HOUSTON – (Aug. 24, 2020) – A new facility that will serve the needs of visual and dramatic arts students and faculty at Rice University is closer to being realized thanks to a generous lead gift from Houston businessman and philanthropist Fayez Sarofim. The building, to be named in honor of Sarofim, will be a 50,000-square-foot facility situated next door to the Moody Center for the Arts and will seek to amplify the arts on campus and in the community.
“Fayez Sarofim has once more made a tremendous difference for the arts in Houston, and we are incredibly indebted and proud to be able to recognize his support with a building named in his honor,” Rice University President David Leebron said. “Without Fayez Sarofim’s generosity and guidance, Rice and many other institutions in Houston would not be what they are today.”
The $25 million building will be built with a combination of university funds and philanthropic donations, including the lead gift from Sarofim.
Once completed, the building will cement the southwest corner of campus as an arts district that will serve as a resource for Rice students and faculty, as well as the larger Houston community. It joins the Moody Center for the Arts, the nearby Shepherd School of Music’s Alice Pratt Brown Hall and the newly built Brockman Hall for Opera.
“We are deeply grateful to Fayez Sarofim for this transformative gift in support of the visual and dramatic arts at Rice,” said Humanities Dean Kathleen Canning. “This new student and faculty arts building will house a vibrant and growing arena of arts teaching and learning at Rice and will foster innovations and collaborations that draw students from all schools at Rice, most notably engineering, architecture and the humanities. This historic gift will elevate the place of the student creative arts in a Rice liberal arts education.”
The facility will also support increasing enrollment in the Visual and Dramatic Arts (VADA) Department and provide new opportunities for collaboration across disciplines. One of Rice’s most popular departments, VADA serves 900 students a year, roughly a quarter of the school’s undergraduate population. Demand for more classes through VADA continues to grow in a variety of majors, including engineering, computer science and architecture.
VADA has grown considerably since the late 1960s, when Houston arts icons Dominique and John de Menil made an extraordinary gift to bring a team of art historians, an art library, a photography and film program, and a host of technical staff to Rice University to form the department. The gift from Fayez Sarofim builds on this tradition of arts patronage at Rice and paves the way for more dynamic art classes and collaborations, as well as a fully integrated and connected arts campus.
“The students, faculty, and staff in the arts and the humanities at Rice are excited about building upon the Menil legacy as we work with the design team to realize a visionary new space for the student arts at Rice,” Canning said. “Fayez Sarofim’s generous gift has inspired all of us.”
This news release can be found online at news.rice.edu.
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High-resolution images are available for download:
“Fayez Sarofim has once more made a tremendous difference for the arts in Houston, and we are incredibly indebted and proud to be able to recognize his support with a building named in his honor,” Rice University President David Leebron said. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)
One of Rice’s most popular departments, VADA serves 900 students a year, roughly a quarter of the school’s undergraduate population. (Photo by Brandon Martin/Rice University)
The new building joins the Shepherd School of Music’s Alice Pratt Brown Hall and the Brockman Hall for Opera as part of Rice’s arts district. (Photo by Brandon Martin/Rice University)
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,962 undergraduates and 3,027 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 4 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.