased his total campaign commitment to $42 million for a wide range of student activities, facilities and program support.
  • Alumna and trustee Suzanne Deal Booth, who has previously given multi-million-dollar gifts to support the construction of James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace and to promote Rice’s institutional relationships with the Houston Museum District, gave $7.5 million for the arts.

“Our centennial year has been a milestone in Rice’s history, from the Centennial Celebration in the fall to raising over $200 million as we move toward the completion of our campaign at the end of June,” Leebron said. “We are inspired by and grateful for the magnitude of generosity shown by so many members of the Rice and greater Houston community. Their investments in our educational capabilities and campus will benefit many generations of students far into our second century.”

Crownover expressed his appreciation as well. “We owe deep gratitude not just to everyone who contributed to the campaign, but also to the more than 1,000 campaign volunteers around the world who worked so hard on the campaign, including co-chairs Susie and Bobby and the Resource Development team,” he said.

The $100 million Centennial Scholarship Initiative that was part of the campaign exceeded its goal and will fund 251 new endowed scholarships and enhance 271 existing endowed scholarships, including undergraduate financial aid, merit scholarships and study-abroad scholarships.

Yearly contributions to the Rice Annual Fund for Student Life and Learning have doubled since the beginning of the campaign. These unrestricted, immediate-use funds support student civic engagement, scholarships and virtually every program that contributes to the vibrant university experience. Gifts to the Annual Fund totaled more than $55 million during the course of the campaign, and alumni and friends are within reach of the 2012-2013 goal to raise $8.2 million before Rice’s fiscal year ends June 30.

New buildings, programs and initiatives made possible by the Centennial Campaign can be found all across campus:

The rapid development of the western end of the campus, made possible by the campaign, will define an area of the university most engaged with the city of Houston, including the arts, music, continuing studies, athletics and a “policy corridor” consisting of the Jones School of Business, the Baker Institute for Public Policy and the new Robert A. Klein Hall for Social Sciences. The arts area will include the new Moody Center for the Arts, the recently completed Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace and the Shepherd School’s opera house.

The Robert A. Klein Hall for Social Sciences will house many of the departments of the School of Social Sciences as well as the Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Houston Education Research Consortium. The new D. Kent and Linda C. Anderson and Robert L. and Jean T. Clarke Center will house the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

Student leadership initiatives are represented by the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership, $11 million in endowed scholarships to attract students who have demonstrated leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and leadership programs in the School of Social Sciences and the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Rice’s high quality of education and research rose even more with the addition of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, the Brockman Hall for Physics, the BioScience Research Collaborative, the Chao Center for Asian Studies, the Program in Jewish Studies and new Ph.D. programs in art history and sociology.

Rice’s 30 percent expansion in its undergraduate student body was made possible by the addition of two new residential colleges: Duncan College and Burton and Deedee McMurtry College. Several existing colleges received significant renovations and expansion.

Athletics and fitness programs received major boosts from the Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center, Tudor Fieldhouse and Youngkin Center, the George R. Brown Tennis Complex, replacement of the track at the Track/Soccer Stadium and plans for a new football facility and improvements to Rice Stadium.

The Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion, located in the heart of campus, has had an impact on all facets of university life. Students, faculty, staff and visitors meet there for both social and educational conversation, coffee and light meals.

Alumni and career development have benefited from a very generous gift from Peter and Nancy Huff in support of Huff House.

In addition to the Turrell Skyspace and Moody Center for the Arts, art and campus beauty have been heightened with works by acclaimed artists Mark di Suvero, Dana Frankfort, Charles Mary Kubricht, Jim Love, Jaume Plensa, Aurora Robson, James Surls, Lino Tagliapietra, Leo Villareal and Bruce Wolfe, as well as the “John and Anne” Grove and the Milus E. Hindman Garden.

Vice President for Resource Development Darrow Zeidenstein said that on a size-adjusted basis, the Centennial Campaign is “one of the most ambitious university fundraising campaigns in the nation.” He cited leadership as the “key variable” to the campaign’s “resounding success.” He also emphasized the internal support from the Rice community. During the 2012 fiscal year, 970 employees participated in “For Rice. By Rice.” This faculty-and-staff giving campaign saw an increase of more than 130 over the previous fiscal year. The donors’ names are displayed on a poster that will be housed as a permanent record in Fondren Library, along with a board resolution in their honor.

The Centennial Campaign officially continues through June 30, and contributions made during the current fiscal year will count toward the campaign’s final total, Zeidenstein said. Donations can be made at giving.rice.edu. The final tally and a detailed summary of what the campaign has made possible will be announced during a campaign closing ceremony in mid-September.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.