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Mif^James C. Morehead Jr. 
354 Pine Point Rd. 
Houston, TX 77024 

Edgar Odell Lovctt in 1911. 


The Meaning of the 
New Institution 

By Edgar Odell Lovett 

With an Introduction by John B. Boles 
Photographic Editor, Karen Hess Rogers 

The Rice Historical Society 
Houston 2000 

The Rice Historical Society 

MS 520 

Rice University 

P.O. Box 1892 

Houston, Texas 77251- 1892 

© 2000 BY The Rice Historical Society 

Edgar Odell Lovett's address, "The Meaning of the New Institution," is reprint- 
ed from The Rice Institute Pamphlets, Vol. 1, No. 1 (April, 1915), 45-132. It also 
appeared in The Book of the Opening of the Rice Institute, 3 vols. (Houston, 1915), I, 

The photograph on p. 7 is from Box SP5, Grounds and Building Series, Historical 
Photograph Collection, Princeton University Archives, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript 
Library, Princeton University Library. The photograph on p. 12 is from Box LP78, 
Campus Life Series, Historical Photograph Series, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript 
Library, Princeton University Library. Both photographs are published with permis- 
sion of the Princeton University Library. 

All other photographs are from, and used with permission of, the Woodson 
Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. 


Preface vii 

The Education of a University President: 
Edgar Odell Lovett and the Opening of 

the Rice Institute 1 

John B. Boles 

The Meaning of the New Institution 51 

Edgar Odell Lovett 


The charter by which WiUiam Marsh Rice created The Rice 
Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science, and Art in 1891 
was a very vague document that never mentioned the words college or 
university. Mr. Rice had dictated that nothing was to be done until his 
death, so the institute remained only an idea on paper for almost a 
decade. But the founder came to an untimely death on September 23, 
1900, and after that date the trustees — none of whom had a collegiate 
education — were obligated to fulfill his educational wishes, imprecise 
though they were. The trustees recognized their limitations in this 
field, so after some preliminary investigations and analysis, they deter- 
mined to chose an energetic, broad-minded, knowledgeable president 
who could help them determine what best should be done. They 
devised a search process that enabled them to chose more wisely than 
they could have known, selecting in late 1907 a young mathematician 
at Princeton University, Edgar Odell Lovett. Lovett soon accepted the 
appointment and began a remarkable process both to further educate 
himself about what might be accomplished given the freedom and 
resources to imagine all possibilities and to educate the board. He 
transformed William Marsh Rice's vague charter into a far-reaching, 
visionary plan for the new Rice Institute to be built on the open 
prairie just outside of Houston. His lofty conception of the universi- 
ty, spelled out in an address delivered at the formal opening in 
October 1912, launched the institution with breathtaking boldness 
and ambition, and to an unusual degree for higher education that orig- 
inal plan has shaped the subsequent development of Rice. 

Many who have read the longer, published version of Lovett's 
address, "The Meaning of the New Institution," have wanted the text 
available for another generation of readers. As Rice enters the new 

The Education of a University President 

millennium and begins to think about the 2012 centennial of its open- 
ing, members of the Rice Historical Society decided to reprint the 
address so that it might become better known and continue to play its 
shaping role in the history of the university. 1 have included a lengthy 
introduction to suggest how uniquely prepared Lovett was to under- 
take this task of leadership, and 1 have tried to indicate how advanced 
were his ideas and how prescient his views. At the time Lovett was 
considered a wonderful orator, and though his ornate style is not the 
fashion of today, I trust that the power of his vision will be evident to 
every reader. 

Many have helped in the preparation of this edition. The staff of 
the Woodson Research Center, especially Nancy Boothe and Lee 
Pecht, were endlessly helpful. Several friends, including Patricia Bixel, 
Lynda Crist, Mary Dix, and Karen Hess Rogers, and my wife Nancy, 
have read the introduction and suggested improvements. Hilary 
Mackie helped with the Greek quotations, both providing the font 
and the translation, and Jack Zammito with the German. In addition, 
Patti Bixel computer scanned the Lovett essay and thereby entered it 
on a computer disk. Karen Rogers also chose most of the illustrations 
and worked with the designer and printers to produce the book. And 
the Rice Historical Society has supported the project from the begin- 
ning and underwritten its publication. All of us hope that Dr. Lovett 's 
words find a new and appreciative audience. 

John B. Boles 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 




Edgar Odell Lovett 
& The Opening of 
The Rice Institute 

By John B. Boles 

William Marsh Rice was a shrewd businessman, a good judge 
of human character, and a public spirited citizen, but he 
knew nothing firsthand about scholarship, teaching, or 
universities in general. Sometime before the early 1880s he had 
become familiar with the Cooper Union, established in New York City 
by another entrepreneur as a coeducational institution offering colle- 
giate instruction in science and art, and the Girard Institute, a free 
school for orphan white boys in Philadelphia. Consequently he had 
provided, by the terms of a will drawn up in 1882, for the creation of 
an orphans' home and school on his New Jersey property. Four years 
later, while Rice was visiting Houston on one of his periodic trips to 
inspect various investments, an old friend suggested that he endow a 
public high school building for the city in which he had made his for- 
tune. The cautious Rice said he would consider the request. Consider 
it he obviously did, and in 1891, on another trip to Houston, he called 
six of his most trusted friends and advisers together and asked them to 
become the trustees of a new entity he had decided to charter, the 
William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, 
Science, and Art, whose incorporation was filed with the state on May 
19, 1891. 

This charter, while it lists a number of specific functions of the 
planned institute, is extremely vague as to exactly what sort of overar- 
ching institution Mr. Rice had in mind — the words college and uni- 
versity are never mentioned. The charter calls for the establishment of 
a "Public Library, and the maintenance of an Institution for the 
Advancement of Literature, Science, Art, Philosophy and Letters; the 
establishment and maintenance of a Polytechnic school; for procuring 
and maintaining scientific collections; collections of chemical and 
philosophical apparatus, mechanical and artistic models, drawings, 
pictures and statues; and for cultivating other means of instruction for 
the white inhabitants of the City of Houston, and State of Texas...." 
Elsewhere it specifies that the "Institute is to be free and open to all; 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

to be non-sectarian and non-partisan.... "^ The six trustees may have 
been relieved when Mr. Rice made clear his wishes that nothing be 
done regarding the institute until after his 

Mr. Rice was murdered on 
September 23, 1900, and after a 
sensational trial and a series of 
legal maneuvers, his fortune of 
almost $5 million became 
available. Now the trustees — 
none of whom had particular 
academic expertise — had to 
attempt to interpret the pur- 
pose of the Rice charter and 
launch the new institute. Yet 
what exactly should they do? 
How could they determine the 
most appropriate way to carry out 
their fiduciary responsibilities? The 
trustees in early 1901 hired a New 

York law firm to solicit from a variety of national universities their 
methods of organization and administration. The trustees discussed 
educational matters with the presidents of several Texas universities, 
examining the needs of the state and region and such issues as cur- 
riculum and breadth of offerings, but they still were not certain if the 
Rice Institute should be a college or a technical institute or a manual 
training school. The secretary of the trustees, Emanuel Raphael, in 
late 1906 toured a number of academic institutions in the Northeast, 
becoming an eager proponent of such personal investigation. The 
trustees as a group, recognizing their lack of experience in academic 
planning, quickly determined that the most important thing they 
could do initially was choose the right person to plan Mr. Rice's 

William Marsh Rice 

The Education of a University President 

Institute. Consequently they wrote letters in January 1907 to the most 
distinguished university presidents in the nation — the presidents of 
Harvard, Cornell, Chicago, Stanford, Berkeley, and Princeton, for 
example, along with national leaders like Theodore Roosevelt, Grover 
Cleveland, and William Jennings Bryan — asking what qualities they 
should look for as they sought what they called the "educational head" 
of the new institute, and they also asked for nominations of the right 
person. President David Starr Jordan of Stanford, for example, replied 
almost immediately, urging the trustees — presciently — "to secure a 
young man of broad sympathies and broad education, who will have a 
knowledge of Applied Science and sympathy with the methods by 
which Engineering may be taught. At the same time, he ought to have 
an appreciation of the value of a liberal education.... "^ 

In part the letter soliciting nominations said: "It is our desire to do 
the greatest possible good with the money at our command, and to 
cover the whole field as indicated in our title, as rapidly as we can. We 
think it was the intention of the founder to give manual training, 
applied science, and liberal arts preference in the organization.... In 
order to hasten our work, we need for the head of the institution the 
very best man that can be had. We need a young man, a broad man, 
and we need him at once; and we are able to pay him such a salary as 
such distinguished services should command, and will gladly do so if 
we can get the right man. Our object in writing to you is to ascertain 
if you know of such a man, and if so advise us and place us in corre- 
spondence with him — such a man as you yourself would select."^ As 
the suggestions and nominations came in, the trustees were inciden- 
tally educating themselves about the qualities they should seek in a 
president. For example, on April 10, 1907, James A. Baker, the chair 
of the trustees, wrote to a Texas college president that the Rice trustees 
"are trying to select a man for the executive and administrative head 
of the Institute. A man who will be to it what Prof. Harper was to 
Chicago University, and Mr. Elliott Isic] to Harvard, etc."4 William 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Rainey Harper and Charles W. Eliot were perhaps the most distin- 
guished American university presidents of the era, and they were the 
models Baker and the Rice trustees were bold enough to hold up before 
themselves as they searched for a president of the new institute. 

The evening of the day that Baker had sent this letter, another in a 
succession of candidates for the position arrived in Houston for an 
interview. This visitor, Edgar Odell Lovett, a young mathematician 
from Princeton, had been strongly recommended by Woodrow Wilson, 
Princeton's president. Lovett had sterling credentials, but the inter- 
view with the Rice trustees was a grueling one, and he was comfortable 
enough with his Princeton position to be willing to challenge the 
trustees' ideas about what should be done. In response to their ques- 
tions and by his own initiative, Lovett emphasized that the university 
should spend only its endowment income, that it needed a spacious 
campus, that a complete architectural plan should be adopted before a 
single building was built, and he really insisted that pure science 
should be at least as important in the curriculum as applied science, 
thereby inserting in their thinking about the Rice Institute "an enter- 
ing wedge away from technology and towards the university idea. "5 
Lovett had firm ideas he was willing to express frankly even as a can- 

The Rice trustees clearly liked him, his "frankness and candor" as 
well as his qualifications. After interviewing other prospects, some 
seven months later the trustees voted to offer the position to Lovett; 
and one of the trustees went to Princeton to talk over the matter with 
Lovett. Lovett was flattered but hesitated, both because he was 
engaged in a very significant Princeton effort to establish an astro- 
nomical observatory in the southern hemisphere and because, as a 
great friend and supporter of Princeton's innovative president, 
Woodrow Wilson, he was loathe to leave. At the same time James 
Baker wrote Lovett a persuasive letter, pointing out the wealth of the 
Rice Institute, saying its trustees were inexperienced "in educational 

The Education of a University President 

matters" and would "be disposed to give you a very free hand." He 
clinched his argument by emphasizing that "The opportunity offered 
you is an unusual one, and however promising may be your prospects 
at Princeton, you ought to be slow in declining. Such an opportunity 
rarely comes to one so young in life."^ The letter had its desired effect, 
and Lovett wrote very shortly thereafter that, after careful attention to 
academic protocol, he would leave Princeton and accept the presi- 
dency of the Rice Institute.'^ Subsequently the 
Board sent Lovett a formal offer, and he 
accepted formally in a letter of January 2, 
1908, saying of his new opportunity 
that "I believe we are going to have 
the patience and power to do the 
thing right.... "*^ 

Who was this young Princeton 
professor, now president of the Rice 
Institute, and where had he gotten his 
ideas about higher education? And 
how did he prepare himself and the 
Board of Trustees for the building of a uni- 
versity based on a brief and imprecise 
charter document? Lovett had been born 
in Ohio in 1871, had earned a B.A. 
degree at Bethany College, in West 

Virginia, where during his final two years he had served as a tutor in 
Greek. Upon graduation in 1890 he was appointed professor of math- 
ematics at Western Kentucky College, where he met Mary Ellen Hale, 
whom he married in 1897. In the fall of 1892 he entered graduate work 
in astronomy (and was appointed instructor) at the University of 
Virginia, earning there an M.A. and a Ph.D. (1895) in astronomy. 
Then he went to study with the great mathematician Sophus Lie at 
the University of Leipzig, earning there another doctorate, in mathe- 

Mary Hale 
[Mrs. Edgar OdellJ Lovett 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

matics, in 1896, and before returning to the United States he attend- 
ed math lectures at the University of Christiana in Oslo and the 
University of Paris. Armed with sterling credentials and a strong let- 
ter of recommendation from Sophus Lie, Lovett in the spring semes- 
ter of 1897 secured teaching positions at both Johns Hopkins 
University and the University of Virginia, commuting between the 

The Teaching Observatory and the Lovetts ' home in Princeton. 

two by rail. That summer he received a lectureship at the University 
of Chicago, and, despite a variety of offers, he accepted that fall — at 
the age of 26 — an assistant professorship of mathematics at Princeton. 
By 1900 (a year he and his wife spent in France'^), Lovett was a full 
professor, and in 1905 he was also appointed professor of astronomy 
and chair of the department. He had published widely, was a member 
of a number of national and international mathematical societies, and 
was clearly one of Woodrow Wilson's most cherished colleagues at 

But this background was more promising for Lovett's presidency 

The Education of a University President 

than a mere recitation of institutions might suggest. The University of 
Virginia had a vigorous honor system, which Lovett often praised, and 
by the time he got to Princeton, that university had also (in 1893) 
instituted an honor system. 1° Lovett's experience at the University of 
Leipzig introduced him to the fabled German university system, which 
throughout most of the nineteenth century had gained renown as the 
model for producing scholarship and research. German universities 
had pioneered the role of the seminar for humanistic research and the 
laboratory for scientific research and teaching. Of greatest signifi- 
cance, the German universities did not simply teach knowledge but 
also taught research — how to generate new knowledge, ii English uni- 
versities had begun by the mid-nineteenth century to incorporate 
more scientific and engineering research in their academic programs 
and had begun to make such work an integral part of the university, 
not separate institutes. And Johns Hopkins University had been 
founded in 1876 precisely to introduce to the United States the 
German-model research university, with graduate seminars and inten- 
sive laboratory instruction in the sciences. The University of Chicago, 
founded in 1891, with ample resources and a charismatic president, 
William Rainey Harper, had as its intention the creation of a major 
research university in the West, attracting large numbers of acclaimed 
faculty, providing them with first-rate facilities, and establishing an 
innovative curriculum whereby undergraduates took a broad range of 
courses the first two years, then focused much more narrowly on a set 
of "major" courses for the last two years. Harper was drawing his ideas 
not only from German universities but also from the pioneering exam- 
ple of President Andrew D. White at Cornell University and especial- 
ly from Harvard University, where President Charles W. Eliot had 
most completely developed the elective system with an orderly range 
of courses (each carrying what we would recognize as three hours cred- 
it) that provided students both choice and direction. Lovett's experi- 
ences at Hopkins and Chicago were opportunities to see two extreme- 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

ly vibrant, modern American universities at their creative prime. ^^ 

Lovett could not have found a more innovative period to be at 
Princeton than the years 1897-1908. The year before he arrived, 
Princeton had celebrated its 150th anniversary (and officially changed 
its name from the College of New Jersey to Princeton University) with 
an impressive three-day-long series of lectures by eminent European 
scholars, concerts, banquets, an ode by poet Henry van Dyke, and a 
keynote address entitled "Princeton in the Nation's Service" by then 
Professor Woodrow Wilson. Wilson's address along with much more 
from the sesquicentennial celebration was handsomely published in 
1898, and Lovett acquired a copy of the book. While he obviously 
noted the grandeur of the general celebration, he also read closely 
Wilson's famous address. 

Wilson had earned his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins, primarily a research 
university, but he said in 1897 that few students at a college would ever 
be "investigators" and most would be "citizens and the world's servants 
in every field of practical endeavor.... "^^ The most important duty of 
the university was to train its students to work in the world, to give to 
them the right principles and practical skills. The larger point was not 
individual success but rather the betterment of the world. Wilson went 
on to emphasize the importance of history, of knowing the literature 
and philosophy of past ages, so that students could draw from a broad- 
er range of human experience and wisdom than merely their own. 
Exposure to such "culture" enabled citizens to make better, wiser deci- 
sions in the practical, everyday world. ^4 Consequently Wilson warned 
against what he took to be the modem scientific propensity to dismiss 
the past and accept uncritically the new. "I am much mistaken," he 
said, "if the scientific spirit of the age is not doing us a great disservice, 
working in us a certain great degeneracy. Science has bred in us a spir- 
it of experiment and a contempt for the past. It has made us credulous 
of quick improvement, hopeful of discovering panaceas, confident of 
success in every new thing." Then he went on, "Science has not 

The Education of a University President 

changed the nature of society, has not... made human nature a whit 
easier to reform — has not freed us from ourselves. It has not purged us 
of passion or disposed us to 
virtue. "15 Universities, [f 

therefore, should beware of 
total preoccupation with sci- 
entific research and uncriti- 
cal application of scientific 
methodologies to other dis- 
ciplines, for universities had 
a role more important that 
just discovering new infor- 
mation. And in concluding 
Wilson emphasized that "it 
is not learning but the spirit 
of service that will give a 
college [a] place in the pub- 
lic annals of the nation. "i*^ 
Lovett had these words in 
mind when he later set forth 

Woodroic Wilson as president of 
Princeton University. 

his vision for the Rice Institute, but he did not accept Wilson's ideas 

In 1902 Wilson was appointed president of Princeton, and he 
quickly began a concerted campaign to reform, modernize, and 
strengthen the university he (and Lovett) so loved. Wilson's inaugur- 
al address, "Princeton for the Nation's Service," showed some change 
of opinion since his 1896 sesquicentennial address. He still argued that 
"The service of institutions of learning is not private but public." But 
he showed slightly more appreciation of universities' role in training 
researchers: "their task is two-fold: the production of a great body of 
informed and thoughtful men and the production of a small body of 
trained scholars and researchers." And, he added, "These two func- 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

tions are not to be performed separately, but side by side...." The most 
significant change in Wilson's viewpoint, however, came in his much 
greater respect for the role of science. Rather than disparage its influ- 
ence on life and education as he had in 1896, now he emphasized that 
"The mind of the modern student must be carried through a wide 
range of studies in which science shall have a place not less distin- 
guished than that accorded literature, philosophy, or politics." He then 
went on to call for a balance of what Lovett himself would later call 
technical and liberal studies. Wilson's newfound appreciation for the 
role of science, and especially mathematics, in undergraduate educa- 
tion precisely reflected Lovett's considered opinion. ^^ 

The Princeton of which Wilson had assumed leadership was an 
extremely casual academic environment for privileged students, who 
took a hodgepodge of courses carrying widely divergent credit hours; 
studying was not taken seriously — one former student and professor 
called it a "paradise of leisure"^^ — and upperclassmen were separated 
from freshmen in exclusive dining clubs. Student-faculty interaction 
was rare outside of lecture halls. All this Wilson set out to change; he 
wanted to create an environment of learning that excited students 
about the life of the mind.^"^ His first efforts were directed toward giv- 
ing order and coherence to the curriculum, with courses each worth 
three credits, students taking more general courses during the first two 
years and then specializing. This reform was accomplished almost 
without opposition. Then, to revitalize the teaching, to shift from a 
dependence on large lecture classes to small discussion sessions, 
Wilson proposed hiring fifty preceptors, roughly equivalent to assistant 
professors, who would be called primarily to teach (and they would 
have five-year appointments) and to interact very closely with the stu- 
dents, taking meals with them, leading weekly discussion sessions, par- 
tially erasing the boundaries of age and professorial status between the 
teachers and learners. Again this reform passed smoothly, and dozens 
of exceptionally talented young faculty were attracted to Princeton by 

The Education of a University President 

Members of Tiger Inn in front of their eating club, 
Princeton University, 1902. 

the force of Wilson's personality and his vision of a new kind of learn- 
ing environment. Wilson also advocated a long-range architectural 
plan to ensure a consistency of design and building material, and 
Ralph Adams Cram was called upon to prepare what would today be 
called a master plan for the development of the campus. ^^ 

The capstone of Wilson's reform of Princeton was announced to the 
trustees in December 1906, and the issue consumed the Princeton 
community for more than a year. Wilson wanted to end the exclusiv- 
ity of the dining clubs, which were open to upperclassmen only, and 
instead to center campus residential life in colleges. By colleges 
Wilson meant dormitories with eating halls, freshmen through seniors 
living together, with a master and two or three preceptors also living 
in each college so that there could be closer interaction between stu- 
dents and faculty; the students would be given the lion's share of the 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

governance of the individual colleges, which would be arranged in 
great quadrangles. -^ Wilson saw this as a natural progression from his 
previous reforms, but he underestimated the devotion of the alumni 
(and older faculty) to the old club system. After a long, acrimonious 
debate and much turmoil lasting the entire year of 1907, Wilson's pro- 
posal finally failed in the spring of 1908. It had also gotten entangled 
in another dispute, this one between Wilson and Graduate Dean 
Andrew West over the location of a graduate residential college. 
Wilson steadfastly believed that the graduate college should be in the 
geographical heart of the campus so that undergraduates would con- 
stantly intermingle with more advanced students; West, pressured by a 
wealthy donor, pushed for a location more than a half mile from the 
campus. This dispute became even more rancorous than the issue of 
undergraduate residential colleges, and Wilson's defeat on this issue 
eventually led to his leaving Princeton for the political world. ^^ 

It is important to remember that Edgar Odell Lovett was at 
Princeton during this contentious year, and he was a strong Wilson 
defender. One of the reasons Lovett was so careful of how he handled 
his departure from Princeton is that he did not want to appear to be 
deserting Wilson when he was under attack from other quarters. On 
March 11, 1907, when Wilson first forwarded to Lovett the letter from 
the Rice trustees soliciting names, Wilson had written that "1 need not 
tell you that there is no man in the Princeton faculty 1 have more 
counted on to remain part of us, both in action and in inspiration, 
than yourself.... "2^ In acknowledging this note from Wilson, Lovett 
had replied that while he would pursue the opportunity in Houston, 
"In the meantime you must not question my loyalty — you will not — 
for you know what faith I have had in your plans for Princeton, you 
know with what loyal pride I have done my modest part in your admin- 
istration, you know, too, how boisterously I have rejoiced over the 
things you are bringing to pass in this place. "^4 After Lovett unoffi- 

The Education of a University President 


cially accepted the Rice presidency, he explained to the trustees that 
he was "trying to move in such a way as to retain the interest and influ- 
ence of Princeton in our undertaking at Houston; the importance of 
this you of course recognize." And when he wrote Wilson formally 
tendering his resignation, Lovett stated that he was leaving Princeton 
"firmly believing that whatever training I may have achieved here can 
be devoted to the interests of the University in no better way than in 
an effort to bring to realization in another environment those spiritu- 
al and intellectual ideals and traditions which have made Princeton 
conspicuous in the Nation's service, and which, in terms of your far- 
reaching plans for the development of the University, are now making 
Princeton the most interesting educational center on the conti- 
nent. "^5 Quite obviously, Lovett saw the size of the Rice endowment 
and the freedom offered him to develop the plans for the new institute 
as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fulfill the Princeton promise in 
a southern location — hence meeting an especially critical regional 
need^ — without opposition from entrenched interests. 

So Lovett came to Houston in the early spring of 1908 and, meet- 
ing for the first time with the trustees, he "outlined a rough sketch of 
the work of organizing the Institute as it appeared to him, at the pre- 
sent time." The Rice trustees then suggested, apparently remembering 
the earlier experience of one of its own members, Emanuel Raphael, 
that Lovett "make a tour of observation and investigation of the best 
work being done in the Universities and Technical Colleges, both in 
the United States and in Europe. "^^ He was asked to draw up a pro- 
posed itinerary and budget: Lovett was about to embark on an extra- 
ordinary voyage around the world during which he would visit with 
academic luminaries at dozens of major institutions, inspect campuses, 
laboratories, classrooms, and libraries, spread the name of the yet-to- 
be-founded Rice Institute, and literally pique the world's curiosity 
about the educational enterprise about to be gotten underway. What 
Lovett learned on this trip, combined with his extensive reading and 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

his remarkable range of personal experience at innovative American 
universities, would be the final ingredient in his preparation for envi- 
sioning the Rice Institute in Houston. 

Shortly after his initial meeting with the Rice trustees, Lovett 
granted an interview to a Houston newspaper. The paper reported that 
Lovett was about to leave the city for a tour of America and Europe, 
"searching among the universities of the two hemispheres for the edu- 
cational and architectural ideas that will be incorporated in the new 
university to be planted in 
Houston." Lovett told the 
paper, "I expect to inquire 
intimately into the workings 
of the various city colleges in 
England,... because it is the 
problem of the city institution 
that we will have to meet here 
in Houston. University col- 
lege in London, and the vari- 
ous institutions in Man- 
chester, Liverpool and Edin- 
burgh ought to be able to fur- 
nish some valuable and inter- 
esting suggestions. Oxford and 
Cambridge I shall visit for 
their architecture." Lovett 
also spoke of his great admira- 
tion for the University of 
Paris, for the German univer- 
sities, and for those of Zurich, 
Vienna, and St. Petersburg. 

He expected primarily to learn about architecture in Spain, he said, 
and in fact he went on to insist that the architecture of the Rice 

Postcard from the 
University of Liverpool. 

The Education of a University President 


Institute, whatever the precise style, would be consistent throughout 
the campus and for the future, representing not only the lasting influ- 
ence on him of the Thomas Jefferson-inspired campus at Virginia but 
also his summer at the University of Chicago and Woodrow Wilson's 
advocacy of architectural consistency at Princeton. 27 

Lovett's comments about the city colleges of England indicated his 
familiarity with educational developments in Europe over the past half 
century. As certain English educators and statesmen became more 
aware of the growth of scientific and engineering universities and 
technical institutes in Germany and France, and their contribution to 
industrial developments in those nations, a movement arose in 
England to address the elitism and curricular conservatism of Oxford 
and Cambridge by founding in various cities more democratic institu- 
tions, with more modern curricula that combined training and 
research in pure and applied science with traditional humanistic stud- 
ies, and that devised their programs to meet the particular needs of 
their immediate surroundings. These redbrick or municipal or "civic" 
universities, as Viscount Haldane termed them, soon acquired univer- 
sity status. They ranged from the somewhat older University of 
London and the London School of Economics to the newer regional 
universities at Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool. The success 
of the civic universities in reaching a demographically far broader 
population also led Oxford and Cambridge to develop a very popular 
university extension program that sent eminent professors to lecture to 
lay audiences across the land. Lovett would later promote similar pub- 
lic lectures as an important civic responsibility o( the new Rice 

These British civic universities represented an adaptation of the 
technical institutes that had earlier arisen in Europe, the first of which 
was the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, then a number of polytechnic 
institutes in Germany and elsewhere. They offered less emphasis on 
pure research than the traditional German and French universities, 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Postcard from the University ofQlasgoiv 

but especially in England these civic universities emphasized the util- 
itarian aspects of science-engineering research; the civic universities 
also attempted to ground specialized scientific training in broad scien- 
tific principles and maintained general instruction in basic humani- 
ties.^^ And these were new universities, not — like Oxford, Cambridge, 
and Paris — institutions whose pedigrees went back centuries. Lovett 
believed these new civic universities, carefully developed to attend 
the needs of their location, emphasizing practical scientific and engi- 
neering disciplines but insisting at the same time on broad training in 
general scientific principles and humanistic traditions, should be the 
models for the new institution he was bidden to plan in Houston. And 
while Lovett visited every kind of educational institution on his tour, 
he paid special attention to these new utilitarian universities. 

Lovett hired a young, Princeton-trained Houstonian, F. Carrington 
Weems, to accompany him and his wife, and after a quick trip to the 
Northeast, the two Lovetts and Weems set forth from Quebec on July 

The Education of a University President 

24, 1908, for their tour of inspection. The trip lasted over nine months 
(they would return to Houston on May 7, 1909), and their itinerary 
even today looks exhausting: Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, 
Aberdeen, Liverpool again, Dublin, London, Hamburg, Gotenborg, 
Christiania (Oslo), Stockholm, Lund, Berlin, Gottingen, Leipzig, 
Munich, Zurich, Milan, Padua, Bologna, Pisa, Paris, Brussels, The 
Hague, Leiden, London again, Paris again, Madrid, Lisbon, Seville, 
Cordoba, Alhambra, Granada, Gibraltar, Genoa, Rome, Naples, 
Athens, Corfu, Constantinople, then via the Orient Express to Vienna 
and Budapest, Warsaw, St. Petersburg, Moscow, then via the Trans- 
Siberian Express to Vladivostok, then to Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokohama, by 
ship to Honolulu, then sailing again to San Francisco (where they vis- 
ited Stanford and Berkeley), Los Angeles, and thence by the Sunset 
Limited back to Houston.^^ 

Lovett kept a daybook listing each day's appointments, and while he 
obviously visited the famous old universities and conferred with facul- 
ty and administrators like J.J. Thompson of Cambridge's Cavendish 
Laboratories and a string of professors at Oxford, Paris, the Sorbonne, 
Rome, and Vienna, what is more noticeable from his itinerary is the 
prominent place on it of newer civic universities in Britain and poly- 
technic institutes on the continent. One notes interviews and tours at 
Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, and Birmingham 
in England. On the continent Lovett visited the Technical High 
Schools (equivalent to technical universities) in Berlin 
(Charlottenberg), Dresden, Munich, Zurich, Turin, and St. Petersburg; 
and he inspected various scientific and specialized (mathematical, 
chemical, etc.) institutes in many cities. From Lovett's notes it is clear 
that he talked with scholars about curricular matters, about campus 
size and facilities, about laboratory equipment, about academic stan- 
dards, about recruiting and nurturing a superior faculty. Knowing that 
his task was to plan a new institution for a new and evolving region of 
the United States, Lovett attempted to learn all he could about recent 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Postcard sent by Ed^ar Odell Lovett to Emanuel Raphael 
from the University of Heidelberg. 

developments in higher education, especially newly founded institu- 
tions whose explicit task was to apply the fruits of higher education to 
the needs of a specific region. Lovett's was an educational journey of 
very intentional investigation, not a leisurely academic grand tour 
keyed to scenery or climate. ^'-^ 

What did Lovett learn from this impressive trip? Luckily he occa- 
sionally wrote his impressions in his daybook and in letters back to the 
Rice trustees. From these we can partially reconstruct his thoughts. 
One of the first things he wrote back to the trustees was his recogni- 
tion, at the University of Birmingham, of how important it was to have 
a spacious campus with athletic fields for the students (the Rice 
trustees were already in the process of buying the present nearly 300- 

The Education of a University President 


acre campus). He also was glad to see that while Birmingham offered 
applied science courses immediately relevant to local industrial needs, 
it did so without sacrificing original research in pure science. Hence 
there need be no contradiction between pure and applied research. He 
also noted that "their teachers and students are encouraged to do orig- 
inal research in the belief that those teach best who are continually 
learning, and those learn best who are continually investigating."^! 
Two months later, from Germany, Lovett wrote that he was particu- 
larly impressed by the way the University of Gottingen had organized 
"mathematical and physical sciences in such a way that they are coor- 
dinated and at the same time opportunities are offered to students spe- 
cializing in those subjects to take liberalizing courses in letters, arts and 
philosophy." He also was encouraged by the example of the University 
of Stockholm, which, though it had begun primarily with a scientific 
curriculum, was now developing a faculty of humanities. ^^ In the 
Mediterranean states Lovett was most impressed by architecture. 
Writing from Gibraltar, he noted that "The journey through Spain to 
Gibraltar yielded most in the way of architectural sug- 
gestion.... Spanish Gothic, or Renaissance, and Moorish... all repre- 
sented with innumerable variations and combinations." Three months 
later he wrote from aboard the Trans-Siberian Express that he had 
inspected the architectural plans for a new group of buildings for the 
University of Rome and observed that the plans "furnish a striking 
example of architectural unity without an objectionable uniformity in 
the treatment of the prevailing type. The type is a combination of clas- 
sic and renaissance."^^ 

Several of Lovett's most interesting observations were recorded in 
his notes, written in or interspersed in his travel daybook, not written 
to Emanuel Raphael and the trustees. A classics professor at the 
University of Liverpool told Lovett he "should consider men and 
equipment rather than expensive buildings." Lovett accepted the 
advice about faculty and equipment, but he had a better understand- 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

ing of the role of architecture. ¥\ 
came better to appreciate what an 
advantage it was to be located 
in a city, even though that 
perhaps made it more difficult 
to have ample grounds. But 
the newly purchased Rice 
campus led Lovett to note 
that "I am beginning to 
believe that we may be able 
to combine the finest fea- 
tures of the college in the city 
and the college in the coun- 
try." And meeting with a group 
of six distinguished English edu- 
cators in Dublin in early 
September, he summarized the con- 
sensus advice that "we should con- 
sider men before mortar and brains 
before bricks." Over and over again he was told that the institution 
should emphasize research and be the educational capstone of the 
state. In Edinburgh, musing over much that he had seen and been told, 
Lovett noted to himself that the Rice Institute "must be prepared to 
make science, teach science, and apply science. "^4 

Returning to Houston in the late spring of 1909, Lovett quickly 
began formulating arrangements to select an architect to design the 
buildings. He wrote and consulted widely in making the choice, and 
he put together an advisory committee of four distinguished scientists 
(from Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and the National Bureau of 
Standards) to help both him and the prospective architects plan the 
teaching and research laboratories. (The board minutes for July 14, 
1909, at which Lovett explained his method of choosing an architect 

Ralph Adams Cram 

The Education of a University President 

Laying the cornerstone oj the Administration Building (noxv Lovett Hall), 

March 2, 1911. Standing directly behind the cornerstone, left to right: 

William WardWatkin, Captain James Addison Baker, Cesar Maurice 

Lombardi, Edgar Odell Lovett, James Everett McAshan, William Marsh 

Rice, Jr. , and Benjamiti Botts Rice. 

and putting together an advisory team, reveal that the Institute was 
about to sell the timber on its 47,000 acres of forest in Louisiana; this 
sale would more than pay for all the original buildings that would be 
constructed without touching the endowment.) Lovett agonized over 
the selection of a design architect, and he especially hesitated out of a 
concern to avoid the charge of imitation before announcing (at the 
August 4 board meeting) that he was recommending the Boston firm 
of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, whose principal, Ralph Adams Cram, 
had done so much work at Princeton. But Cram it was, and Cram, 
upon visiting the level, almost treeless site of the Rice campus, decid- 
ed that an eclectic blend of Mediterranean styles would be most 
appropriate. How much if any influence Lovett had on Cram's deci- 
sion it is impossible to know; Cram had just returned from a trip to 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Florence. But the resulting design drew from styles sweeping from 
Spain to Florence and beyond, with a pronounced Venetian and 
Byzantine aspect also. Interestingly, fourteen months after the choice 
of Cram, Lovett mentioned to Charles W. Eliot of Harvard that the 
architects were contemplating the use of reflecting pools, "thereby 
heightening the Venetian effect, for which they strive. "^^ 

Along with buildings, of course, the new institute would need 
teachers, and Lovett set about the task of identifying and attracting 
faculty with great energy. (Musing about the organization of the uni- 
versity and the ideal number of faculty while in Scotland in August 
1908, Lovett had drawn up a chart that listed by field 10 senior pro- 
fessors, 19 junior professors, 36 lecturers, 38 instructors, and 36 fellows, 

Board of Trustees, 1911. Left to right: (seated) James Everett McAshan, 

Cesar Maurice Lomhardi, James Addison Baker; (standing) Benjamin Botts 

Rice, Edgar Odell Lovett, Emanuel Raphael, William Marsh Rice, Jr. 

The Education of a University President 


for a total staff of 139 members — but of course that was far too 
grandiose to achieve at the beginning.^6) Lovett had already devel- 
oped many contacts in the academic world both in the United States 
and in England and Europe (one purpose of his previous trip was to 
interest scholars in the educational endeavor about to be launched in 
Texas). And he solicited names from scholars he respected. For exam- 
ple, in late 1909 Lovett wrote Professor Edward Capps at Princeton, 
pointing out that he was "seeking those men for which every institu- 
tion is looking, young men of some performance and great promise 
who are first-class men already, or, in the opinion of first-class men, are 
destined to reach the front rank." He then went on to say that his 
"search would be greatly facilitated, if you would allow me to make a 
draft on your extensive personal knowledge of men, both in your field 
and in the wider University world" for what Lovett called "appoint- 
ments of unusual opportunity."^^ Over the next few years he had cor- 
respondence with faculty at such places as Harvard, Cambridge, and 
Stanford concerning prospective faculty. He also had sent to dozens of 
American and European scholars pen-and-ink drawings of the Cram- 
designed buildings for the Rice campus and was beginning to receive 
from them letters of praise both for the architecture and for the entire 
project. He returned to England and the Continent in early 1912 to 
search for and interview prospective faculty, and his letters from 
London, Berlin, and Paris suggest the breadth of his search.^^ Earlier 
advisers to the Rice trustees had proposed trying to find faculty from 
the South and the West, but the trustees obviously supported Lovett's 
efforts to get the very best faculty he could from anywhere in the 
world. The result was a small but extremely distinguished faculty: 
Griffith C. Evans in math from Harvard; Harold A. Wilson in physics 
from the Cavendish Laboratories by way of McGill; Julian Huxley in 
biology from Oxford; Albert Guerard in French from Stanford; 
Stockton Axson in literature from Princeton; and other men educat- 
ed at the best universities in the world. ^^ Lovett was attempting to ful- 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

fill the aphoristic advice to "put brains before bricks." That such a fac- 
ulty would come to a new institution located beyond the paved streets 
of Houston is eloquent testimony to Lovett's charisma and persuasive- 

A campus was being constructed, faculty were being appointed, and 
Lovett simultaneously began spreading the word about the new insti- 
tution in the hope of attracting students. The Southern Educational 
Association met in Houston in December 1911, and Lovett had print- 
ed for distribution to the attendees a handsome pamphlet, complete 
with sketches of the planned buildings and an inspiring description of 
the aims of the new university. Earlier a special issue of the Southern 
Architectural Review was devoted to the new campus, and it had, in 
addition to numerous detailed architectural drawings, an appreciative 
essay on the designs by William Ward Watkin, the representative of 
the firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson who was responsible for the 
actual construction (and later the first professor of architecture at the 
Rice Institute ).4C' Lovett managed to get an expansive note about the 

The Administration Building and Mechanical Engineering Laboratory 
under construction, viewed from the foundation of the residential halls. 

The Education of a University President 


Construction oj the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. 

Construction of the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory, 
March 9, 1912. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Construction of the Administration Building, May 1912. 

Administration Building Hearing completion. 

The Education of a University President 


new institute published in Popular Science Monthly in December 
1910.41 Lovett was also extremely busy on the lecture circuit, spread- 
ing the word about the new institution he was shepherding into cre- 
ation: he spoke to civic groups, to learned societies, and at college 
commencements (University of Texas and Texas Christian University, 
for example, in 1911). While Lovett spoke on a variety of subjects 
dealing with scholarship and education, he often spelled out his goals 
for the new university, revealing, explicitly, the influence on him of 
the municipal or civic universities that had arisen in England. For 
example, in an address to a group of Houston businessmen on April 
29, 1910, he said: 

/ believe that the new institution is to play in 
Houston a role similar to that of the newer univer- 
sities which have risen recently in the manufactur- 
ings centers of northern England in response to a 
popular demand for utility, efficiency and cheap- 
7iess in higher education. These modern universi- 
ties aim at uniting the study of pure science with 
its applications to industry and commerce; they 
seek to differentiate themselves from schools of 
technology by giving due and sufficient place to 
the humanities or liberal arts; and finally to reach 
men and women from every walk of life they place 
themselves in line ivith the so-called educational 
ladder; whose loiver rungs are in the primary and 
secondary schools of the country. '^^ 

After building delays and other unforeseen problems, William 
Marsh Rice's dream and Edgar Odell Lovett's project came to fruition 
on September 23, 1912, when the first students (59, but later a total 
of 77 showed up for classes), assembled with the dozen initial faculty. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 


^^s //,. ^;^ 

First class of the Rice Institute, September 23, 1 912, 
with Dr. Lovett in the center. 

to open the Rice Institute, twelve years to the day after the murder of 
Mr. Rice in his Manhattan apartment. The students, faculty, trustees, 
and city leaders gathered several days later in the faculty chamber of 
the administration building (now Founders Room, Lovett Hall), for 
the matriculation exercises, and when Lovett spoke to the students, he 
called them each by name, and then, in words heavily reminiscent of 
Woodrow Wilson, Lovett said: 

/ trust that ive begin here today cooperation in high 
and noble tasks, ivith the common sympathy, affec- 
tion, and energy ivhich would characterize the 
members of a growing and immense family. I 
require that those who listen to my words should 
hold one faith luith me. They must believe in the 

The Education of a University President 


value of human reason; they must love beautiful 
things and consider them important; they must be 
enthusiastic for their fellow-men. They must 
believe that it is possible to learn and that it is also 
possible to teach. ^^ 

The Rice Institute had opened, but Lovett had in mind a far more 
spectacular formal opening, scheduled for October 10, 11, and 12, 
1912, and modeled after the grand Princeton sesquicentennial cele- 
bration of 1896. Following the example of that event, Lovett invited 
a galaxy of scholars from around the world (including Nobel laureate 
Sir William Ramsay from London, Hugo de Vries from Amsterdam, 
Emile Borel from Paris, Sir Henry Jones from Glasgow, and Vito 
Volterra from Rome) to present papers — "an array of learning," 
according to the New York Times, "seldom assembled in the United 
States. "44 There were three days of lectures, concerts by the Kneisel 
Quartet from New York City, luncheons and dinners featuring toasts 
and speeches from local, state, and national celebrities (including 
President Harry Pratt Judson of the University of Chicago and 
President Ira Remsen of Johns Hopkins University), an ode, as at 
Princeton, by Henry van Dyke, a special chartered train to Galveston 
for a "shore dinner" at the newly opened Galvez Hotel, a city-wide 
religious celebration on Sunday, October 13, after the official cere- 
monies, and the keynote event, an address on Saturday by Lovett enti- 
tled "The Meaning of the New Institution" that spelled out in detail 
his expansive vision for the Rice Institute. 

Lovett intended this extraordinary academic celebration that even 
outdid the 1896 festivities at Princeton as a grand public relations 
event. He was announcing to the entire world of scholarship that a 
major new university had just been born; he wanted that announce- 
ment to signal the university's extraordinary promise and at the same 
time establish at the beginning a tradition of excellence. He had 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

mailed elaborate invitation scrolls to scholars, universities, learned 
societies, and research institutes around the world inviting them to 
send delegates to Houston; many did, and even more sent congratula- 
tory telegrams, beautifully calligraphed scrolls heralding the new insti- 
tution, or simply their best wishes.45 AH the formal papers presented, 
including Lovett's address, were published in three magnificent vol- 
umes collectively entitled The Book of the Opening, published in 1915 by 
the same printer in New York City that had published Princeton's sin- 
gle sesquicentennial volume — and the Rice volumes were dedicated to 
then President Woodrow Wilson. Lovett had more than 1200 sets of 
the books sent to libraries, scholars, and learned societies in the 
United States and abroad. From the published reviews and notices, 
and from the thank-you letters received, every aspect of the opening 
ceremonies — the impressive invitations, the calf-skin-bound pro- 
grams, the elaborate series of speeches, dinners, and receptions, and 
the stunning Book of the Opening — vividly announced to the world the 
bold ambition and high aspirations of the new institution. Lovett had 
insured that the scholarly world would take notice of the founding of 
the Rice Institute on the prairie several miles outside the small city of 
Houston in the still almost frontier state of Texas, more than a thou- 
sand miles from University of Chicago and even further from Stanford 
University and traditional seats of learning in the East. The public 
relations gamble worked. Lovett succeeded in placing the Rice 
Institute on the academic map in one brilliant stroke of showmanship. 
And having gotten the attention he wanted, he took the opportunity 
to articulate at great length an ambitious statement of purpose for the 
new university, a visionary program that has to an extraordinary degree 
shaped the development of the institution. Rice University is, more 
than almost any other university, the fulfillment of one man's vision. 
As President Lovett stood before the assembly on October 12, 1912, 
to explain "The Meaning of the New Institution," the significance of 
the moment and the prospect before him caused him to be nearly over- 

The Education of a University President 



















Profeeeor Sir ^osepb 5obn tTbomeon, ©./lb., jf.lR.S. 







Invitation to the Formal Opening of the Rice Institute. 

32 Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

The President. Coitncil. and Fellows of Tlil-: ROYAI. 
Society Ol- London for promoUng Natural Knowledge 
send cordial congratulations to the Governors and Staff of 
The Rice Institute, at Houston. Texas, on the initia- 
tion of the active scientific career of that important 

They trust that THE RiCE INSTITUTE has a brilliant 
career before it. as a centre of enlightenment and discovery. 
for the advantage of the whole world, and in particular of 
the great State in which the Institute has its seat. 

Signed on behalf of the ROYAL SocrETY OF LONDON 

for promoting Natural Knowledge 

September IQ12. / ... 

Certificate of Congratulations to the Rice Institute from the 
Royal Society of London, September 1 912. 

come with emotion. 46 "On the anniversary of Columbus's arrival," he 
announced, "we too are setting out on a voyage of discovery." He 
began by acknowledging that "For this fair day we have worked and 
prayed and waited. In the faith of high adventure, in the joy of high 
endeavor, in the hope of high achievement, we have asked for 
strength, and with the strength a vision,... And Today... the Rice 

The Education of a University President 


Institute which was to be, in this its modest beginning, now has come 
to be.. . ."47 He touched upon the vagueness of the original charter, the 
great educational needs of the South, the positive contributions uni- 
versities could make to the commercial and industrial prospects of 
their home city. He confirmed the trustees' decision only to spend 
endowment income and to house the institution "in noble architec- 
ture... conspicuous alike for their beauty and for their utility."48 Then 

Delegates and visitors at the Formal Opening of the Rice Institute, 

October 12, 1912, standing in front of South Hall 

(note Will Rice College). 

he mentioned that the ambitious plans of the university were careful- 
ly tailored both to financial reality and the needs of the region. 
Munificent though the resources were, they were finite; the university 
was located in a "new and rapidly developing country," and the needs 
of the region seemed at first to call primarily for "a school of science. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and thf ("rkation of Rice University 

pure and applied." Hence, in words that shaped the first fifty years of 
the Rice Institute, he continued: 

Accordingly, and in the spirit of the founder's ded- 
ication of the Institute, it was proposed that the 
new institution should enter upon a university pro- 
gramme, beginning at the science end. As regards 
the letters end of the threefold dedication, it was 
proposed to characterize the iiistitution as one 
both of liberal and technical learning, and to real- 
ize the larger characteristics as rapidly as circum- 
stances might permit. 

This, he said, was the school's purpose in a "nutshell-''^"^ 
But despite its attention to local needs and a beginning emphasis on 
science, Lovett insisted that "the new institution... aspires to universi- 
ty standing of the highest grade." "For the present," he stated, "it is 
proposed to assign no upper limit to its educational endeavor...." For 
course work in the "three grand divisions, science, humanity, technol- 
ogy," the university was seeking "the best available instructors and 
investigators ...wherever they may be found." He defended the desig- 
nation of "Institute" as a representation of "the functions of a teaching 
university of learning, and, at least in some of its departments, those of 
the more recent research institutions founded in this country and 
abroad." And in recognition of a genuinely novel feature of the new 
university, he said that "all courses of instruction and investigation, 
graduate and undergraduate, will be open both to young men and to 
young women, and for the present, without tuition and without fees."^^"' 
And he promised scholarships and fellowships and expected part-time 
jobs to materialize in the city, all of which would help to realize the 
"founder's desire" that the educational opportunities of his institute 
"should be brought within the reach of the promising student of slen- 

The Education of a University President 


der means. "51 

Fully aware of the developments in higher education over the last 
generation and the new appreciation of the role of universities in pro- 
moting research as well as teaching, Lovett made clear that the Rice 
Institute was in step with the advanced conceptions of universities. Its 
functions included "the preservation of knowledge,... the discovery 
and distribution of knowledge,... the applications of knowledge, and 
...the making of knowledge-makers. "^2 Over and over Lovett empha- 
sized the responsibility for research, perhaps because there were no 
other research universities within hundreds of miles of Houston. 
Graduate studies were at the heart of the university as Lovett planned 
it. He insisted that "no university can live without the vitalizing reac- 
tion of original investigation." But then he balanced that statement by 
saying that "To the privileges of research. . .must be added the pleasures 
of teaching and public lecturing — " Drawing on the example of 
Princeton, where Wilson's phalanx of young preceptors had energized 
both teaching and faculty intellectual life, Lovett said that at Rice 
"the first-year students shall be brought directly under the tutelage of 
the senior members of the university" and receive the benefit of the 
"enthusiasm and erudition of the preceptor."55 Moreover, again repre- 
senting developments at Princeton and the controversy over the loca- 
tion of its graduate college, Lovett expected at Rice that "there should 
be a constant and close association of undergraduate work and gradu- 
ate work — " Just as he wanted to break down artificial distinctions 
between faculty and students (in the tradition of the University of 
Virginia, where even titles were dispensed with), he also wanted to 
blur the line between undergraduates and graduate students: "Free 
intercourse with advanced students is inspiring and encouraging to 
undergraduates." To further that end, Lovett indicated that he wanted 
to develop a democratic college system as soon as possible, with stu- 
dents (undergraduate and graduate) and instructors living together 
and the whole governed by students themselves. Moreover, the course 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

work and examinations of the university would be conducted under 
the auspices of an honor system, itself governed by students. 54 Lovett 
called for the provision of ample athletic fields and an extensive pro- 
gram of intramural sports, warning at the same time against the "dan- 
gers in over-training, in high specialization, in professional tendencies 
in the highly developed team [sportsl," a problem then plaguing many 
American universities. ^5 

The Rice curriculum reflected recent university attitudes toward 
the elective system, widely associated with Charles W. Eliot's reforms 
at Harvard, and the steady progression from more general courses in 
the first two years toward more specialized courses in the final two, a 
program associated with Wilson's Princeton and Harper's Chicago. 
Lovett also explained that for disciplines such as engineering and 
architecture, a fifth year of specialization would follow the four-year 
bachelor's degree. Even in engineering and the more applied branches 
of the sciences, students would have extensive course work in pure sci- 
ences and pure mathematics. Moreover, "It is intended in the engi- 
neering courses to pay special attention to the theoretical side.... "56 
While the location of Rice in a new and developing region suggested 
the primary importance of utilitarian programs in science and engi- 
neering, Lovett made certain that the pure science foundation courses 
would not be lacking. In similar fashion, he made clear that the non- 
science offerings would be relevant to the present-day world. "By lib- 
eral learning," he wrote, "we no longer mean the so-called classical 
humanities alone, but also the new humanism constituted of modern 
civilization and modern culture, of modern letters and modern sci- 
ence. "57 Accordingly, for example, instruction in modern languages 
was privileged over classical languages. 

In dozens of speeches both before and after his formal address at the 
opening of the Rice Institute, Lovett spoke of the university's unusual 
freedom — it depended neither on state nor church support because of 
its private endowment and was therefore free of interference. Perhaps 

The Education of a University President 


his experience with German universities — where the concepts of 
Lernfreiheit (the students' freedom to choose their course of studies and 
live outside university housing and control) and Lehrfreiheit (the pro- 
fessors' complete freedom to do research and teach without university 
or state interference) had originated^s — expanded by his time spent at 
Johns Hopkins and Princeton especially, had taught Lovett the value 
of what we today would call academic freedom. It was still a relatively 
new concept in 1912, as witnessed by the scandalous firing of Edward 
A. Ross at Stanford in 1901 because of his political views. 59 Perhaps it 
was with the Ross case in mind that Lovett praised the situation at 
Rice, whose "trustees are building for the founder a university whose 
greatest strength... is in its freedom: in the freedom of its faculties of 
science, humanity, and technology, to teach and to search — each man 
a freeman to teach the truth as he finds it, each man a freeman to seek 
the truth wherever truth may lead...."60 

Towards the end of his long address/essay on the new university, 
Lovett returned to an implicit theme throughout, the responsibility of 
a university and its members — faculty, students, and eventually alum- 
ni — to serve the larger society. He meant not just filling the ranks of 
society's medical, engineering, legal, and business professions but help- 
ing inform public opinion and elevating the humanity of the larger 
society.^"'i On these topics one hears in Lovett echoes of Woodrow 
Wilson's two famous speeches on Princeton's role in the nation, but for 
Lovett this principle was a guiding ethos, not just a reflection of some- 
one else's ideas. To the theme of service he returned again and again 
for the remainder of his years at Rice in every form of communication, 
even having the phrase "science in the service of society" carved into 
the cornerstone of the new physics building completed in 1915. By the 
early twentieth century there was a widespread backlash in American 
universities against the German emphasis on pure science and a 
counter emphasis on utilitarian research, and Lovett reflected this 
shift. 62 One part of the university's responsibility to serve the society. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

he stated, was to open its libraries and lectures halls and campus to the 
townspeople. He also spelled out an elaborate system of free extension 
courses offered to the public, pointing out that "Education does not 
...end in the university. It is a matter of life, the whole span of life...." 
In every way at its disposal, the Rice Institute had a responsibility to 
build up learning, culture, science, and expertise in Houston, in Texas, 
in the South, and in the nation. He had an almost Mencken-like 
recognition that the South "had not held her own with the rest of the 
country in science and scholarship," and Rice should do what it could 
to elevate secondary and higher education in the region. ^^ 

The published version of Lovett's speech was much longer than 
that delivered at the opening ceremonies, but what he said was suffi- 
cient both to explain the origins of the university and to reveal his 
extraordinarily bold ambitions for it, a tiny new institution that must 
have seemed to many of the 1912 visitors to be sited on the very edge 
of civilization. Lovett envisioned not merely a local technical insti- 
tute, not a small teaching college, but rather a research university that 
dared to be associated with the great universities of the world. "This 
academic festival," he stated, "provided the first alignment of the Rice 
Institute with other institutions." And although it was at the moment 
"a child hoping to grow in favor, to gain the confidence and to win the 
respect of older foundations," Lovett believed he could behold in its 
features the making of an academic "giant. "^'4 That hope, that expec- 
tation, that aspiration for the Rice Institute, Lovett would embody for 
his entire presidency. In 1914 one of the first professors, Radoslav A. 
Tsanoff, wrote to his mentor at Cornell that "The Institute is strange- 
ly like Dr. Lovett — enthusiastic but steady, solid and ambitious for 
genuineness and 'nothing but the best.' One feels that here an honest 
endeavor is being made to build up, not the gaudy shell of a universi- 
ty, but a real seat of scientific learning and culture." And when Lovett 
announced his retirement in 1941, William Ward Watkin, who had as 
an architect working for Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson supervised the 

The Education of a University President 


initial construction of the campus and remained ever after as a profes- 
sor of architecture, offered a fitting valedictory: "Out of the marsh and 
swamps of this campus you have brought beauty and fineness at every 
step along the way. Into its building you have woven your life with all 
its clearness and kindliness. All that we see about us is yours in every 
sense, creative, nurturing, and fulfilling toward an enduring meaning. 
It will ever be yours.... "^5 J^i^e is Edgar Odell Lovett's university. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Dedication ceremonies renaming the Administration Building in honor of 

Dr. Lovett, December 4, 19^7 . Left to right: Harry Carothcrs Wiess, 

Lamar Fleming, Jr., Harry Clay Hanszen, Edgar Odell Lovett, William 

Alexander Kirkland, Qeorge R. Broum, WilliamV. Houston, Qus Sessions 

Wortham, Frederick Rice Lummis. 

The Education of a University President 



1 Andrew Forest Muir, William Marsh Rice and His Institute: A Biographical Study, 

edited by Sylvia Stallings Morris, Rice University Studies, Vol. 58 (Spring 
1972), 151 (first quotation), 154 (second quotation). 

2 David Starr Jordan to Emanuel Raphael, January 15, 1907. Institute Papers, Box 

102, E. Raphael Materials, Institute Papers, Fondren Library, Rice 

3 Emanuel Raphael and J. E. McAshan for the Rice Trustees to Woodrow Wilson, 

Qanuary 10, 1907]. Box 13, Lovett Papers, Fondren Library. The same letter 
went to all those from whom nominations were solicited. 

4 James A. Baker to H. C. Pritchett, April 10, 1907. Box 98, Institute Papers, 

Fondren Library. 

5 Typed document by Lovett, dated July 7, 1944, in Lovett Information File, 

Fondren Library. See also Fredericka Meiners, A History of Rice University: 
The Institute Years, 1907-1963 (Flouston, 1982), p. 18. For Wilson's "strong 
recommeridation," see Emanuel Raphael to Woodrow Wilson, March 21, 
1907, in Papers ofWoodroiv Wilson, ed. by Arthur S. Link et al. (69 vols.: 
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966-1994), Vol. 17, p. 88. See also 
William Royal Wilder to Woodrow Wilson, October 22, 1907, in Papers of 
Woodroiu Wilson, vol. 17, pp. 448-49. 

6 Qames A. Baker] to Edgar Odell Lovett, December 19, 1907. Box 1 lold system], 

Lovett Papers. 

■^ Letter referred to in Rice Board Minutes, December 28, 1907. 

8 Edgar Odell Lovett to Elmanuel] Raphael, January 2, 1908. Box 13 told system], 
Lovett Papers. Actually Lovett, after official word from Princeton authori- 
ties that his resignation would be accepted, then wrote a more official accep- 



W V. Houston, "[Obituary of| Edgar Odell Lovett (1871-1957)," Year Book of the 
American Philosophical Society, 1957, p. 138. 

Lovett often claimed that the South's contribution to higher education reform 
was the honor system, pioneered at Virginia. He apparently first spoke of 
Virginia's creation of the system in 1903. See his "Educational Address. 
Delivered at Marion Military Institute, Government Day," reprinted in 
Marion Military Institute Bulletin, New Series, Vol. I (July 4, 1903), 12. Copy 
in Folder 49.1, Box 49, Lovett Papers. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

•1 For a useful summary of the impact of the German educational institutions, see 
Willis Rudy, The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914 (Rutherford, Madison, 
and Teaneck, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1984), 98-99, 
128-29, and 118-19. See also Abraham Flexner, Universities: American, 
English, Qennan (New York and other cities: Oxford University Press, 1930), 

•^ The two most useful histories of higher education in the U.S. are Frederick 
Rudolph, The American College and University: A History. Introductory Essay 
and Supplemental Bibliography by John R. Thelin (Athens and London: 
University of Georgia Press, 1990), and Laurence R. Vesey, The Emergence of 
the American University (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 
1965). Neither mentions the Rice Institute. In fact, both are extremely 
focused on northern and northeastern colleges. Rudolph, for example, has 
more index entries on Williams College alone than all southern private col- 
leges and universities combined. For a more narrow focus on graduate work, 
see Richard J. Storr, The Begiimings of Qraduate Education m America 
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953). 

'3 Woodrow Wilson, "Princeton in the Nation's Service," in Memorial Booh of the 
Sescjuicentennial Celebration of the Founding of the College ofNeiv Jersey and of the 
Ceremonies Inaugurating Princeton University (New York: Published for The 
Trustees of Princeton University, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1898), 116. 

H Ibid., passim, 116-25. 

15 Ibid., 127 (first quotation), 128 (second quotation). 

•6 Ibid., 129-30. 

17 Woodrow Wilson, Princeton for the Nation's Service: An Address Delivered on the 
Occasion of his Inauguration as President of Princeton University o)i October 
Twenty-Fifth MCMII (Princeton, N.J.: Printed not published, 1903), 6-7 
(first three quotations), 21 (fourth quotation), 27. 


Hardin Craig, Woodroiv Wilson at Princeton University (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1960), 4- For a detailed discussion of Wilson's presidency 
of Princeton, see Arthur S. Link, Wilson: The Road to the White House 
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947), 37-92. 

According to Hardin Craig, "Wilson believed in learning rather than teach- 
ing." Craig, Woodrow Wilson, 4. 

Andrew Walworth, Woodroiv WUson (third edition, revised; New York: W W 
Norton and Company, Inc., 1978), 93. There are several excellent essays on 
Princeton during the Wilson years in William Starr Myers, Woodroiv Wilson: 
Some Princeton Memories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946), but 

The Education of a University President 



see especially George McLean Harper, "A Happy Family," 1-12, and Edwin 
Grant Conklin, "As a Scientist Saw Him," 52-61. 

See the detailed discussion in Walworth, Woodwiv Wilson, pp. 103-4. Walworth 
has a long quote from Wilson to the Princeton trustees in 1906 spelling out 
his conception of the college system. Stockton Axson, who was Wilson's 
brother-in-law, provides strong evidence for Wilson's opposition to the din- 
ing clubs for their undemocratic and hierarchical nature. See Axson, Brother 
Woodroiu: A Memoir of Woodroic Wilson (Princeton: Princeton University 
Press, 1993), 116, 118, 126-30. 

The nature oi Wilson's troubles at Princeton are spelled out in Walworth, 
Woodrow Wilson, 1 04-1 5 . 

Woodrow Wilson to Edgar Odell Lovett, March 11, 1907. Box 13 [old system], 
Lovett Papers. 

Edgar Odell Lovett to Woodrow Wilson, [undated, but probably within several 
days of Wilson's March 1 1 letter to him]. Box 13 [old system], Lovett papers. 

Edgar Odell Lovett to Emanuel Raphael, January 2, [1908] (first quotation); 
Edgar Odell Lovett to Woodrow Wilson, January 3, 1908 (second quotation) 
Box 13 lold system], Lovett Papers. When the Daily Princetonian mentioned 
with regret Lovett's leaving Princeton, it concluded its story by saying "May 
he carry the ideals and the spirit of Princeton with him and inculcate them 
in the great institution he is to build up." Daily Princetonian, January 11, 

26 Rice Trustees Minutes, Vol. 11, entry for March 11, 1908 

Undated clipping from unnamed Houston paper, sent to Lovett by FCWleems], 
whom Lovett had just hired to be his private secretary on his trip to Europe 
and beyond. Lovett Papers. The University of Chicago also had a master 
plan for its campus, and it was across the street from the great White City of 
the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. See Thomas A. Gaines, The 
Campus as a Work of Art (New York and other cities: Praeger, 1991), 50-51; 
and Richard P. Dober, Campus Planning (New York and other cities: 
Reinhold Book Corporation, 1963), 32-34. 

See Rudy, Universities of Europe, 118-19, 120-21, 126, 129; Sarah V. Barnes, 
"England's Civic Universities and the Triumph of the Oxbridge Ideal," 
History of Education Qiiarterly, 36 (Fall 1996), 271, 276-77; W H. G. 
Armytage, Four Hundred Years of English Education (2nd edition; Cambridge: 
Cambridge University Press, 1970), 190-91; Richard Burdon Haldane, 
Selected Addresses cmd Essays (Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1970), 
130-33; Richard Burdon Haldane, Education and Empire: Addresses on Certain 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Topics of the Day (London: John Murray, 1902), 16-18, 21-22, 30. 

29 Lovett had a carefully arranged daybook with forms to indicate who he visited, 

the buildings inspected, their size and material, and so on, but he seldom 
filled in more than where he was each day, although he often listed the peo- 
ple interviewed. But the "comments" section was usually left blank. The day- 
books are in Box 2, Lovett papers. At Stanford, Lovett met with President 
David Starr Jordan, who in 1907 had written the Rice trustees describing the 
characteristics they should seek in a president, and, later, in 1916, Jordan 
gave the commencement address at the first graduation exercises of the Rice 
Institute. See David Starr Jordan, The Days of a Man: Being Memories of a 
Naturalist, Teacher, and Minor Prophet of Democracy (2 vols.; Yonkers-on- 
Hudson, N.Y.: World Book Company, 1922), II, 689. 

30 While in England the Lovetts visited the vacationing Woodrow Wilsons, and 

after the visit Wilson wrote Lovett that "It is very interesting to hear of what 
you are doing, and I am sure that by the time this journeying is over you will 
feel very much settled in all your purposes. I could see in our talk at Rydal 
[in the lake country] that you had already begun to see your way both nega- 
tively and affirmatively, and it will always be a real gratification to me to 
think that 1 was of some service to you in the matter." Wilson to Lovett, 
November 20, 1908. Box 13 [old system], Lovett Papers. 

31 Edgar Odell Lovett to Emanuel Raphael, October 15, 1908. Box 1, Lovett 

Papers. Lovett may also have remembered how cramped the original campus 
of Johns Hopkins was, located on several blocks in downtown Baltimore. In 
1902 Hopkins acquired a more spacious 140-acre campus in the northern 
Homewood section of the city, and the university moved there in 1916. John 
C. French, A History of the University Founded by Johns Hopkins (Baltimore: 
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1946), 57-58, 119-30, 158-59, 170. 

32 Edgar Odell Lovett to Emanuel Raphael, December 1, 1908. Box 1, Lovett 


" Edgar Odell Lovett to Emanuel Raphael, January 31, 1909 (first quotation), and 
March 14, 1909 (second quotation). Box 1, Lovett Papers. 

34 Notations in the daybook dated August 1, 1908 (first quotation), August 14, 

1908 (second quotation), September 3, 1908 (third quotation), August 11, 
1908 (fourth quotation). Box 2, Lovett Papers. 

35 Minutes for July 14, July 15, August 4, 1909. Trustee Minutes, Vol. II; and Edgar 

Odell Lovett to Charles W Eliot, September 27, 1910. Box 13 [old system], 
Lovett Papers. In his autobiography Cram claims complete credit for coming 
up with a "measurably new style," drawing from "southern France, Italy, 
Dalmatia... Byzantium... Spain...." He even said that "no ideas Iwere] 

The Education of a University President 



imposed by President or Trustees." This is doubtful, given Lovett's very heavy 
involvement in the later design, involvement so intense that the architec- 
tural firm thought it necessary to ask him to back off from interference in the 
design work they had after all been hired to do. See Ralph Adams Cram, My 
Life in Architecture (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1936), 126 (first two 
quotations) and 124 (third quotation). See, for the last point, the letter from 
Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson to Edgar Odell Lovett, March 17, 1910. Box 3.1 
[old system], Lovett Papers. Stephen Fox, who has written the definitive 
study of the early buildings and campus design at Rice, argues persuasively 
that Cram's partner, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, was largely responsible for 
the general siting of the buildings and the spaciousness of the campus. See 
Stephen Fox, The Qeneral Plan of the William M. Rice Institute and Its 
Architectural Development (Houston: Rice University School of Architecture, 

See sheet interleaved between pages for August 10 and August 11, 1908, in 
Round the World daybook. Box 2, Lovett Papers. 

^7 Edgar Odell Lovett to Edward Capps, December 18, 1909. Box 1 [old system], 
Lovett Papers. 

^8 See Edgar Odell Lovett to John McCants, January 20, January 29, February 4, 
1912, from London, Paris, and Berlin, respectively. Box 16.1 [old system], 
Lovett Papers. 

39 The initial faculty, where they got their degrees, and their former employment 

are listed in The Rice Institute: Preliminary Amiouncements for the Second 
Academic Year Beginning September Twenty'Fourth Nineteen Hundred and 
Thirteen {Houston, 1913), 10-13. 

40 Southern Architectural Review, 1 (November 1910), 110-35. 

41 Popidar Scieyice Monthly, 11 (December 1910), 612-15. The story was under the 

heading, "The Progress of Science." 

42 The speech was reprinted in Progressive Houston, 2 (May 1910), 2-5 (quotation 

on p. 2). Lovett referred by name to Haldane's concept of the "civic univer- 
sity" in his formal address at the opening of the Rice Institute. See Edgar 
Odell Lovett, "The Meaning of the New Institution," [reprinted in this vol- 
ume], p. 129. 

43 Edgar Odell Lovett, "Matriculation Address," September 27, 1912. Folder 49.7, 

Box 49, Lovett Papers. 

44 New York Times, October 11, 1912, p. 10. There had been a huge, half-page 

spread with illustrations on the Rice Institute in the February 25, 1912, issue 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

of the New York Times under the headline "Murdered Man's Estate Funds 
Great University" (Pt. 5, p. 8). See also NeuYork Tunes, Sept. 29, 1912, Pt. 
5, p. 18; Sept. 30. 1912, p. 8; Oct. 2, 1912, p. 9; and Oct. 27, 1912, Pt. 1, p. 

45 The invitations, on beautiful scrolls, were sent in an exquisitely lacquered 

wooden cylinder, and they clearly wowed most recipients. Chancellor J. H. 
Kirkland of Vanderbilt wrote Lovett, "I do not know that I have ever seen so 
elaborate an invitation." Kirkland to Lovett, July 2, 1912, in Box 4.1 [old sys- 
tem], Lovett Papers. Professor J. W. Mackail of Oxford University, one of the 
keynote speakers at the opening ceremonies, called the formal invitation "a 
most magnificent document." MacKail to Lovett, June 25, 1912, in Box 12 
[old system], Lovett Papers. Lovett's intention succeeded: every aspect of the 
opening, from the first hearing of it, suggested excellence of the highest 

46 One of the participants, President R. W. D. Bryant of the University of New 

Mexico, wrote to Mrs. Lovett on October 23, 1912, thanking her and her 
husband for their hospitality, and then he said, "As I saw on several occa- 
sions during those wonderfully interesting inaugural exercises, the emotions 
of your husband and how hard at times it was for him to control himself, I 
realized how much the consummation of long years of thought and endeav- 
or meant to him, especially when he felt that the thing he has dreamed of 
and planned for was even greater than his anticipations." Box 3.1 [old sys- 
tem], Lovett Papers. 

4' "Meaning of the New Institution," p. 72 first quotation) and 53 (second quota- 
tion). I will be quoting from the essay as reprinted in this volume. It origi- 
nally appeared in the Rice Institute Pamphlet , 1 (April 1915), 45-132. It may 
also be found in The Book of the Openins^ of the Rice Institute (3 vols.; Houston: 
The Rice Institute, [1915]), 132-219." 

48 "Meaning of the New Institution." 60 

49 Ibid., 63. 


Ibid., 64. The 1891 charter restricted admission to whites, and although the 
university relatively soon admitted Hispanic and Asian students, blacks were 
denied admission. No contemporary correspondents with Lovett ever men- 
tioned, much less criticized, the charter's proscription of blacks. It was the 
completely accepted (by whites) practice of the time. For example, in 
response to a North Carolinian's complaint about southern students feeling 
uncomfortable over the presence of black students at Harvard, Harvard pres- 
ident Charles W. Eliot wrote in 1909 that "It is really impossible for Harvard 
University to draw a color line; and yet we know that a color line against the 
African is drawn, and must be drawn, in educational institutions throughout 

The Education of a University President 

the South." Charles W. EUot to [William Carrot] Brown, January 18, 1909. 
William Carrot Brown Papers, Special Collections Library, Duke University, 
Durham, North Carolina. (Melissa Kean brought this quotation to my atten- 
tion.) In this light it is interesting to see that in the fall of 1910, when Lovett 
sent pen-and-ink drawings of the new administration building at Rice (now 
named Lovett Hall) to educators at home and abroad, among those sent the 
drawing was Booker T. Washington. See the letter acknowledging receipt of 
the drawings, Emmett Scott to Lovett, September 14, 1910, Box 3.1 [old sys- 
tem], Lovett Papers. In 1962 the trustees instituted a lawsuit to revise the 
charter; subsequently blacks were first admitted in the fall of 1966, when 
tuition was also first charged (also the result of a charter change). 

51 "Meaning of the New Institution," 96. 

52 Ibid., 67. Graduate work in several science fields began immediately at the Rice 

Institute, and the first doctorate, a Ph.D. in mathematics, was awarded in 
1918, two years after the first graduation in 1916. 

55 Ibid., 79 (first three quotations) and 80 (last quotation). Rice never had faculty 
officially called preceptors, but Lovett seemed to assume that young single 
assistant professors and instructors would play the role without bearing the 

54 Ibid., 96-97 (first and second quotations), 83. The first residential halls were for 

men, but Lovett expected soon to construct housing on campus for women. 
Finally, in 1957, women moved into Jones College, when the first four men's 
colleges were developed with faculty masters and associates, their own din- 
ing halls, governance, and intramural teams. 

55 Ibid., 90-91 (quotation on p. 91). 

56 Ibid., 98-102 (quotation on p. 101 ). 

57 Ibid., no. 

5S Rudy, Universities of Europe, 128-29. 

w Veysey, Emergence of the American University, 409—18. 

6C Lovett, "Meaning of the New Institution, " 1 14. 

61 Ibid., 115-21. (_ 

62 Weysey., Emergence of the American University, 124—25, 180—81. 

65 Lovett, "Meaning oi the New Institution," 125-26, 121 (first quotation) and 
118 (second quotation). By the end of the academic year 1917-1918, some 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

66 extension courses had been offered, of 3 to 12 lectures each, and the 
attendance had ranged from 30 in a lecture to upwards of 1,000. For the 
titles and speakers, see "University Extension Lectures at the Rice 
Institute — A Record of Five Years," Rice Institute Pamphlet, V (January 
1918), 1-36. On Rice's influence on other local universities, Lovett in 1921 
said that Rice's "standards in scholarship, its research in science, its scholar- 
ly publications, have spurred every other education enterprise of this section 
to more strenuous effort and more hopeful endeavor." See "The City and the 
University: Remarks Made at a Meeting of the City Club of Houston, held 
at the University Club, 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, 1 February 1921, by Edgar Odell 
Lovett," p. 12 of typescript. Folder 50.23, Box 50, Lovett papers. 

64 Lovett, "Meaning of the New Institution," 82. 

65 Frank Thilly to Edgar Odell Lovett, November 17, 1914, enclosing a copy of 

the letter Tsanoff had sent to him. Box 14-4 [old system], Lovett Papers; and 
William Ward Watkin to Edgar Odell Lovett, May 18, 1941, Box 15.4 [old 
system], Lovett Papers. 

The Education of a University President 


President Edgar Odell Lovett delivering his inaugural address, 
October 12, 1912. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 






By Edgar Odell Lovett 

I • The Foundation: Its Source 

It is a common saying in drawing-room and market-place that we 
are living in a wonderful age. Perhaps no known period of the past 
towers up to it, unless it be the age of Pericles, or that in which the 
Roman Empire was consolidated, or that of the Reformation. No fea- 
tures of the age are more striking than the handsome foundations 
which have been provided by private donation for lengthening the 
days of man and enlarging the content of his spiritual life. Every child 
often years knows the names of Alfred Nobel and Cecil Rhodes, of Mr. 
[Andrew] Carnegie and Mr. [John D. ] Rockefeller, of [Stephen] Girard 
and [George] Peabody, of Johns Hopkins, Leland Stanford, and [Ezra] 
Cornell: the names of these gentlemen are household words, and in 
thousands of American homes their bearers have become household 

In this charmed circle of immortal philanthropists the name of 
William Marsh Rice is permanently inscribed this day by the poet of 
Princeton, the jurist of Texas, and the bishop of Tennessee. Thanks to 
the inaugural lectures of those twelve prophets of the fundamental sci- 
ences, the liberal humanities, the progress of modern learning, 
Altamira of Madrid, Borel of Paris, Croce of Naples, De Vries of 
Amsterdam, Jones of Glasgow, Kikuchi of Tokyo, Mackail of Oxford, 
Ostwald of Leipsic, the lamented Poincare of Paris, Ramsay of London, 
Stormer of Christiania, and Volterra of Rome, the good-will of Mr. 
Rice to open new springs of inspiration and living fountains of knowl- 
edge in an institution of liberal and technical learning becomes known 
to the world of letters and science and art, to whose advancement he 
gave of his substance and of his life. 

* Here and elsewhere I have supplied in brackets the first names of persons who are not elsewhere iden- 
tified in the address, with the exception of obvious names like Plato and Goethe (editor's note). 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

For this fair day we have worked and prayed and waited. In the faith 
of high adventure, in the joy of high endeavor, in the hope of high 
achievement, we have asked for strength, and with the strength a 
vision, and with the vision courage: the courage born of straight and 
clear thinking, the vision of enduring forms of human service, the 
strength in resolute and steadfast devotion to definite purpose. And to- 
day, by virtue of the founder's splendid gift to the people, by virtue of 
the public spirit of his early advisers, by virtue of the public service of 
those who defended his last will and testament and thereby protected 
the people's rights, by virtue of the covenant which his trustees have 
kept in all good faith and conscience, by virtue of the constant creative 
work of supervising architects and the arduous labors of constructive 
engineers, by virtue of the cheer and the criticism and the counsel of 
friends in the community and throughout the commonwealth, the 
Rice Institute which was to be, in this its modest beginning, now has 
come to be — the new foundation has accomplished in its own being 
the miracle of all living things: it has come to life, and from this day 
forth takes a place, let us hope of increasing influence and usefulness, 
among those institutions which have made possible the civilized life of 
men in communities of culture and restraint — the State, the Church, 
and the University. 

There are men and men and men. There are men of millions and 
men of millions. William Marsh Rice was a man in a million, an 
inspired millionaire who caught the prospect of monumental service to 
Houston, to Texas, the South, and the Nation. With no resources 
other than soundness of body and strength of will, from a New England 
home of English and Welsh forebears, he came to Texas in his youth to 
make his fortune. By temperate habits of industry and thrift he made a 
fortune in Texas. He left his fortune in Texas. He gave his fortune — 
the whole of it — to Texas, for the benefit of the youth of the land in 
all the years to come; thus writing in the history of Texas the first con- 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


spicuous example in this commonwealth of the complete dedication of 
a large private fortune to the public good. Moreover, resolutely living 
a simple life, he denied himself even the "durable satisfaction" of see- 
ing his philanthropy's realization in order that he might give more 
abundantly of life to his fellows and their successors. Shrewd in fore- 
sight, strong in purpose, of stout courage and independent spirit, gen- 
eration after generation will rise to call him blessed — "with honour, 
honour, honour, honour to him, eternal honour to his name." 

Beginning oj the academic procession at the Formal Opening, with tivo of 

the residential halls in the background; note band leading procession. John 

T. McCants, in his memoirs (1955), recalled that "the marching over the 

roadway, composed of very large gravel, ivas not easy. The large gravel 
had been placed to form the bed for the road ivhich was later to be finished 

with fine granite gravel, the gravel that gave to the roads of the campus 
their very attractive light pick effect." 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

II • The Foundation: Its Site 

To his trustees, a self-peq^etuating board of seven life members, 
the founder gave great freedom in the interpretation of his pro- 
gramme and corresponding discretion in the execution of its 
plans. The charter and testament under which these gentlemen dis- 
charge the obligations of their trusteeship are documents so liberal and 
comprehensive as to leave the institution under practically but one 
restriction, namely, its location must be in Houston, Texas. But there- 
in lies what is perhaps its greatest opportunity. For men who are too 
busy doing the world's work to find time to talk about it would tell you 
that there never were more insistent challenges to constructive think- 
ing than are confronting the South at the present time. Opportunity is 
written over the whole Southwest: opportunity commercial, opportu- 
nity political, opportunity educational, but educational opportunity is 
written larger than all the rest. We have problems to face, serious ones, 
that have been perplexing the South for a generation: but even to the 
most superficial observer it is daily becoming more and more apparent 
that any solution of these peculiar problems of the South calls for solu- 
tions of Southern educational problems in terms of educational oppor- 
tunities for all the people. Furthermore, the agricultural and industrial 
transformation now in process of development offers manifold addi- 
tional arguments to Southern men to prepare their sons for the posses- 
sion of this land of plenty and progress. Though for nearly a generation 
the ambitious young Southerner may have seen larger possibilities 
ahead of him farther from home, to-day he finds conditions complete- 
ly changed. Go South, young man! is the slogan in one section. Stay 
South, young man is the answering call of opportunity in the other. 

In the South and in the West, of the South and of the West, you 
find yourselves in an environment whose clear skies make men bland- 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


ly or keenly observant of their powers, whose mild climate keeps men 
constantly human and neighborly and friendly in ways of living whose 
democracy recognizes no inequalities; in an environment which will 
have its way with us unless we have our way with it; an environment 
bristling with opportunities for creative and constructive effort. You 
find yourselves in a State which can know no provincialism, because 
it has lived under seven flags. You find yourselves in a section of that 
State which lives under a categorical imperative of progress, for we of 
the plains are drawn by irresistible lure of the prairie, impelled to 
advance by beckoning mirage quite as wonderful as mountain 
prospect. You find yourselves among men who live their lives in the 
open, under a making sun that does not rise but jumps from the hori- 
zon fuU'Orbed in his noonday splendor. 

And how you do get into your blood and bone the wine and spirit 
of this country! Speedily you absorb its patriotism and pride, and as 
speedily come to feel the fearlessness and freedom, the frankness and 
the faith, that characterize the life of this Texan empire. For this rea- 
son it is that in portraying its virtues modesty is not a sin which doth 
so easily beset us. Houston — heavenly Houston, as it has been happily 
named by a distinguished local editor of more than local fame — you 
will find in some ways a bit too close to New York, perhaps, but here 
you will also find many a heartening reminder of the memories and tra- 
ditions of the South, and all the moving inspiration in the promise and 
adventure of the West. Here, in a cosmopolitan place, in a communi- 
ty shaking itself from the slow step of a country village to the self-con- 
scious stature of a metropolitan town, completing a channel to the 
deep blue sea, growing a thousand acres of skyscrapers, building schools 
and factories and churches and homes, you will learn to talk about 
lumber and cotton and railroads and oil, but you will also find every 
ear turned ready to listen to you if you really have anything to say 
about literature or science or art. Of cities there are genera and species 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

and types whose science is still to be written: cities of arms, cities of 
kings, cities of government, cities of commerce and industry, cities of 
pleasure and leisure, beautiful cities of art, holy cities of cathedrals and 
convents, university cities of letters and science. Houston at present 
may fail of qualifying for admission to certain of these classes, but there 
is great reason to rejoice in the commercial prosperity of the city and 
in the growing development of the community; for just as certainly as 
trade follows the flag, just so certainly does the patron of learning fol- 
low in the wake of the empire-builder. For builders of cities, great mer- 
chants and captains of industry, by the character of their work and the 
extent of their interests, are rendered alert, open-minded, hospitable 
to large ideas, accustomed to and tolerant of the widest divergencies of 
view. Thus it has come to be that great trading centers have often been 
conspicuous centers of vigorous intellectual life: Athens, Florence, 
Venice, and Amsterdam were cities great in commerce; but, inspired 
by the love of truth and beauty, they stimulated and sustained the 
finest aspirations of poets, scholars, and artists within their walls. It 
requires no prophet's eye to reach a similar vision for our own city. 1 
have felt the spirit of greatness brooding over the city. 1 have heard her 
step at midnight, 1 have seen her face at dawn. 1 have lived under the 
spell of the building of the city, and under the spell of the building of 
the city I have come to believe in the larger life ahead of us, in the 
house not made with hands which we begin this day to build. 
However, in the exultation of the moment in which we witness the 
dedication of the new university, we must not forget that the organi- 
zation which William Marsh Rice incorporated has already rendered 
the city and State of his adoption considerable service. I need hardly 
remind you that during recent years the Rice Institute has contributed 
in a substantial manner to the upbuilding of Greater Houston. On a 
conservative basis — always on a conservative basis — certain of the 
foundation's funds have been invested in various enterprises which 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


have sustained in no small measure the steady and continuous advance 
of the city in industrial and commercial prosperity. 

The epoch whose beginning we observe to-day with these formal 
exercises marks the period in which even more powerfully that same 
organization is to support the intellectual and spiritual welfare of the 
community; and, finally, to touch again upon the material side of 
progress, the very machinery by which the stone age of the new uni- 
versity is about to be transformed into its spiritual age will distribute 
the income of the foundation through the several channels of 
Houston's business, philanthropic, social, and religious life; and thus 
we contemplate with some degree of satisfaction the slow but sure evo- 
lution of a threefold influence on the material, the intellectual, and 
the spiritual aspects of the life of the city. 

Academic procession nears the Administration Building. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Ill • The Foundation: Its History 

It is now rather more than twenty years since several public-spirit- 
ed citizens of the community asked Mr. Rice to bear the expense 
of building a new public high school for the city of Houston. This 
direct gift to the city's welfare Mr. Rice was unwilling to make, but a 
few months later, taking into his confidence a half-dozen friends, he 
made known to them his desire to found a much larger educational 
enterprise for the permanent benefit of the city and State of his adop- 
tion. These gentlemen were organized into a Board of Trustees for the 
new foundation, which was incorporated in 1891 under a broad char- 
ter granting the trustees large freedom in the future organization of a 
non-political and non-sectarian institution to be dedicated to the 
advancement of letters, science, and art. As a nucleus for an endow- 
ment fund, Mr. Rice at this time made over an interest-bearing note 
of two hundred thousand dollars to the original Board of Trustees, 
consisting of himself, the late Messrs. F. A. Rice and A. S. Richardson, 
and Messrs. James Addison Baker, James Everett McAshan, 
Emmanuel Raphael, ^ and Cesar Maurice Lombardi. Under the terms 
of the charter, the board is a self-perpetuating body of seven members 
elected for life: vacancies since its organization have been filled by the 
election of Messrs. William Marsh Rice, Jr., Benjamin Botts Rice, and 
Edgar Odell Lovett. 

It was the unalterable will of the founder that the development of 
the work which he had conceived should progress no further during 
his lifetime. However, in the remaining days of his life he increased 
the endowment fund from time to time by transferring to the trustees 

' In succession to the late Mr. Raphael, whose lamented death has occurred since the reading of 
this address, Mr. John Thaddeus Scott ot Houston has been elected to membership on the Board of 
Trustees of the Institute. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


the titles to certain of his properties, and in the end made the new 
foundation his residuary legatee. Upon the termination of the long 
years of litigation which followed Mr. Rice's death in 1900, the Board 
of Trustees found the Institute in possession of an estate whose present 
value is conservatively estimated at approximately ten million dollars, 
divided by the provisions of the founder's will into almost equal parts, 
available for equipment and endowment respectively. It may be 
remarked in passing that it is the determined policy of the trustees to 
build and maintain the institution out of the income, thus preserving 
intact the principal not only of the endowment fund but also that of 
the equipment fund. While proceeding to convert the non-productive 
properties of the estate into income-bearing investments, the trustees 
called a professor in Princeton University to assist them in developing 
the founder's far-reaching plans. Before taking up his residence in 
Houston, the future president visited the leading educational and sci- 
entific establishments of the world, returning in the summer of 1909 
from a year's journey of study that extended from England to Japan. 
About this time negotiations were completed by which the Institute 
secured a campus of three hundred acres situated on the extension of 
Houston's main thoroughfare, three miles from the center of the 
city — a tract of ground universally regarded as the most appropriate 
within the vicinity of the city. 

Another early decision of the trustees of the Institute was the deter- 
mination that the new institution should be housed in noble architec- 
ture worthy of the founder's high aims; and upon this idea they entered 
with no lower ambition than to establish on the campus of the 
Institute a group of buildings conspicuous alike for their beauty and for 
their utility, which should stand not only as a worthy monument to 
the founder's philanthropy, but also as a distinct contribution to the 
architecture of our country. With this end in view they determined to 
commit to Messrs. Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson, of Boston and New 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

York, the task of designing a general architectural plan to embody in 
the course of future years the realization of the educational programme 
which had been adopted for the Institute. Such a general plan, the 
work of Mr. Ralph Adams Cram, L.H.D., exhibiting in itself many 
attractive elements of the architecture of Italy, France, and Spain, was 
accepted by the board in the spring of 1910. Immediately thereafter 
plans and specifications for an administration building were prepared, 
and in the following July the contract for its construction was award- 
ed; three months later the erection of a mechanical laboratory and 
power-house was begun, and by the next autumn the construction of 
two wings of the first residential hall for men was well under way. In 
the preparation of preliminary plans for these building operations the 

Professor Henry van Dyke of Princeton University reading the 
inaugural poem at the Formal Operung. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


Institute enjoyed the cooperation of an advisory committee consisting 
of Professor [Joseph S.] Ames, director of the physical laboratory of 
Johns Hopkins University; Professor [Edwin C] ConkUn, director of 
the biological laboratory of Princeton University; Professor [Theodore 
W.] Richards, chairman of the department of chemistry, Harvard 
University; and Professor [Samuel W.j Stratton, director of the 
National Bureau of Standards. Among the additional buildings 
for which tentative studies have already been made are special labora- 
tories for instruction and investigation in physics, ^ chemistry, 
and biology. . 

^ Since this address was read the construction of the physics laboratories has been begun from plans pre- 
pared by Messrs. Cram and Ferguson under the direction of Mr. Harold Albert Wilson, D.Sc, F.R.S., res- 
ident professor of physics in the Institute. By the beginning of the next academic year (1914-15), these 
laboratories will be ready for occupancy, as will also the third wing of the first residential hall for men. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

IV • The University: Its Studies & Standards 

That we have been making large plans is already a commonplace 
of our thinking and talking. In the proposed solutions of some 
of the problems confronting them the trustees have been 
moved by several considerations, which may appropriately be recapit- 
ulated at this time. In the first place, the financial resources of the 
institution, however handsome, are limited; for this reason it was 
determined to build and maintain the Institute out of the income, 
keeping the principal of all funds intact. In the second place, the new 
institution is located in a new and rapidly developing country. In the 
third place, the very problems pressing for resolution in the develop- 
ment of the environment seemed to call for a school of science, pure 
and applied, of the highest grade, looking, in its educational pro- 
gramme, quite as much to investigation as to instruction. 

Accordingly, and in the spirit of the founder's dedication of the 
Institute, it was proposed that the new institution should enter upon a 
university programme, beginning at the science end. As regards the 
letters end of the threefold dedication, it was proposed to characterize 
the institution as one both of liberal and of technical learning, and to 
realize the larger characterization as rapidly as circumstances might 
permit. With respect to the art end, it was proposed to take architec- 
ture seriously in the preparation of all of its plans, and to see to it that 
the physical setting of the Institute be one of great beauty as well as of 
more immediate utility. This in a nutshell is the programme on which 
we have thought with great deliberation and wrought with even 
greater care. Its chronology to date consists of one year of preparatory 
study from England to Japan, one year in the making of preliminary 
plans, and two years in work of actual construction and organization. 
The new institution thus aspires to university standing of the high- 
est grade, and would achieve its earliest claims to this distinction in 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


those regions of inquiry and investigation where the methods of mod- 
ern science are more directly applicable. For the present it is proposed 
to assign no upper limit to its educational endeavor, and to place the 
lower limit no lower than the standard entrance requirements of the 
more conservative universities of the country. Moreover, all courses of 
instruction and investigation, graduate and undergraduate, will be 
open both to young men and to young women, and for the present, 
without tuition and without fees. These courses will be offered by a 
staff, initially organized for university and college work, ultimately to 
consist of three grand divisions, science, humanity, technology, each of 
which will break up into as many or more separate faculties. For these 
faculties the best available instructors and investigators are being 
sought wherever they may be found, in the hope of assembling a group 
of unusually able scientists and scholars through whose productive 
work the Institute should speedily take a place of considerable impor- 
tance among established institutions. Friends of education in America 
would insist that the term "Institute" is too narrow in its connotation, 
friends of science in Europe would contend that it is too broad. 
However, in its dedication to the advancement of letters, science, and 
art, the educational programme of liberal and technical learning now 
being developed may justify the designation "Institute" as representing 
the functions of a teaching university of learning, and, at least in some 
of its departments, those of the more recent research institutions 
founded in this country and abroad. 

The planning of universities is no new problem. The list of modern 
solutions under state initiative is a long one from the national univer- 
sities of Japan at Tokyo and Kyoto down to the reconstruction of the 
University of Paris and the revival of the French provincial universi- 
ties; the reorganization of the University of London and the founding 
of the newer English municipal universities at Durham, Manchester, 
Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, and Bristol; the newest 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

members of the German system in the universities of Frankfort, 
Dresden, and Hamburg; and the conspicuous development of state 
institutions in our own country — to name but a few, in the new 
Cahfornia under [Benjamen I.] Wheeler, the new Illinois under 
[Andrew S.] Draper and [Edmund J.] James, the new Texas under 
[David Franklin] Houston and [Sidney E.] Mezes, the new Virginia 
under [Edwin A.] Alderman, and the new Wisconsin under [Charles 
R.] Van Hise. And at this very moment there are building two new 
universities in Hungary, three in Canada, and two in Japan, while 
plans are being formulated for new institutions in China, Australia, 
and South Africa. Within the memory of all of us there have arisen on 
the benefactions of American philanthropists the Johns Hopkins 
University under [Daniel Coit] Oilman and [Ira] Remsen, Cornell 
University under [Andrew D.] White and [Charles Kendall] Adams 
and [Jacob Gould] Schurman, the University of Chicago under [W. 
Rainey] Harper and [Harry Pratt] Judson, Leland Stanford under 
[David Starr] Jordan, and Clark under [G. Stanley] Hall; while the 
same period of university building has witnessed equally striking evo- 
lutions in the older American private foundations, notably the new 
Harvard under [Charles W] Eliot and [A. Lawrence] Lowell, the new 
Yale under [Noah] Porter and [Timothy] Dwight and [Arthur 
Twinning] Hadley, the new Princeton under [James] McCosh and 
[Francis Landey] Patton and [Woodrow] Wilson and Qohn G.] Hibben, 
the new Columbia under [Seth] Low and [Nicholas Murray] Butler, 
and the new Pennsylvania under [Charles Custin] Harrison and [Edgar 
Fahs] Smith. 

It has been remarked that an inventory of present-day universities 
would reveal thirteenth-century universities, fifteenth-century univer- 
sities, nineteenth-century universities, and twentieth-century univer- 
sities in formidable array and considerable confusion. There are uni- 
versities that swear by Plato, others by Euclid, and others by Adam 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


Smith. Some uphold the Thirty-nine Articles, while others worship 
radium and helium. From glorified engineering shops to scholastic 
sanctuaries, they offer the widest possible choice of type. 

Nevertheless, there has been evolving a composite conception of 
the university in some such characterization of its functions as follows: 

First, from the persistent past, in which there are no dead, to 
embody within its walls the learning of the world in living exponents 
of scholarship, who shall maintain, in letters, science, and art, stan- 
dards of truth and beauty, and canons of criticism and taste. 

Second, for the living present and its persistence in the future, to 
enlarge the boundaries of human learning and to give powerful aid to 
the advancement of knowledge, as such, by developing creative capac- 
ity in those disciplines through which men seek for truth and strive 
after beauty. 

Third, on call of State or Church or University, to convey to its 
community and commonwealth, in popular quite as much as in per- 
manent form, the products of its own and other men's thinking on cur- 
rent problems of science and society, of government and public order, 
of knowledge and conduct. 

Fourth, in support of all institutes of civilization and all instruments 
of progress, to contribute to the welfare of humankind in freedom, 
prosperity, and health, by sending forth constant streams of liberally 
educated men and women to be leaders of public opinion in the ser- 
vice of the people, constant streams of technically trained practition- 
ers for all the brain-working professions of our time, not alone law, 
medicine, and theology, but also every department of service and 
learning, from engineering, architecture, commerce, and agriculture, 
to teaching, banking, journalism, and public administration. 

As thus conceived, the university is a great storehouse of learning, 
a great bureau of standards, a great workshop of knowledge, a great lab- 
oratory for the training of men of thought and men of action. Under 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

this conception of its functions the university has to do with the 
preservation of knowledge, with the discovery and distribution of 
knowledge, with the appUcations of knowledge, and with the making 
of knowledge-makers. Singling out one line of its activities, the busi- 
ness of a university is to teach science, to create science, to apply sci- 
ence, to make scientists. To be even more specific, its objects in the 
department of chemistry are to teach chemistry, to create chemistry, to 
apply chemistry in all the arts of industry and commerce, and to make 
more creative chemists. This conception of the manifold function of a 
university in scholarship, in science, in social service, and in civiliza- 
tion corresponds point by point to the fourfold function of the career 
of a scholar or scientist: in scholarship, a conservator of knowledge; in 
science, a creator of knowledge; in citizenship, a contributor to public 
opinion; in service, a controller of the destiny of the cherished insti- 
tutions of civilization. 

However, even to those who recognize in patriotism, education, 
and religion supreme enterprises of the human spirit, education itself 
is proverbially a dull subject whose technical details are sometimes dry 
as dust. For instance, I am by no means convinced that a discussion of 
the metaphysics of the optative mood in Greek would be especially 
edifying on this occasion. Then, too, mathematical studies are poems 
of a variety better appreciated when read in private than when 
declaimed in public. Nor are you likely moved at this time by any 
overpowering desire for relief from the perplexity of that dear old lady 
who said she could readily make out how astronomers determined the 
distances and dimensions, masses and motions, constitution and 
careers of the heavenly bodies, but for the life of her she never could 
understand how they found out their beautiful names. 

But studies and standards, students and staff are elements of a uni- 
versity programme quite as important as are a machine-shop, a file of 
journals, a lively imagination, and a printing-press, its other con- 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


stituent parts. If a university should take all knowledge for its province, 
it becomes necessary to undertake a classification of knowledge, a 
problem never yet done with satisfaction to any one except perhaps 
the last man attempting it. Nor is the problem rendered inordinately 
simple when restricted to a programme in science, for, to say nothing 
of more recent modifications upheaving in character, the scientific 
thought of the nineteenth century has been made by Dr. J. Theodore 

Formal Opening ceremonies. 

Merz to align itself in a stately march of no fewer than ten views of 
nature: the astronomical, the atomic, the kinetic, the physical, the 
morphological, the genetic, the vitalistic, the psychophysical, the sta- 
tistical, and the mathematical views. 

Yet all would agree, I think, that in mathematics, physics, chem- 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

istry, biology, and psychology we have a logical series carefully co-ordi- 
nated in subject-matter and sequence, furnishing the theoretic foun- 
dations for the applied sciences of engineering, economics, eugenics, 
and education. Furthermore, there would also be agreement in the 
opinion that this co-ordinated series should be flanked both right and 
left by history and its interpretation, as a great laboratory in which to 
test all plans for political or social reform; by philosophy, as a clearing- 
house for all theories and methods of knowledge; by letters, as the 
record in "thoughts that breathe and words that burn" of all human 
striving after sweetness and light; and by art, the creative imagination's 
flowering product in the ennobling and enriching of the content of 
life. Our studies are thus to be centered in the fundamental branches 
of pure science with a view to solutions of problems of applied science 
in engineering, whose chief business is the development of the mater- 
ial resources of the world; in economics, whose cardinal problem is 
that of the distribution of the wealth thus produced; in eugenics as the 
newest of the sciences, but really in idea no younger than Plato, which 
by taking thought would add cubits to the stature of the race; and final- 
ly in the latest of the experimental sciences, namely, education itself, 
in whose philosophical, psychological, and physiological foundations 
are now being sought the surest means of training the intellects and 
stimulating the imaginations of men. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 

V • The University: Its Saints & Seers 

As thus projected on a background of philosophy, history, let- 
ters, and art, the programme of this university of science 
stands forth in the effigies and inscriptions which have been 
cut in the walls of this the first house of the home of its spirit. 

On the caps of the cloister's granite columns appear the heads of 
sixteen founders, leaders, and pioneers in 


St. Paul 
Immanuel Kant 


Thomas Jefferson 
De Lesseps 
Christopher Columbus 


Sophus Lie 
Charles Darwin 

Electric Oscillations Heinrich Hertz 

Aerodynamics Samuel Langley 

Radioactivity Pierre Curie 

Eugenics Richard Galton 

The obvious guiding call in this consistory of canonization was to 
pass from the ancient enterprises of humane learning to the modern 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

endeavors of scientific exploration. An accident of considerable inter- 
est is the circumstance that in the first group are a Greek, a Hebrew, a 
Latin, and a Teuton, while in the last are representatives of America, 
England, France, and Germany. 

On the exterior wall of the Faculty Chamber the threefold dedica- 
tion is emblazoned in marble tablets to letters, science, and art. The 
Tablet to Letters bears the head of Homer, below which is inscribed 
Mackail's translation of Pindar's tribute to style: 

"The thing that one says well goes forth with a voice 
unto everlasting." 

The Tablet to Science bears the profile of Isaac Newton together 
with Job's anticipation of the method of scientific inquiry in his 

"Speak to the earth and it shall teach thee!" 

The Tablet to Art bears the head of Leonardo da Vinci, under 
which is inscribed: 

"The chief function of art is to make gentle the life of 
the world." 

Adapted, after some modifications, from certain of lEdwin Austin] 
Abbey's mural decorations in the State Capitol of Pennsylvania, mod- 
eled by C. Percival Dietsch, and executed by Oswald Lassig, are the 
two life-size draped figures adjoining the court side of the arch of the 
sally-port on the left and right respectively: one, symbolic of Science, 
screening her gaze under the cautious and somewhat uncertain lead of 
reason, proceeds under Aristotle's dictum: 

"If we properly observe celestial phenomena we may 
demonstrate the laws which regulate them"; 

the other, symbolic of Art, in an inspirational attitude, with neither 
fear in her face nor faltering in her step, emerges from the chiseled 
intuition of Plotinus that 

The Meaning of the New Institution 

"Love, beauty, Joy, and worship are forever building, 
unbuilding, and rebuilding in each man's soul." 

Again, under the shield of the State of Texas and the shield of the 
Rice Institute and the Flowering Magnolia of the City of Houston, the 
chief stone of this building bears what is perhaps the best expression of 
the Spirit of Science in any tongue: a Greek inscription in Byzantine 
lettering, from the Prceparatio Evangelica of Eusebius Pamphili, the 
first historian of the Church, which, in the translation of the late 
Samuel H. Butcher, reads: 

"'Rather,' said Democritus, 'would 1 discover the cause 
of one fact than become King of the Persians,'" 

— a declaration made at a time when to be king of the Persians was 
to rule the world. In thus preserving in the twentieth century of our 
era this utterance of exultant enthusiasm for knowledge for its own 
sake, from a representative philosopher of that people who originated 
the highest standards in letters and in art, the trustees of the Institute 
have sought to express that disinterested devotion both to science and 
to humanism which the founder desired when he dedicated the new 
institution to the advancement of literature, science, and art. 

From inspiration out of the past we pass to the inspiration of the liv- 
ing, and in particular to the heartening hail of those savants who have 
come or stretched their hands across the seas to us on this occasion. 
Under sunny skies whose clear air makes clear minds blandly or keen- 
ly observant of the world, with winds fair, on the anniversary of 
Columbus's arrival, we too are setting out on a voyage of discovery in 
three small craft whose lines and keels and turrets you have had oppor- 
tunity to examine and admire. We pledge your standards at the mast- 
head and your spirit in the crew, but until we find our treasure island, 
where faith and promise brighten into performance and achievement, 
we have none but empty honors to offer you. Rather do we ask you to 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

honor us still further by allowing us to place in the stateroom of the 
flagship the following tablets in commemoration of your visit to the 

Professor Rafael Altamira y Crevea, of Madrid, Spain: late Professor 
of the History of Spanish Law in the University of Oviedo; Director of 
Elementary Education in the Spanish Ministry of Public Instruction; a 
scholar of recognized authority in the history of jurisprudence and pol- 
itics, and a statesman whose public service has extended with increas- 
ing usefulness beyond the borders of his own country to the educa- 
tional institutions of the Latin- American nations. 

Professor Emile Borel, of Paris, France: Director of Scientific Studies 
at the Ecole Normale Superieure; Editor-in-chief of La Revue du Mois, 
Professor of the Theory of Functions at the University of Paris; suc- 
cessful in the discharge of exacting duties as administrator, educator, 
and editor, his studies in mathematical analysis worthily maintain the 
standards of scientific work established by the historic line of French 
analysts extending from Lagrange and Laplace to Hermite and 

Senator Benedetto Croce, of Naples, Italy: Life Senator of the 
Italian Kingdom; Member of several Royal Commissions; Editor of La 
Critica; an original and profound thinker, both constructive and criti- 
cal, whose philosophy of the spirit, and in particular its theory of 
aesthetics, has compelled world-wide attention on the part of artists, 
philosophers, and men of letters. 

Professor Hugo de Vries, of Amsterdam, Holland: Director of the 
Hortus Botanicus and Professor of the Anatomy and Physiology of 
Plants in the University of Amsterdam; a careful observer and patient 
investigator of the phenomena of growth and change in living things, 
whose studies and experiments of a quarter of a century have resulted 
in capital contributions to the theories of heredity and the origin of 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


Professor Sir Henry Jones, of Glasgow, Scotland: Fellow of the 
British Academy; Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of 
Glasgow; Hibbert Lecturer on Metaphysics at Manchester College, 
Oxford; an erudite editor and expositor of great movements of reflec- 
tive thought in poetry and philosophy and religion, and himself a 
genial human philosopher who has elaborated a working faith for the 
social reformer and professed the doctrines of idealism as a practical 

Privy Councilor Baron Dairoku Kikuchi, of Tokyo, Japan: late 
Japanese Minister of Education; formerly President of the University 
of Tokyo, and later of the University of Kyoto; recently Lecturer on 
Japanese Education at the University of London; a publicist of dis- 
tinction and a close student of affairs, one of the pioneers in the intro- 
duction of Western learning into Japan, who has rendered his native 
land patriotic service in the organization and administration of its 
schools and universities. 

Professor John William Mackail, of London, England: formerly 
Fellow of Balliol College and later Professor of Poetry in Oxford 
University; a critic who would interpret art as art interprets life, favor- 
ably known by his many published lectures on Latin literature and 
Greek poetry, and himself a poet whose English pure and undefiled is 
scarcely surpassed in our time. 

Privy Councilor Professor Wilhelm Ostwald, of GrossBothen, 
Germany: late Professor of Chemistry in the University of Leipsic; 
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 1909; a versatile man of science whose 
interests and activities range from art through letters into metaphysics, 
he is justly celebrated as one of the founders of physical chemistry and 
equally well known as the chief propagandist of a new natural philos- 
ophy based on the theories of energetics. 

The late Professor Henri Poincare, of Paris, France: Member of the 
French Academy; Commander of the Legion of Honor; Professor of 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Mathematics and Astronomy at the University of Paris; distinguished 
for discoveries of far-reaching significance in pure mathematics, celes- 
tial mechanics, and mathematical physics, a varied intellectual activi- 
ty of extraordinary fertility has secured for him a place of eminence in 
letters, in science, and in philosophy. 

Professor Sir William Ramsay, K.C.B., of London, England: late 
Professor of Chemistry at University College, London; Nobel Laureate 
in Chemistry, 1904; President of the Seventh International Congress 
of Applied Chemistry; a facile experimenter of boldness and ingenuity, 
who has devised new theories and revived outworn ones in a series of 
remarkable achievements which of themselves constitute an epoch in 
the history of the chemical elements and a permanent chapter in the 
annals of science. 

Professor Carl Stormer, of Christiania, Norway: Member of the 
Norwegian Academy of Sciences; Associate Editor of the Acta 
Mathematica; Professor of Pure Mathematics in the University of 
Christiania; professorial successor of the illustrious Norse geometer, 
Marius Sophus Lie, and himself a master of the methods of reckoning 
who has drawn from the equations of mechanics a new theory of ter- 
restrial magnetism revealing new explanations of the lights of the 
northern skies and kindred manifestations in the solar system. 

Professor Vito Volterra, of Rome, Italy: Life Senator of the Italian 
Kingdom; Dean of the Faculty of Science and Professor of 
Mathematical Physics and Celestial Mechanics in the University of 
Rome; recently Lecturer in the Universities of Paris and Stockholm; 
an analyst of rare skill whose theories have found manifold applica- 
tions both in pure and in applied science, he has served his country 
even more directly as an able organizer of educational and scientific 
undertakings national in scope and international in influence. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


VI • The University: Its Students & Staff 

From the hands of these illustrious citizens of Amsterdam, 
Glasgow, Leipsic, London, Madrid, Naples, Oxford, Paris, Rome, 
and Tokyo, the torch of civilization's great commission to think 
and to teach and to learn is this day passed on to the sons and daugh- 
ters of the South and the scholars and scientists trained at the univer- 
sities of Cambridge, Chicago, Harvard, Heidelberg, Leipsic, Michigan, 
Oxford, Pennsylvania, Yale, Virginia, Wisconsin,^ who constitute the 
charter membership of the new institution's academic guild, a compa- 
ny of students and fellows, lecturers and instructors, preceptors and 
professors, who in a common society would seek to realize a composite 
conception of the student-universities and the master-universities of 
earlier times; a voluntary association whose collective will for the pre- 
sent is to be executed by one of their number, who is to play the role 
of middleman between the public and the university, the trustees and 
the staff, the staff and the students, the students and their parents and 
guardians; a society of scholars which from the first aspires to be "a 

^ Since this address was written the staff of the new institution has grown to some thirty mem- 
bers who bring to its problems training, experience, or honors from the following universities and col- 
leges: Adeiphi, Auburn, Balliol (Oxford), Berlin, Bethany (West Virginia), Birmingham, Bonn, 
Cambridge, Centre, Chicago, Christiania, Clark, Columbia, Cornell, Davidson, Drake, Emmanuel 
(Cambridge), Georgia, Gottingen, Harvard, Heidelberg, Illinois, Johns Hopkins, King's (London), 
Leeds, Lehigh, Leipsic, Liverpool, London, McGill, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Munich, 
Northwestern, Oberlin, Oxford, Paris, Pennsylvania, Pittsburg, Princeton, Robert, Rome, Southwestern, 
Stanford, Trinity (Cambridge), Tulane, Union, Vermont, Virginia, Washington (College), Washington 
(University of), Wesleyan, Williams, Wisconsin, Wooster, Yale; and the student members of an academ- 
ic community of about three hundred souls come from some seventy-five towns in Texas and fifteen 
States of the Union, among them holders of degrees from Austin, Georgetown, Missouri, Philips, Robert, 
Union, and Vanderbilt, and former students of Austin, Baylor, Daniel Baker, Georgia School of 
Technology, Howard Payne, Illinois, Lehigh, Marion Institute, North Texas Normal, Oklahoma 
(Agricultural and Mechanical), Randolph Macon, St. Mary's, Sam Houston Normal, Simmons (Texas), 
Smith, Sophie Newcomb, Southwestern, Sweet Briar, Texas (Agricultural and Mechanical), Texas 
(University of), Trinity (Texas), United States Military Academy. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in 
every virtue and in all perfection"; and "as the ends of such a partner- 
ship cannot be obtained in many generations," to appropriate still fur- 
ther [Edmund] Burke's conception of the state, "it becomes a partner- 
ship between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who 
are to be born." 

Democracy of science and republic of letters, nowhere mere empty 
phrases, meet in this partnership an unusual opportunity for transla- 
tion into living actualities. Except for the organization indispensable 
to the efficient discharge of business, subject only to limitations of 
character and intellect, here are leisure and work and liberty, freedom 
in initiative, freedom in invention, the freedom that alone invites 
inspiration to thought and action. As at the University of Virginia 
from the earliest days, and more lately at the University of Chicago, 
distinctions of academic rank and title will appear in official calendars 
but find no place in classroom or on the campus. For purposes of orga- 
nization and administration each member of the university will natu- 
rally fall into one or more of three grand divisions: Science, Humanity, 
Technology. As has already been intimated, each of these divisions 
will eventually consist of several faculties: under Science we should 
have mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and so on, 
together with their applications in the fields of engineering, econom- 
ics, education, and so forth; under Humanity would appear history, 
philosophy, letters, politics, and so on to art and religion; while 
Technology would embrace science, humanity, and technology as pro- 
fessions of teaching or research, the older learned professions of law, 
medicine, theology, and the newer ones from engineering, architec- 
ture, and agriculture on down to the more recent acquisitions of com- 
merce, banking, and public administration. 

The first larger divisions of the Staff of the new university to assume 
form will be a faculty of science and a faculty of letters. In the dis- 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


charge of their functions these bodies will be aided by administrative 
committees constituted of their own members. To the duties of the 
officers of certain of these committees deans will succeed when the 
growth of the institution shall have called for more elaborate and more 
highly differentiated machinery of organization and administration. 
Administrative work, of increasing complexity in any modern univer- 
sity, is likely to make frequent calls on the time and judgment of its 
ablest and best trained members in the first days of a new one, but it is 
hoped to reduce the burden of these demands considerably by consis- 
tent and sharp differentiation between the constructive and critical, 
and the clerical. To meet the direct duties of administration in schools 
and departments, laboratories and museums, chairmen will be 
appointed annually and without regard to seniority. The Staff will 
assemble, and at regular intervals, in at least three different series of 
meetings: scientific, social, and business. Through the first of these the 
work of its members in the capacity of creator, critic, or censor will be 
assessed in its relations to productive scholarship; by the second, the 
university will be kept in intimate touch with the life of its communi- 
ty, and many a plan may trace its start to a bowl of punch or the pour- 
ing of tea; and finally, through the third of these series of meetings the 
Staff will consider, subject to the approval of the trustees, the conduct 
of the academic life of the university in respect of scholarship, 
research, teaching, and public service. 

In America the spirit of scientific investigation has, certainly until 
recently, found its best expression in the college and the university, 
and among the men of science associated with these foundations. To 
be sure, research institutions, as for example the Scientific Bureaus of 
the United States Government, the Carnegie Institution of 
Washington, the Rockefeller Institute in New York, and, earliest of all, 
the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, independent of universi- 
ties, have abundantly justified their existence among us; but no uni- 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

versity can live without the vitalizing reaction of original investiga- 
tion. Even in the Rice Institute's days of hewing of wood and mixing 
of mortar, work of investigation is not to be allowed to suffer from any 
inconvenience due to inadequate provision of library and laboratory 
apparatus. The first investigators may feel their isolation and the 
absence of atmosphere, but in this day of rapid transit, speedy dissem- 
ination of intelligence, and manifold multiplicity of periodical scien- 
tific publications, isolation offers no excuse for inactivity, for one can- 
not spend half an hour in the perusal of a first-class scientific periodi- 
cal without thinking of at least half a year's things to do. 

To the privileges of research and the duties of administration must 
be added the pleasures of teaching and public lecturing, and if the last 
phase of this cycle of action is to be efficient the schedules of daily and 
weekly performances should not be too heavy. Moreover, the timeta- 
bles of lecture and laboratory arrangements in each subject of instruc- 
tion or investigation will be so framed that the first-year students shall 
be brought directly under the tutelage of the senior members of the 
university: here again we are appropriating an idea of Thomas 
Jefferson's for the University of Virginia. Furthermore, this very work 
of teaching and public lecturing will itself be inspired by the temper of 
scientific investigation; for, as it seems to me, the scientific movement 
of the nineteenth century has no more striking lesson for the twenti- 
eth than that an inquiring mind is the safest guide for an inquiring 
mind: that the best man to lead the learner from the unknown to the 
known is the man who is continually leading himself from the 
unknown to the known, not only in point of encyclopedic and spe- 
cialized knowledge, but also in point of new knowledge contributed by 
himself to the store of learning. Was Burke not right when he said that 
"the method of teaching which approached most nearly to the method 
of investigation is incomparably the best, since, not content with serv- 
ing up a few barren and lifeless truths, it leads to the stock out of which 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


they grew; it tends to set the learner on the track of invention and to 
direct him into those paths in which the author has made his own dis- 
coveries"? And Burke said this half a century before the scientific 
renaissance. Nor was Burke an impractical dreamer, for, in his speech 
on the petition of the Unitarians, he also said: "No rational man ever 
did govern himself by abstractions and universals — A statesman dif- 
fers from a professor in a university. The latter has only the general 
view of society.... A statesman, never losing sight of principles, is to be 
guided by circumstances; and, judging contrary to the exigencies of the 
moment, he may ruin his country forever." 

Finally, to the energy and invention of the planner, to the enthusi- 
asm and initiative of the producer, to the erudition and imagination of 
the professor, must be added the energy and enthusiasm and erudition 
of the preceptor, whose power of summary statement in exposition, 
whose infinite capacity for details in explanation, whose persistent 
example and occasional exhortation in manners and morals, must con- 
spire with strength of personality to win and guide the student's inter- 
est in his reading and writing quite as much as in his thinking and in 
the meeting of his formal obligations to the university's standards and 
scheme of studies. This order of ideas goes back to a modification of 
the Oxford and Cambridge tutorial system which President Wilson 
introduced at Princeton University several years ago. And the finest 
thing about the introduction of President Wilson's preceptorial system 
at Princeton University was not the bringing of forty preceptors to 
Princeton at one blow, but rather the calling of every professor of the 
university to personal participation in the plan as preceptor. The suc- 
cess of that system at Princeton is to be attributed to this professorial 
participation no less than to the larger part taken in the execution of 
the plan by the specially appointed junior members of the staff. 

Thus it appears that a professor's work is never done. Probably no 
expenditure of his time meets with smaller return than that employed 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

on editorial duties. Moreover, in a time when the world is flooded with 
printing one should hesitate to increase the number of printed pages. 
Nevertheless, in order to facilitate the prompt publication and distrib- 
ution of the products of its library, laboratory, and lecture activities, 
the new university proposes to maintain a few periodical publications 
of its own. Perhaps the most serious of these will be the Annals of 
Letters, Science, and Art, to appear ultimately in several series, carrying 
the contributions of its own and other scholars to knowledge. 
Simultaneously with these quarterly quartos there will appear The Rice 
Institute Pamphlets, in octavo form, at least four times a year, contain- 
ing occasional addresses, courses of lectures, and smaller papers of cur- 
rent and timely interest. And finally, at least for the present, the 
Circulars of Information concerning the Rice Institute, in the numbers 
of which will be published the annual calendar, the programmes of 
study, and other announcements of the undergraduate and graduate 
life of the institution. 

'T is a bold man who would take upon himself the gift of prophecy, 
but from the birth of the science of the stars to the physics of the ether 
and the ion it has been the province of the professor to prophesy; 
sometimes, as the prophet of old, to "stand like a wall of bronze, and 
an iron pillar, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah and 
the princes thereof; but always striving, in the spirit of a modem 
philosopher whose noble words might be turned into a command and 
written over the door of every library, laboratory, and lecture-hall as a 
motto for all seekers after truth, to "cherish as a vital principle an 
unbounded spirit of enquiry and ardency of expectation, unfetter the 
mind from prejudices of every kind, leave it open and free to every 
impression of higher nature which it is susceptible of receiving — 
guarding only against self-deception by a habit of strict investigation — 
encourage rather than suppress everything that can offer the prospect 
of a hope beyond the present obscure and unsatisfactory state. The 

The Meaning of the New Institution 

character of the true philosopher is to hope all things not impossible 
and to believe all things not unreasonable.... Humility of pretension 
no less than confidence of hope is what best becomes his character." It 
is the business of the professor quite as much as it is the business of the 
successful promoter to get results out of the future by anticipating 
them through his knowledge of the past and his understanding of the 
present. On such an occasion as this it is hard not to prophesy. This 
academic festival provides the first alignment of the Rice Institute 
with other institutions. It is the placing of a new university on the map 
of the earlier universities. The new institution comes as a rival to 
none, as a competitor of none, but as a child hoping to grow in favor, 
to gain the confidence and to win the respect of older foundations. It 
is the advent of a man-child that we have witnessed, and some of us 
believe we have discovered in its form the features and bones of a 
giant. And I like to think that within ten or twenty years the staff and 
students of whom I am now speaking will have grown to be a residen- 
tial community of at least a thousand souls — or, say a staff of a hun- 
dred members and a society of students a thousand strong. And the 
year that number, one thousand, has been reached — a graduate group 
of two hundred and an undergraduate group of eight hundred — we 
propose to say that in the year following only the best thousand among 
the applicants for admission, whether old or new, shall be received, 
and to persevere in this process of selection year by year for another 
score of years. This determination of ours has been accorded hearty 
support by many of our guests on this occasion; for if they have urged 
one thing above another upon us, that one thing has been to keep the 
standards up and the numbers down. It is through such standards in 
scholarship and service severely maintained, and by a process of selec- 
tion through these standards of culture and character, that the excep- 
tional man is likely to be discovered. And, after all, is not this last dis- 
covery one of the highest forms of service within our aim? 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

For the maintenance of these high standards we have promising 
material with which to begin. These first students who have come to 
us have come to us on faith; they have left the beaten paths to estab- 
lished institutions; they have left the company of their fellows to come 
to a new institution; and to this institution they have come unsolicit- 
ed and unheralded; they have thus shown some independence of judg- 
ment, something of initiative, somewhat of the spirit of adventure, and 
these are the things by which men are judged and singled out from 
among their fellows at every stage of the game of life. For these reasons 
we believe that we make no mistake in banking on these young men 
and women and the future of the new university at their hands. 

And if we hope that this academic community is to be distinguished 
by high standards in scholarship, we also hope that the student life of 
the community is to be equally distinguished for its system of self-gov- 
ernment. The latter system is already assuming form through the con- 
stitution of an honor system for the conduct of examinations, and the 
institution of student government in the first halls of residence.4 With 
these two strong determinants of public opinion, the extension of stu- 
dent control to the entire campus should prove to be a comparatively 
simple undertaking. In the so-called honor system in examinations 
there is nothing novel to many American institutions. Two genera- 
tions ago such a system grew into existence at the University of 
Virginia, and some years later found a congenial atmosphere at 
Princeton. Since these beginnings it has grown into the life of many 
other colleges. On the other hand, in some universities it has been 
tried without success. In the first days of a new one, however, when all 
traditions and customs are in the making, it promises well. And 

4 The Honor Council this year (1914-15) has representatives from three classes, and in another 
year will have become a permanent institution in the university. In the conduct of examinations during 
the first two years of the institution's existence, this council has been vigilant in its care. The govern- 
ment of the residential college is in the hands of an elective board of representatives, chosen one each 
from the ten or a dozen separate houses into which the hall of residence is divided. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 

because of this same freedom — that is to say, freedom from tradition — 
the Rice Institute is pre-eminently fortunately situated to undertake 
the building of halls of residence as an integral part of its programme. 
As a matter of fact, the residential college idea is a prominent one in 
the plans of the new institution. At the time these plans were being 
made the idea was stirring in the air about many of the older universi- 
ties. It was at Princeton that President Wilson proposed to give the 
idea concrete form in the reorganization of the social life of that 
ancient seat of learning. The programme there suggested was an adap- 
tation of the English residential college to American undergraduate 
life. A similar plan had been elaborated by Dean lAndrew El West 
some years earlier for a future school of graduate studies at Princeton, 
and the latter plan has come to realization in the Gothic halls and 
towers of the Princeton Graduate College about to be dedicated. Erom 
Oxford and Cambridge the idea goes back to the University of Paris, 
the mother university of all modern ones, which consisted originally of 
residential colleges. In the Paris of the present day the type reappears 
in the Ecole Normale Superieure, founded by Napoleon, and in the 
more recent Eoundation Thiers. Moreover, in Berlin an original sug- 
gestion of IJohann Gottlieb] Eichte's in his scheme for a university has 
led lately to proposals for such a development at the university which 
bears the name of that city; while at the same time in our own coun- 
try the University of Wisconsin has plans for residential halls already 
worked out and awaiting funds from the State; Cornell University has 
undertaken such a plan, the first buildings of which are soon to be con- 
structed; and Harvard has planned for the freshmen of the university a 
group of such colleges to be ready for early occupancy. 

The first of these experiments in college democracy at Rice finds its 
dedication on the corner-stone of its building, where, under the shield 
of the Institute, there appears the simple inscription: "To the freedom 
of sound learning and the fellowship of youth." Here is being realized 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

an old seventeenth-century definition of education — William of 
Wykeham's "the making of a man. "5 For here in the residential college 

5 This definition of education was made the subject of his inaugural discourse at Princeton 
University by President Hibben, at whose recent installation there appeared for the first time in an 
American academic procession an official representative of the Rice Institute. 

In many respects the present address is a chronicle of things-firsts either in point of time or in 
point of import. 

The first scientific papers by a member of the Rice Institute were presented to the American 
Mathematical Society and the American Philosophical Society. 

The first foreign reference to the new foundation was made by Dr. Henry van Dyke in a public 
lecture at the Sorbonne in his course on "the Spirit of America" as visiting professor at the University 
of Paris, in which, speaking of the development of education in our country, he said: "Nor has this 
process of assimilation been confined to American ideas and models. European methods have been care- 
fully studied and adapted to the needs and conditions of the United States. 1 happen to know of a new 
institution of learning which has been recently founded in Texas by a gift of ten millions of dollars. The 
president-elect is a scientific man who has already studied in France and Germany... but before he 
touches the building and organization of his new Institute, he is sent to Europe for a year to see the old- 
est and the newest and the best that has been done there. In fact, the Republic of Learning to-day is the 
true Cosmopolis. It knows no barriers of nationality. It seeks truth and wisdom everywhere, and wher- 
ever it finds them it claims them for its own. The first printed scientific papers to be dated from the Rice 
Institute were published in the American Journal of Mathematics, the Cambridge Journal of Pure and Applied 
Mathematics, the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, and Science. The first address by a mem- 
ber of the Institute was a vice-presidential address before the Baltimore meeting of the American 
Association for the Advancement of Science, which included some results of a paper presented previ- 
ously at the Dublin meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The first liter- 
ary addresses written at the Rice Institute were a Phi Beta Kappa address on the mind and temper of sci- 
ence, delivered at the University of Virginia in June, 1910, and a commencement address on the spirit 
of learning delivered at the University of Texas in June, 191 1. 

The first scientific paper to go out from the laboratories of the Institute was one by Mr. and Mrs. 
H[arold]. A. Wilson, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London; while the first scientific 
paper to be published by a student of the Institute was one by Mr. Eric R. Lyon, an undergraduate, which 
appeared in the American Physical Review. 

The first book to carry "Rice Institute" on its title-page was Mr. J[ulian]. S. Huxley's Cambridge 
manual on The Individual in the Animal Kingdom. The second such book was Mr. A[lbert]. LI. Hughes's 
Photo-electricity, issued by the Cambridge University Press, and now in process of translation into 
German in Germany. Books from the pens of Mr. [Algert Leon] Guerard and Mr. and Mrs. [Radoslav A.] 
Tsanoff, though prepared elsewhere, have appeared in print since their authors came to Houston. 
Furthermore, Mr. Wilson has a new book in the press, Messrs. [Albert G.] Caldwell, [Percy John] 
Daniell, [Griffith C] Evans, and Guerard have books in the making, Messrs. [Stockton] Axson and 
Edwin Theodore] Dumble [Consulting Geologist of the Southern Pacific Company, not a member of the 
Rice faculty] have courses of public lectures on literature and science in manuscript awaiting publica- 
tion in the pamphlets of the Rice Institute, while Messrs. Daniell, Evans, [William Casper} Graustein, 
Guerard, Hughes, Huxley, [Edwin E.] Reinke, and Tsanoff have contributed to literary and scientific 
periodicals papers which were written at the new university. 

Though this recital does not attempt to be exhaustive, no account of the initial scholarly work 
of the new institution should fail to mention the inaugural lectures and other performances of the for- 
mal opening to which reference has already been made. The omission here of details concerning the first 
Rice Institute university extension lectures will be supplied in a subsequent paragraph of this paper. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


men live in freedom, checked only by self-mastery and gentle manners, 
a freedom of the kind that Goethe meant when he said, "He alone 
attains to life and freedom who daily conquers them anew"; here they 
grow in wisdom, not alone in the wisdom of books but also in the wis- 
dom of work and service; here they find the incomparable fellowship, 
warm comradeship, and joyous companionships of college years; here 
they live in the unconquerable enthusiasm, the fearless courage, the 
boundless hope of youth. A faithful characterization of the spirit of the 
hall is found in the following lines from Wordsworth's "Prelude": 

Nor was it least 

Of many benefits, in later years 

Derived from academic institutes 

And rules, that they held something up to view 

Of a Republic, ivhere all stood thus far 

Upon equal ground; that we ivere brothers all 

In honour, as in one community, 

Scholars and gentlemen; ivhere, furthermore, 

Distinction open lay to all that came. 

And wealth and titles were in less esteem 

Than talents, worth, and prosperous industry. 

Add unto this, subservience from the first 

To presences ofQod's mysterious power 

Made manifest in Natures sovereignty, 

And fellowship with venerable books. 

To sanction the proud ivorkings of the soul, 

AjuI mountain liberty. 

In this first residential hall students and staff are already living in a 
common society a common life under conditions the most democrat- 
ic. They sit at a common table; they lounge in common club-rooms; 
they frequent the same cloisters; in games they meet again upon the 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

same playing-fields. The quadrangle is self-governed, with no other 
machinery of government than is necessary to conduct a gentlemen's 
club. To the quadrangle, as to the college, the only possible passports 
are intellect and character. In the quadrangle, as on the campus, the 
business of life is to be regulated by no other code than the common 
understanding by which gentlefolk determine their conduct of life, 
constantly under the good taste, the good manners, the enduring 
patience of gentle minds, among strong men who believe that he lives 
most who works most, labors longest, worries least. Each hall is to have 
its own literary and debating society, its own religious association, and 
its own musical and athletic organizations. ^ A little later in the histo- 
ry of the Institute similar colleges will be provided for the young 
women. It is hoped that ultimately all students of the Institute will be 
housed in such halls of residence. For example, the residential section 
for men calls for a great quadrangle of quadrangles, whose main axis 
terminates at one end by a great gymnasium and at the other by a great 
union club. In the gymnasium all students will receive systematic work 
in physical education, while the union will offer many opportunities 

^ From the start the students of the Rice Institute, irrevocably committed to canons of clean sport, 
have participated, under the direction of Mr. [Philip H.] Arbuckle, in all forms of intercollegiate athlet- 
ic contests. Following the organization of the Rice Institute Athletic Association, the first society of stu- 
dents to he organized at the Rice Institute was the Young Men's Christian Association. This step on the 
part of the young men was speedily followed by a similar step on the part of the young women in the 
organization of their branch of the college Young Women's Christian Association. Each of these religious 
associations has held regular meetings continually since. Both have contributed to the social life of the 
religious spirit of the Institute. Regular classes in Bible study, meeting weekly throughout the year, are 
being conducted by Messrs. [Francis Ellis] Johnson and [Radoslav A.] Tsanoff. The college student, above 
all his kind, is a political animal, and, to a degree far beyond what some people think, a religious being. 
For this reason it is gratifying to say that the internal religious forces of the new institution have been 
constantly and consistently growing in strength. The founding of the religious societies was followed by 
the forming of three literary societies, one by the young women, bearing the name of Elizabeth Baldwin, 
wife of the founder of the Institute, and two by the young men, known respectively as "The Owl Literary 
Society" and the "Riceonian Literary and Debating Society." These societies have met weekly from the 
date of their organization, and have held occasional intersociety meetings in public debate. Though 
founded by student initiative, the literary and debating societies have called to their assistance in an 
advisory capacity a committee consisting of Messrs. [Philip H.] Arbuckle, [Stockton] Axson, [Percy John] 
Daniell, [Griffith C] Evans, Qulian S.] Huxley, [Albert LI.] Hughes, and [William Ward] Watkin. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


open by competition to members of all colleges, for among these col- 
leges there will arise the liveliest sort of rivalry in scholastic standing, 
in field sports, in musical, literary, and debating activities. To those 
students who for one reason or another are obliged to live in the city 
the union will afford many of the opportunities of the residential hall. 
By thus providing in the way of dwelling halls units larger than those 
provided heretofore in American institutions it is hoped to preserve 
and to maintain the present democratic conditions of life which 
obtain on the campus of the new university. And to that end, side by 
side with the building of great laboratories of investigation and halls 
of instruction is to proceed the building of these collegiate homes for 
human living. Each of these homes will have its roll of honor and hall 
of fame, and, even as the older colleges, will point with pride to men 
of initiative and achievement who were former members of the hall. 
Though these halls may not go as far as Balliol College went under 
Jowett' s mastership and receive as students only those who are candi- 
dates for honors, yet, "scorning delights" and "living laborious days," 
may they not look forward to a time when their historian may say as 
does Mr. W. W. Rouse Ball of his college. Trinity, Cambridge — to 
name another English college represented in the first faculty of Rice: 
"This particular staircase, which 1 have taken as a typical one, con- 
tains one Fellow's set, five undergraduates' sets, one o( which is now 
used by the porters, and an odd room. The rooms on the ground floor 
on the right-hand side on entering the staircase were occupied by 
[William Makepeace] Thackeray, and later by the present 
Astronomer-Royal; those on the opposite side, by [Thomas 
Babington] Macaulay; the rooms on the first floor next the gate were 
occupied by Isaac Newton, and later by [Rev. John Alfred] Lightfoot, 
afterwards Bishop of Durham, and R. C. Jebb, the Greek scholar; and 
those on the opposite side by J. G. Frazer, who has done so much to 
investigate the habits of thought of primitive man. This is an inter- 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

esting group of men, but in fact there are few rooms in the college 
which have not been inhabited at some time by those who have made 
their names famous." 

A distinguished mathematician in Germany said very recently that 
American college spirit is the greatest need of the German university. 
To this academic audience college spirit is neither novel nor unreal. 
The boldness in commenting upon it may be pardoned when I remind 
you that it itself is freedom, courage, comradeship. It is the freedom of 
sound learning and the fellowship of youth; it is the spirit of solidari- 
ty, the spirit of co-operation, the collective spirit of corporate unity. It 
appears upon the rostrum, at the desk, and in the field, on the gridiron 
and the diamond and the track. Always it is the spirit of romance, 
occasionally of revelry, sometimes of reformation, and frequently, in its 
most serious and sober moments, bent on nothing more sober or seri- 
ous than recreation. In manners it demands simplicity and sincerity; in 
morals, honesty and integrity. It laughs at pedantry, howls at the 
pompous, rebels at cant, exults in candor. In judgment merciless, if not 
always unerring; in action immediate, if sometimes unreflecting; of 
robust adventure "that buildeth in the cedars' tops and dailies with the 
wind and scorns the sun"; of virile sport that "greets the unknown with 
a cheer and bids him forward." It rings in the song after defeat as well 
as in the shoutings of victory. It is progress and purpose and pluck and 
prayer, though certain of these aspects reveal themselves only upon 
analysis somewhat refined. It owns the college, loves the college, runs 
the college. Let this be the spirit of Rice. 

If 1 have adequately described this incense of college spirit as it rises 
from the college campus, all that 1 have said and a great deal more is 
necessary properly to characterize that informing spirit of the college 
itself whose sources are in conference, cloister, and council-chamber. 
This informing spirit is more than opinion and impulse and enthusi- 
asm, though inspired and directed by each of them in turn. It is more 

The Meaning of the New Institution 

than tradition and custom and law, though continually molded by all 
three. It is the spirit of science and the spirit of service. Sustained by 
such hard and homely supports as concentration of studies, co-ordina- 
tion of studies, co-operation of students, and capitalization of student 
activities, its life is continually renewed by the native and unceasing 
demands of the human spirit for the sweetness and light of culture, for 
the strength and charity of character, for the law and order and secu- 
rity of enlightened citizenship. It is the brain of the college, the heart 
of the college, the soul of the college. May this also be the spirit of 

There is nothing unusual in insisting that the spirit of one's college 
is democratic. Every college in the country contends that it has the 
spirit of true democracy; the only difference, if any, is that here we do 
have it. It is equally true that every good thing in college life has been 
a subject of criticism, and this is well, for criticism is the way to health, 
while complacency may be on the way to stagnation. No feature of 
organized college life has been the subject of greater criticism than the 
organized devotion to athletic sports, both in the college and among 
the colleges. In climatic conditions where outdoor life is easily possi- 
ble throughout the year, the new institution will have to face its prob- 
lems in athletics resolutely. This will be the more necessary because we 
believe to a man in outdoor sports; for quite as important to the stu- 
dent as his home and standards, as his habits and studies, are his hob- 
bies and his sports. We used to advocate athletics to make the boy a 
man; we now advocate athletics to keep the man a boy. Youth! eternal 
youth! lived in a fountain of perpetual youth! This is one of the great 
compensations of the academic life. Generations o( college men may 
come and generations go, but youth, joyous and eternal in its spirit, 
runs on through all these comings and goings. And this contagion has 
spread beyond the academic atmosphere, for everywhere there is the 
determination to die a hundred years young. This determination is 
best realized through systematic and regular physical exercise: it may 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

be throwing the discuss, hurling the hammer, putting the shot, wield- 
ing tennis racquet or golf stick, participating in football, baseball, and 
other sports in season, felling trees, driving a motor-car, or steering an 
airplane. Equally advantageous is a similar system of mental gymnas- 
tics to discipline the intellect and stimulate the imagination by some 
serious study wholly independent of one's vocation: for example, the 
Iliad or Euclid, the Principia or the Novum Or^anum. However, inas- 
much as we do no less of our thinking with our hearts than with our 
heads, it becomes imperative that the springs of our impulses be kept 
strong and pure. That is to say, the emotions must be held sane and 
normal; this equilibrium is perhaps best maintained by interest or skill 
in art. A study and a sport and a song! Personal prejudice might lead 
me to suggest mathematics, meadow-running across country, and 
music. In conclusion, and on the mighty element of this triad, the 
great defense of college sports is that sane devotion to them which 
leads not only to healthy living but to clean living. The dangers lie in 
over-training, in high specialization, in professional tendencies in the 
highly developed team, making sport for the few and spectators of the 
many. The problem is to get the student crowds off the bleachers and 
in the blazers. Some of these difficulties we hope to meet by giving 
athletic training a place in the curriculum, by encouraging class, club, 
and college competitions, by fostering the sportsman's spirit of ama- 
teur sport in all meets — a temper which I can perhaps best express by 
quoting the following striking and appropriate lines from a short poem 
by Mr. Henry Newbolt, entitled "Clifton Chapel," which appeared in 
the "Spectator" of September 10, 1898: 

To set the cause above renown, 
To love the ^ame beyond the prize, 
To honour while you strike him down 
The foe that comes ivith fearless eyes. 
To cou7it the life of battle good, 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


And dear the land that gave you birth, 
And dearer yet the brotherhood 
That binds the brave of all the earth. 

In thus writing about the students of Rice, I have written of their 
standards, their spirit, and their sports; I have yet to write, and as 
briefly as possible, of their studies, their shields, and their songs. I have 
told these students — these outriders of a host, these torch-bearers of 
the sun-dawn, these conquerors of a new day, these forerunners of a 
throng that is ultimately to be many thousand strong — these first stu- 
dents of the Rice Institute, I have told them that they are the Rice 
Institute. These beautiful buildings are its tenement of clay, but the 
staff and students its brain and heart, determining and regulating the 
flow of thought and the flow of life in its being: in them its character 
and intellect, its standards in scholarship and sports, assume concrete 
form; in them its spirit and temper find a body; without their presence 
these quadrangles would be empty, these halls silent; without their co- 
operation these plans would become ineffective, these programmes 
unfulfilled. But with their help, which they have given heartily, and 
with their hopes, which well up constantly, the dry bones of an acade- 
mic programme are coming to life, and these dry bones live. Probably 
the most joyous expression of that life will find itself in the songs of the 
students. These songs, inarticulate in our hearts, will one after anoth- 
er be called to vocal expression by the great days and crises of our life. 
We shall have our "Fair Harvard," "Old Nassau," "Hail, Pennsylvania," 
and "The Eyes of Texas are Upon You." With Yale men we too shall 
sing of this "Mother of Men," and to "Alma Mater" with Stanford, 
Johns Hopkins, Chicago, and Cornell. Under the Lone Star of Texas 
and the Owls of Rice, under the Blue and Gray floating from their 
standards — a blue still deeper than the Oxford blue, and the gray of 
Confederate days warmed into life by a tinge of lavender — they shall 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

sing their songs; sing of jasmine, magnolias, and roses, poinsettia and 
violets blue; they shall cheer their teams and their heroes for the deeds 
of valor they do in field or forum or classroom; for Rice and for 
Houston and Texas they shall cheer and shout and sing — sing of cam- 
panile stately and their college near the sea, sing of sunset on the 
prairie, of the moonrise through the pine-trees, of the Spanish moss 
and live oak, of the Quad's fair towers and cloisters, of undying loyal- 
ty; songs of sentiment and devotion giving rise to songs of service, 
inspired by the device on their banner, a Homeric device. 


[Always to be the best, and to be distinguished above others.] 

a line appearing twice in the Iliad at vi, 208, and xi, 784, said to 
have been the favorite of Alexander the Great and used by him 
to exhort his men on the great expedition; a device borne also as 
alev cxpiOTEUEiv [always to be the best] by the students of St. 
Andrews, who, in the days when we. were laying the foundations of 
this building, were celebrating the five-hundredth anniversary of the 
founding of their own university. In the longer of [Alexander] Pope's 
two translations the line reads: 

To win renown, 
To stand the first in worth as in command; 
To add new honours to my native land; 
Before my eyes my mighty sires to place, 
And emulate the glories of our race. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


And on the flag of these Rice students are two shields, a shield of 
the State of Texas and the shield of the Rice Institute. The latter 
heraldic device was designed by Mr. Pierre de Chaignon la Rose of 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, who has ingeniously combined the main 
elements of the arms of the several families bearing the names of Rice 
or Houston. The problem was simplified by the fact that the shields of 
some ten Rice armorial bearings were always divided by a chevron, 
always carried three charges, and when these charges were not crows 
they were ravens. Curiously enough, the shields of the half-dozen 
Houstons who bore arms were always divided by a chevron, while here 
again the three charges were birds, and these were always martlets. 
Accordingly it was decided to employ a double chevron, and since nei- 
ther the crow nor the raven nor the martlet had any historical acade- 
mic standing, owls of Athena were chosen for charges, and in the 
remarkable form in which they appeared on a small silver tetradrach- 
menon of the middle of the fifth century before Christ. The choice of 
colors was rather more difficult, and is a long story; but to make that 
long story short, among the several ends to be desired were, that the 
combination of colors should be stable, should not trespass upon the 
five or six hundred combinations already chosen by other institutions, 
should harmonize with State and national emblems for purposes of 
decoration on gala occasions, should be standard colors easily and eco- 
nomically procurable, and finally they should jump with local climat- 
ic conditions — that is to say, plenty of color and yet cool in the warm 
sun of summer, delicate and yet of sufficient life if days should per- 
chance be dull. At least some of these ends were attained in the com- 
bination of blue and gray described in the preceding paragraph, name- 
ly, the Confederate gray enlivened by a tinge of lavender, with a blue 
still deeper than the Oxford blue. 

In an earlier section of this address I have sketched in broad lines 
the scope of the new university's work and the range of its studies. I 


Edgar Odell and thi-, (^.rfation of Rice University 

have implied our belief that the college and the professional school 
thrive best in a university atmosphere. I have also said that this uni- 
versity programme with us is to have no upper limit, and that its lower 
limit is to be no lower than that of the more conservative colleges and 
universities of the country; that is to say, the Rice Institute's pro- 
gramme will include within its schedules of studies no courses of grade 
lower than collegiate grade. The opportunity to found a great sec- 
ondary school, as was the opportunity to devote the entire resources of 
the foundation to a single professional school, was tempting and 
equally promising. Neither of these courses, however, would have kept 
full faith with the will of the founder as expressed in the charter and 
testament, nor would either have served the city and the State quite 
as fully as the one finally adopted. Accordingly it is as a university that 
the Institute proposes to begin, a university of liberal and technical 
learning, where liberal studies may be studied liberally or technically, 
where technical subjects may be pursued either technically or liberal- 
ly, where whatever of professional training is offered is to be based as 
far as possible on a broad general education. 

Candidates for admission to the Institute who present satisfactory 
testimonials as to their character will be accepted either upon success- 
ful examination in the entrance subjects or by certificate of graduation 
from an accredited public or private high school. The terms of admis- 
sion to the Institute are based on the recommendations of the 
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as expressed 
in the Documents of the College Entrance Examination Board. While 
seeking to develop its students in character, in culture, and in citizen- 
ship, the Rice Institute will reserve for scholarship its highest rewards, 
and in particular for evidences of creative capacity in productive 
scholarship. To encourage this devotion to learning a series of under- 
graduate scholarships and graduate fellowships will be devised, to be 
awarded preferably to those students who have been in residence at 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


the Institute for at least one year. Moreover, the varied opportunities 
for self-help in a growing institution in a large city should aid in 
enabling any young man of determination to earn his education in a 
thoroughly democratic college community. There may thus be realized 
the founder's desire that the advantages which his philanthropy would 
make possible should be brought within the reach of the promising stu- 
dent of slender means. 

Although it is the policy of the new institution to develop its uni- 
versity programme rather more seriously from the science end, there 
are also being provided facilities for elementary and advanced courses 
in the so-called humanities, thereby enabling the Institute to offer 
both the advantages of a liberal general education and those of special 
and professional training. Extensive general courses in the various 
domains of scientific knowledge are available, but in the main the pro- 
gramme consists of subjects carefully coordinated and calling for con- 
siderable concentration of study. These programmes have been so 
arranged as to offer a variety of courses in arts, in science, in letters, 
and in their applications to the several fields of applied science, lead- 
ing after four years of undergraduate work to the degree of bachelor of 
arts. Degrees will also be offered in architecture and in chemical, civil, 
electrical and mechanical engineering. Furthermore, for the degrees of 
master of arts, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of engineering every 
facility will be afforded properly qualified graduate students to under- 
take lines of study and research under the direction of the Institute's 
resident and visiting professors. Thus it appears that Rice would inter- 
pret in a very large way its dedication to the advancement of letters, 
science, and art. It would look not only to the employment of these 
principles in the development of the life of the individual and in that 
of the race, but it would also play its part in the progress and enlarge- 
ment of human knowledge by the contributions of its own resident 
professors and scholars. We believe that to this end there should be a 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

constant and close association of undergraduate work and postgradu- 
ate work, that any proposals which would tend to their separation 
would be injurious to both. "A hard and fast line between the two is 
disadvantageous to the undergraduate, and diminishes the number 
who go on to advanced work. The most distinguished teachers must 
take their part in undergraduate teaching, and their spirit should dom- 
inate it all. The main advantage to the student is the personal influ- 
ence of men of original mind. The main advantage to the teachers is 
that they select their students for advanced work from a wider range, 
train them in their own methods, and are stimulated by association 
with them. Free intercourse with advanced students is inspiring and 
encouraging to undergraduates. The influence of the university as a 
whole upon teachers and students, and upon all departments of work 
within it, is lost if the higher work is separated from the lower." 
Accordingly, there should always be associated with the staff of the 
Institute a group of advanced students in training for careers both as 
teachers and researchers: with this end in view, graduate fellowships 
will be awarded from time to time to degree-bearing students of the 
Institute or other educational foundations of similar standing. As a 
matter of fact, in the academic year 1914-15 there are in residence 
two fellows in mathematics, two in physics, and one in biology. 

The academic schedules of study drawn up in the immediately suc- 
ceeding sections of this address had not been prepared in detail when 
the address was being written. They have grown gradually into form 
out of the general and local experience of the faculty of the Institute. 
They are taken from preliminary announcements, to which they were 
contributed on recommendation of the staff after discussions of pro- 
posals submitted by a committee on studies and schedules consisting of 
Messrs. IStockton] Axson, IGriffith C] Evans, [Albert L.] Guerard, 
Qulian S.l Huxley, and [Harold A.l Wilson, resident members of the 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


The programmes of courses leading to the degree of bachelor of arts 
after four years of study are of a common type for the first two years, 
but for the third and fourth years are differentiated into two forms: 
first, general courses leading to the degree of bachelor of arts, either 
with some grade of distinction or without special mention; second, 
honors courses leading to the same degree with first, second, or third 
class honors. These two types will be referred to in the sequel as gen- 
eral courses and honors courses, respectively. The general course lead- 
ing to the degree of bachelor of arts has been arranged to give thorough 
training to those students who are seeking university instruction in lit- 
erary and scientific subjects either as a part of a liberal education or as 
preliminary to entrance upon a business or professional career. The 
general course therefore involves the study of several subjects up to a 
high university standard, but does not include a highly detailed spe- 
cialized study of any one subject such as is necessary before research 
work or university teaching can be profitably undertaken. Students 
wishing to specialize with a view to research work and university 
teaching may either take an honors course and then proceed by grad- 
uate study to the degrees of master of arts and doctor of philosophy, or 
they may first take a general bachelor of arts course and after complet- 
ing it proceed by graduate study to the higher degrees. 

The attention of students intending to enter the profession of engi- 
neering or architecture will be constantly called to the great advan- 
tages in first taking a general or honors course before beginning special 
study in engineering or architecture. As a matter of fact, the time is 
coming when in the South there will be demand for a place where a 
bachelor's degree will be required for admission to courses in engineer- 
ing and other domains of applied science, and when that time comes 
the Rice Institute intends to occupy that place. However, in the face 
of present local conditions such a severe standard can only be reached 
through an evolutionary process that may occupy a score of years or a 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

generation. For the present the Institute will not offer courses leading 
to professional degrees in law and medicine, but students looking for- 
ward to such careers will find in the earlier years of the bachelor of arts 
courses all the requirements for admission to many medical and law 
schools, provided suitable subjects are chosen. However, in view of the 
fact that several of the leading professional schools of law and medi- 
cine are now requiring a bachelor's degree for admission, all such stu- 
dents are urged to proceed to this degree before entering upon special- 
ized study preparatory to the practice of their profession. 

To students of architecture the Institute offers a full course extend- 
ing over five years, leading to the bachelor's degree at the end of the 
fourth year and to an architectural degree at the end of the fifth year. 
It is the purpose of the course in architecture to lead men during their 
residence to a comprehensive understanding of the art of building; to 
acquaint them with the history of architecture from early civilization 
to the present age; and to develop within them an understanding and 
appreciation of those conceptions of beauty and utility which are fun- 
damental to the cultivation of ability in the art of design. The course 
has been so arranged as to include certain indispensable elements of 
liberal education and also such engineering and technical subjects as 
are becoming more and more necessary to the general education of a 
practicing architect. Of the more strictly architectural subjects, design 
is given by far the largest place. As a matter of fact, the courses in his- 
tory and design and those in free-hand drawing, in water-color, in 
drawing from life, and in historic ornament have all a double object: to 
create in the student an appreciation of architectural dignity and 
refinement, and to increase constantly his ability to express concep- 
tions of architectural forms. Accordingly the training of the student 
must not be limited to the training in draftsmanship alone, but all 
courses should conspire to the cultivation of creative and constructive 
ability in expression and design. With a view to keeping in touch with 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


the progress of his profession and with the daily routine and detail of 
its practice, it is strongly recommended that the student spend his 
summer vacations in the office of some practicing architect. 

Courses will be offered in chemical, civil, electrical, and mechani- 
cal engineering. A complete course in any one of these branches will 
extend over five years. A student who has successfully completed the 
first four years of a course will be awarded a bachelor's degree, and after 
successfully completing the remaining year of his course he will receive 
an engineering degree. The work of the first three years will be practi- 
cally the same for all students, but in the last two years each student 
will be required to select one of the special branches mentioned above. 
The work of the first two years will consist chiefly of courses in pure 
and applied mathematics, physics, chemistry, and other subjects, an 
adequate knowledge of which is absolutely necessary before the more 
technical courses can be pursued with advantage. During the first two 
years, however, a considerable amount of time will be devoted to engi- 
neering drawing and the elements of surveying. Technical work will 
begin in the third year^ with courses of a general character in mechan- 
ical engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering, all 
three to be taken by all engineering students, including those in chem- 
ical engineering. These courses will form an introduction to the tech- 
nical side of each branch, and should enable students intelligently to 
select a particular branch at the beginning of their fourth year. In the 
third year instruction will also be begun in shopwork. The classes in 
shopwork are intended to give familiarity with shopwork methods. 
The object of these classes is not primarily to train students to become 
skilled mechanics, but to provide such knowledge of shop methods as 


^ As a matter of fact, during the present academic year (1914-15) members of the junior class are 
receiving lecture and laboratory courses of general and introductory character in engineering and archi- 
tecture at the hands of Messrs. [Nicholas] Diamant, [Arthur Romaine] Hitch, [Herbert K.] Humphrey, 
[Joseph H.] Pound, [John Clark] Tidden, [William John] Van Sicklen, and [William W.] Watkin. 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

is desirable for those who may be expected as engineers to employ 
mechanics and to superintend engineering shops. It is intended in the 
engineering courses to pay special attention to the theoretical side, 
because experience has shown that theoretical knowledge is difficult 
to obtain after leaving the university, and without it a rapid rise in the 
profession of engineering is almost impossible. On the other hand, it is 
not intended to disregard practical instruction. For this reason the last 
three years will include, besides shopwork, a variety of practical work 
in engineering testing-laboratories. It is recommended that students 
obtain employment in engineering work during the summer vacations, 
for it should be remembered that no amount of university work can 
take the place of learning by practical experience in engineering estab- 
lishments and in the field. The courses in engineering are not intend- 
ed to take the place of learning by practical experience, but are 
designed to supply a knowledge of the fundamental principles and sci- 
entific methods on which the practice of engineering is based, and 
without which it is difficult, if not impossible, to succeed in the prac- 
tice of the profession. Students who can afford the time are recom- 
mended to devote three or four years to preliminary work instead of 
two, taking the bachelor of arts degree at the end of four years and an 
engineering degree at the end of six years. Students proposing to do 
this are advised to take a course devoted largely to mathematics, 
physics, and chemistry, or an honors course in either mathematics, 
physics, or chemistry. The subjects taken during the years of prepara- 
tory work must include those of the first two years in the general engi- 
neering course, which may be substituted for electives in the academ- 
ic bachelor of arts course. The honors course in physics is strongly rec- 
ommended for those who wish to become either electrical or mechan- 
ical engineers. 

As has already been intimated, the course for the degree of bache- 
lor of arts extends over four years. During the first two years a consid- 

The Meaning of the New Institution 

erable part of the work is prescribed, while during the last two years 
each student is allowed, with certain restrictions, to select the subjects 
he studies. In the majority of the courses the formal instruction offered 
consists of three lectures a week, on alternate days, together with lab- 
oratory work in certain subjects. 

The academic year is divided into three terms, but as a rule the year 
is the unit of the courses rather than the term. In addition to informal 
examinations held at irregular intervals, there are formal examinations 
at the end of each of the three terms. In determining the standing of a 
student in each class, both his work during the term and the record of 
his examinations are taken into account. 

Of subjects included in the bachelor of arts course the following are 

now available: 

• Group A: English, French, German, Spanish, 
economics, education, history, philosophy, archi- 

• Group B: pure mathematics, applied mathemat- 
ics, physics, chemistry, biology, chemical engi- 
neering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, 
mechanical engineering. 

Instruction in the classics is also offered on demand. 

Candidates for the degree of bachelor of arts of the Rice Institute 
are required for the first two years of their course to select studies from 
the preceding groups according to the following yearly programmes. 
First year: pure mathematics, English, a modern language, a science, 
and one other subject. Second year: pure mathematics or a science, 
English, a modern language, and two other subjects. Students who 
enter with credit in two modern languages may substitute another sub- 
ject for modern languages in the second year. At the beginning of the 
third year students may elect to take either a general course or an hon- 
ors course. The third year general bachelor of arts course consists of 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

four subjects, of which two must have been taken in the second year 
and one in both first and second. At least one subject from each of the 
groups A and B must be taken. Students will receive advice in the 
selection of their subjects. The fourth year general bachelor of arts 
course includes four subjects, two of which must have been taken in 
the third year and one in both second and third. At least one subject 
from each of the groups A and B must be taken. To students who have 
completed the general course the bachelor of arts degree will be award- 
ed either with some grade of distinction or without special mention. 
The third and fourth year honors courses are intended for students 
who wish to specialize in particular branches of knowledge with a view 
to research work or teaching or later professional studies. In view of 
these special objects, the requirements in such courses will be more 
severe than in the general courses in the same subjects. For this reason 
it is recommended that students exercise due caution and seek advice 
before electing to take an honors course. Only those students who 
have shown in their first and second years that they are especially well 
qualified will be permitted to take an honors course. A student propos- 
ing to take such a course must satisfy the department concerned that 
he is qualified to proceed with the study of that subject. He will be 
required to take the lectures and practical work provided for honors 
students in that subject during each of the two years, and in addition 
certain courses in allied subjects. The degree of bachelor of arts with 
first, second, or third class honors will be awarded, at the end of the 
fourth year, to students who have completed an honors course. Honors 
courses in mathematics and physics were given during the academic 
year 1913-14. In 1914-15 honors courses will be available in pure and 
applied mathematics, and theoretical and experimental physics. In 
addition to these, honors courses in modern languages and literatures 
and in biology will be offered in 1915-16. 

A student who has completed a general or an honors course for the 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


bachelor of arts degree may obtain the master of arts degree after the 
successful completion of one year of graduate work. A candidate for 
the degree of master of arts must select a principal subject and will be 
required to take such courses in that subject and allied subjects as may 

Bishop Thomas Frank Qailor of Tennessee speaking 
at the Formal Opejiing ceremonies. 

be determined for each individual case. He will also be expected to 
undertake research work under the direction of the department of his 
principal subject, and must submit a thesis embodying the results of his 
work. A student who has completed a general course for the bachelor 
of arts degree may obtain the degree of doctor of philosophy after not 
less than three years of graduate study and research work. A student 
who has obtained the bachelor of arts degree with first or second class 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

honors may obtain the doctor of philosophy degree after not less than 
two years of graduate study and research work. Candidates for the 
degree of doctor of philosophy must submit a thesis and pass a public 
examination. For the year 1914-15 graduate courses will be given in 
biology, pure and applied mathematics, and theoretical and experi- 
mental physics. 

From the preceding systematic schemes for academic and scientific 
work, it would appear that the Rice Institute aspires to university 
standing of the highest grade as an institution of liberal and technical 
learning, dedicated to the advancement of letters, science, and art, by 
instruction and by investigation, in the individual and in the race, its 
opportunities for study and research being open, without tuition and 
without fees, both to young men and to young women. Moreover, to 
recapitulate more broadly, the new university, subject neither to polit- 
ical nor to sectarian affiliations, is governed by a self-perpetuating 
board of seven trustees, elected for life. Under a definite educational 
policy and comprehensive architectural plan, it is being built and 
maintained out of the income of its funds of approximately ten million 
dollars for endowment and equipment. On its campus of three hundred 
acres, in a half-dozen initial laboratory, lecture, and residential build- 
ings of extraordinary beauty, there are at work in the academic session 
of 1914-15 a teaching staff of some thirty members, all inspired by the 
spirit of research, maintaining highest standards of entrance require- 
ments and of scholastic standing after admission, offering university 
courses in liberal arts, pure and applied science, architecture and engi- 
neering; a small group of graduate students in mathematics, physics, 
and biology; a self-governed democratic undergraduate body of fresh- 
men, sophomores, and juniors, of more than two hundred and fifty 
members, from some seventy-five towns in Texas and fifteen States of 
the Union, the first freshman class having been received in September, 
1912, to earn the first degrees, which will be conferred in June, 1916. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


VII • The University: Its Shades & Towers 

No sketch of the university's programme, however sUght, would 
be complete without some descriptive account of the general 
architectural plan, according to whose principles of beauty 
and utility students and staff are to be provided with theaters of action, 
groves for reflection, laboratories of discovery, libraries of knowledge, 
fields for sport, halls for speech and song, homes for complete living, 
and all dedicated to the freedom of sound learning and the fellowship 
of youth. At the risk of repetition, several details of this rather ambi- 
tious scheme will now be recited. 

It is not difficult to plan for fifty years, nor is it difficult to plan for 
five years: difficulty enters only when it is necessary to plan at one and 
the same time for the immediate future and for the next hundred years. 
The problem is to design a scheme which is so flexible as to be capable 
of indefinite expansion along prescribed lines of educational policy 
and physical environment, and which at the same time is sufficiently 
compact and so closely articulated as to be comfortably and economi- 
cally efficient in the earlier stages of its development. The plan about 
to be described briefly is an evolution out of some thirty-five or forty 
preliminary studies. In its final form it is believed to represent with 
fidelity the educational programme of the new institution, and to 
meet, with some measure of success, the demands of local geography, 
subsequent growth, initial harmony, and final unity. 

Behold a campus of three hundred acres, a tract as irregular in form 
as if purchased in Boston, with four thousand feet frontage on the 
Main Street of Houston. Unfold the map we have made, for a great 
deal of the meaning of this new institution appears in its lanes and 
lawns, its walks and drives, its cloisters and retreats, its playing-fields 
and garden courts, its groups of residential halls for men, its halls of res- 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

idence for women, its gymnasium, and stadium, and union, its several 
quadrangles of laboratories in science pure and applied, its schools of 
liberal arts, of fine arts, of mechanic arts, its chapel and choir, its lec- 
ture-halls and amphitheaters, its Greek playhouse and astronomical 
observatory, its great hall with library and museum wings, its graduate 
college of research and professional schools. Of the four main 
entrances to the three-hundred-acre campus, the principal one lies at 
the corner of the grounds nearest the city. From this entrance the 
approach to the Administration Building is a broad avenue several 
hundred yards long, ending in a fore-court, which will be bounded on 
the left by the School of Fine Arts, on the right by the Residential 
College for Women. The main avenue of approach coincides with the 
central axis of the block plan, and from the principal gateway opens up 
through the vaulted sally-port of the Administration Building a vista 
of more than a mile within the limits of the campus. After dividing at 
the fore-court the driveway circles the ends of the Administration 
Building and continues for half a mile in two heavily planted drives 
parallel to this axis and separated by a distance of seven hundred feet. 
Within the extended rectangle thus formed the pleasing effect of 
widening vistas has been realized. On passing through the sally-port 
from the fore-court, the future visitor to the Institute will enter upon 
an academic group consisting of five large buildings, which with their 
massive cloisters surround on three sides a richly gardened court mea- 
suring three hundred by five hundred feet, planted in graceful cypress- 
es. Beyond this group is another academic court of still greater dimen- 
sions planted in groves of live-oaks; this Great Court in turn opens 
into extensive Persian gardens beyond which the vista is closed at the 
extreme west by a great pool and the amphitheater of a Greek play- 
house. The principal secondary axis of the general plan, starting from 
the boulevard and running north perpendicularly to the main axis, 
crosses the lawns and courts of the Liberal Arts and Science groups 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


into the Mechanical Laboratory and the Power-house, the first build- 
ings of the Engineering Group. The fourth entrance on Main Street 
leads to the athletic playing fields and the Residential Colleges for 
Men. While each unit of the latter group has its own inner court, the 
several buildings themselves together inclose a long rectangular court 
bounded at the eastern end by a club-house, an adaptation of the 
Oxford Union, and on the west by the Gyranasium, which opens on 
the Athletic Stadium in the rear. North of the men's residential group 
and across the Great Court, lying between the Botanical Gardens and 
the Laboratories of Pure and Applied Science, appear the splendid 
quadrangles of the Graduate School and its professional departments; 
south and west of the latter quadrangles will rise the domes of the 
Great Hall with its Library and Museum wings, and the Astronomical 
Observatories, respectively. 

Although designed to accommodate the executive and administra- 
tive offices when the Institute shall have grown to normal dimensions, 
the Administration Building will be used during the first few years to 
meet some of the needs of instruction as well as those of administra- 
tion. The building is of absolutely fire-proof construction throughout; 
it is three stories high, three hundred feet long and fifty feet deep, with 
a basement running its entire length. Through a central tower of four 
stories a vaulted sally-port thirty feet high, leading from the main 
approach and fore-garden to the academic court, gives entrance to the 
halls of the building and opens the way to the broad cloisters on the 
court side. On the first floor, besides offices of registration, there are 
lecture-rooms, class, study, and conference rooms. In the north wing of 
the second floor the temporary plans make adequate arrangements for 
library and reading-rooms; the second and third floors of the south 
wing are given to a public hall, which, with its balconies, extends to 
the height of two stories. A little later on in the history of the Institute 
this assembly hall will become the faculty chamber. The remaining 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

part of the third floor provides additional space for recitation and sem- 
inar rooms, and offices for members of the teaching staff. The meet- 
ing-room of the Board of Trustees and the office of the President of the 
Institute are located in the tower. 

In its architecture the Administration Building reveals the influ- 
ence of the earliest periods of the Mediterranean countries: vaulted 
Byzantine cloisters, exquisite Dalmatian brickwork, together with 
Spanish and Italian elements in profusion; all in a richness of color 
permissible only in climates similar to our own. The dominant warm 
gray tone is established by the use of local pink brick, a delicately tint- 
ed marble from the Ozark Mountains, and Texas granite, though the 
color scheme undergoes considerable variation by the studied use of 
tiles and foreign marbles. To meet the local climatic conditions the 
building has been pierced by loggias and many windows, while its long 
shaded cloister opens to the prevailing winds. The corner-stone of this 
monumental structure was set in place by the trustees of the Institute 
on the seventy-fifth anniversary of Texas independence. 

Two wings of the first building in the students' residential group for 
men are now ready for occupancy. This quadrangle, consisting of a 
dormitory and a commons, is placed southwest of the Administration 
Building, its front approach leading from the fourth campus entrance 
on the Main Street boulevard. The residential wings are long three- 
story fire-proof structures with towers of five stories, broad cloisters on 
the front, and basements extending the entire length. Each wing 
opens upon a garden on one side, and on the other upon its own court. 
In arrangement and equipment the buildings are modern and in every 
way attractive and convenient. Accommodations for about two hun- 
dred students are offered in single and double rooms and suites. 
Lodgings have been provided for several preceptors, and two large 
halls have been set aside for the temporary use of literary and debating 
societies. The floors of the wings are so planned as to insure for every 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


room perfect ventilation and absolutely wholesome conditions. There 
are lavatories, shower-baths, and sanitary connections adequate to the 
needs of each floor; the power for both light and heat will be received 
from the central plant. An arcade rather more than one hundred feet 
in length leads from the dormitory wing across the inner court to the 
commons which constitutes the northern boundary of the quadrangle. 
The commons proper includes every detail necessary for the perfect 
service of all the men living in the residential group and at the same 
time is of sufficient size and capacity to serve other members of the 
student body. In addition to the dining-hall and its equipment, this 
section of the building contains club and reading rooms. It is graced 
also by a handsome clock-tower, four stories high, surmounted by a 
belfry: the several floors of the tower have been arranged in suites of 
rooms to be reserved for the use of graduate students and instructors. 
As has been intimated already, the other buildings under way propose 
to reveal in brick and marble some of the more subtle suggestions of 
the southern architecture of Europe and the East, and at the same time 
to realize the fundamental principles of their sources in a distinctive 
style of academic architecture for all the future buildings of the 
Institute. Consistent with the architectural style thus evolved, a pleas- 
ing and harmonious variation appears in the treatment of the first res- 
idential group, whose several towers and cloisters in brick and stucco 
are designed to produce an effect characteristically Venetian. 

Located at the northern end of the principal secondary axis of the 
general architectural plan are groups of scientific and technical labo- 
ratories. The first buildings of this section of the campus, namely, the 
Mechanical Laboratory, Machine-shop, and Power-house, have been 
erected north of the Administration Building at the end of a long 
direct driveway from the third Main Street entrance. The Laboratory, 
a two-story fire-proof building two hundred feet long and forty feet 
deep, with a cloister extending the full length of its court side, is built 
of materials similar to those used in the construction of the 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

Administration Building. The space of its floors will be given to scien- 
tific laboratories, lecture-halls, recitation-rooms, departmental 
libraries, and offices for instructors in charge, while its basement will 
afford additional room for further apparatus. Through the Machine- 

Lecture in the Faculty Chamber of the Administration Building (now the 
Founders ' Room in Lovett Hall) during the Formal Opening. 

shop the Mechanical Laboratory connects with the Powerhouse, 
where is installed equipment for complete steam, refrigerating, and 
electric generating and distributing systems. The lofty campanile of 
this group, visible for miles in every direction, will probably be for 
many years the most conspicuous among the towers of the Institute. 

Further improvements of the campus are being gradually effected. 
An extensive concrete water-proof tunnel has been constructed to 

The Meaning of the New Institution 

transmit power — water, steam, electricity, heating, and cooling — from 
the central plant to all the buildings on the grounds. With a diameter 
sufficient to admit a man standing erect, the tunnel has ample space 
for all wiring and piping in positions easy of access, thus insuring per- 
fect care of the equipment and a resultant increase in efficiency. 
Progress has also been made in the installation of complete sanitary 
and drainage systems, which, with an unlimited supply of wholesome 
water, should give assurance of perfect physical conditions at the site 
of the Institute. The most important driveways, including the main 
approach to the Administration Building, the drives along the axes 
leading to the group of scientific laboratories and to the students' res- 
idential group, and the long roads inclosing the academic court, have 
been laid on deep foundations of gravel with surfacing of crushed gran- 
ite. The planting of double rows of oaks, elms, and cypresses along 
these drives and the assembling of hedges, shrubs, and flowers within 
the gardens and courts of the present groups, will subsequently impress 
even the casual visitor both with the magnitude and with the beauty 
of the general architectural plan. 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

VIII • The University: Its Strength & Support 

/ / 'Tis not the walls that make the city, but the men"; and the men 
in the day of Pericles were freemen who "pursued culture in a 
manly spirit, and beauty without extravagance." Such freemen are 
the men that build the university. The strength of this foundation lies 
in its freedom: the freedom to think independently of tradition; the 
freedom to deal directly with its problems without red tape; the free- 
dom to plan and execute vouchsafed by the will of the founder and the 
charter of his foundation; the freedom of his seven trustees, seven 
freemen, who approach its problems of organization, policy, and aim, 
without educational prejudices to stultify, without partisan bias to hin- 
der, without sectarian authority to satisfy, with open minds accustomed 
to large problems, with clear heads experienced in tracking the minut- 
est details of business; seven men always ready to reason together, 
steady and conscientious in reaching conclusions, quick and decisive 
in action when through common counsel they have come to a com- 
mon mind respecting any line of action. Indeed, in no circumstance 
has the new institution been more fortunate than in the circumstance 
that the foundation and its future are held in trust by a half-dozen 
Texans, men who have the blood of the pioneers in their veins, the 
purpose and courage of the pioneers in their hearts, themselves suc- 
cessful men of affairs, who with the characteristic mindedness imposed 
by the magnitude of the State itself, desire only the best, seek only the 
best, and think in none but large terms of any problem or enterprise. 
For this reason it is easy to dare and to do great things in Texas, for the 
men who have been winning this empire are to a man dominated by 
imperial ideas for it. The dominant idea of these trustees is that here 
in Texas there should arise an institution great for the future of Texas. 
Believing that the best is none too good for the sons and daughters of 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


Texas, and determined to give to Texans a better Texas, these men 
have not hesitated to command the services of men and material and 
machinery whenever and wherever the best of such services was to be 
commanded. And in their freedom these trustees are building for the 
founder a university whose greatest strength likewise is in its freedom: 
in the freedom of its faculties of science, humanity, and technology, to 
teach and to search — each man a freeman to teach the truth as he 
finds it, each man a freeman to seek the truth wherever truth may lead: 
in the freedom to serve the State because entangled in no way with the 
government of the State, and the freedom to serve the Church because 
vexed by none of the sectarian differences that disturb the heart of the 

While we rejoice in our freedom from Church or State control, we 
rejoice none the less in the work of these fundamental and indispens- 
able agencies of civilization, for we can conceive of no university in 
whose life there does not appear the energy and enthusiasm, the affec- 
tion and the calm, that we associate in one way or another with rev- 
erence, patriotism, politics, and religion. Hence to us, quite as impor- 
tant as is a university's freedom from control by State or Church, are 
its right relations to each of these two institutions, because upon prin- 
ciples of order, conduct, and knowledge is based our faith in the capac- 
ity of the human spirit for progress, and without such basic faith all 
theories of education become either confused or futile. As a matter of 
fact, any civilized life of men in communities of culture and restraint 
does demand for its very existence the three great fundamental 
requirements I have just named — order, conduct, knowledge; and 
these three primary requisites find their expression in the forms of 
three great institutions — the State, the Church, and the University. 
These institutions themselves are not fixed and final but fluid and 
forming, constantly in the flow of change, in transition from good to 
better, to meet new requirements of a changing world and a growing 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

humanity. In their present mutual relations, the State, the master of 
the sword and peace; the Church, the guardian of the soul and purity; 
the University, the servant of each of them in preserving to men the 
mastery of their spirits. The State guaranteeing to the University intel- 
lectual freedom, to the Church religious freedom; the University in 
freedom of thought and research constantly enriching the State with 
the theory of its own greatness, constantly recalling the Church to the 
theories of life wherein all men are made free; the Church in its turn 
sustaining the Nation and supporting the University in high ideals of 
progress and ultimate triumph. These three institutions constitute the 
triple alliance of civilization: the patriot, the priest, and the professor, 
the great triumvirate of progress, preserving to citizen, saint, and 
scholar political freedom, intellectual freedom, religious freedom, guar- 
anteeing to all liberty in the pursuit of happiness, liberty in the pursuit 
of knowledge, liberty in the pursuit of heaven. This threefold freedom, 
this threefold liberty, brings to citizen, saint, and scholar correspond- 
ing obligations. Their greatest obligation, greatest service, individual 
and collective, to the State is to enlighten public opinion; to the 
Church, is to conserve faith; to the University, is to save the human 
race through universal education, universal but not necessarily uni- 
form, voluntary where possible, compulsory when necessary, competi- 
tive and selective always. 

These obligations the State and the Church have made noble 
efforts to meet in Texas. From the early days of the Republic the 
Church has been the founder of colleges and the State the patron of 
learning. Each is constantly seeking for its institutions the means for 
better equipment, for larger endowment, for greater efficiency in ser- 
vice.'^ We honor the State and the Church for the work they have 

^ In most recent days, on the initiative and faith of one man, Mr. Will C. Hogg of Houston, an 
alumnus of the University of Texas and son of a distinguished governor of this commonwealth, there has 
been formed and endowed, under the auspices of the University of Texas Alumni Association, of which 
Mr. Edwin B. Parker of Houston is president, an Organization for the Enlargement by the State of Texas 
of Its Higher Institutions of Learning. This so-called Hogg Organization is prosecuting its work under a 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


done. Even more do we honor them for the greater work they are 
proposing to do, for education in Texas. We modestly but confidently 
hope to aid them in this work, for it would be pleasant to think that 
this new university in Texas is the best thing that could have happened 
to every other university of Texas. The pioneers believed in education 
for all the people as the surest safeguard of their free institutions. Said 
Sam Houston, "The benefits of education and of useful knowledge, 
generally diffused through a community, are essential to the preserva- 
tion of a free government." Said Mirabeau B. Lamar, "Cultivated mind 
is the guardian genius of democracy — It is the only dictator that 

Board of control of which Dr. Sidney E. Mezes, president of the University of Texas, is chairman, Mr. F. 
M. Bralley, State superintendent of public instruction, is executive secretary, and Mr. Arthur Lefevre, for- 
merly State superintendent ot public instruction, is secretary for research. Among the objects of the pre- 
sent programme of this organization is the education of public opinion, from platform, press and pulpit, 
by frank accounts of the present equipment of the educational institutions directly under the patronage 
of the State of Texas, and by comparative studies based on the history of the State institutions of other 
States of the Union. This movement has as its final object-and this final object is bound in time to be 
attained-the removal of all the State-supported educational institutions, namely, the Agricultural and 
Mechanical College of Texas, the College of Industrial Arts, the several State Normal Schools, and the 
University of Texas, entirely from the sphere of political influence, and their relief from the necessity of 
depending on appeals to the legislative bodies of the State government for periodical appropriations to 
meet expenses of maintenance and equipment. 

And the denominational institutions are keeping pace. The Baptists, with the help of a donation 
from the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation, are adding substantially to the endow- 
ment of Baylor University under the leadership of President Samuel P. Brooks; the Christians, burnt out 
at Waco, are building at Fort Worth a new Texas Christian University under the presidency of Dr. 
Frederick D. Kershner [Add-Ran College, originally established near Granbury in 1873, was taken over 
by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1889, moved to Waco in 1895, and became Texas 
Christian University in 1902. In 1910 a devastating fire destroyed the administration building, and the 
following year T.C.U. moved to its present location in Ft. Worth (editor's note).]; the Methodists are 
adding to the resources of Southwestern University at Georgetown under President Charles M. Bishop, 
and with the assistance of an appropriation from the Rockefeller Foundation are building in Dallas a new 
institution to be called Southern Methodist University, with Dr. Robert S. Hyer as president; while the 
Presbyterians are rebuilding Austin College at Sherman under President Thomas S. Clyce, are seeking 
increased endowment for Trinity University at Waxahachie under President Samuel L. Hombeak, and, 
under the leadership of the president of their educational board. Dr. Robert E. Vinson of Austin, are 
proposing to add at least one new college to their list of institutions in Texas. Moreover, at the Rice 
Institute we have already felt the influence of the educational institutions maintained by the Catholic 
Church at Dallas, Galveston, Houston, San Antonio, and other points in Texas, and we have also felt a 
similar influence on the part of the Hebrew faith which has not been lacking in stimulating the devel- 
opment of education and the advancement of learning in Texas. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

freemen acknowledge and the only security that freemen desire." With 
these pioneers we their successors believe that in the character of the 
cultivated citizen lies the strength of the civilized State. In writing 
thus a cardinal article of our creed I have used the phrase "cultivated 
citizen" deliberately and advisedly. I am quick to take off my hat to the 
self-made man, and among people so democratic as is this people there 
will never come a time when any door of opportunity will be closed to 
him. But the race with the college-trained man the self-made man is 
finding a race severer and severer. Even as recently as a decade ago the 
college man was compelled to defend the course he had pursued, but 
more lately, in business as in professional life, his demonstrated and 
enduring potentialities have been steadily and surely placing him in 
the lead. Nor in public life has it come to pass by accident in our 
national history, that the leading candidates in the last two presiden- 
tial campaigns should have been graduates of Harvard and Yale, 
respectively, and the three leading candidates in the present presiden- 
tial campaign be graduates, respectively, of the oldest, the next oldest, 
and the next to the next oldest of American colleges, Theodore 
Roosevelt of Harvard, William Howard Taft of Yale, and Woodrow 
Wilson of Princeton. That our best trained men are showing a growing 
disposition to enter earnestly into political life, is a most encouraging 
sign for the future of our government. For an increasing number of our 
men of education are entering the field of public life to possess it for 
the common weal, and they are transforming it into a place where men 
may take up their residence, live honestly, and be held in honor. In dis- 
interested public service they are transforming the politics of the pro- 
fessional politician, whose problems are sometimes mean, into the pol- 
itics of the statesman and patriot, whose problems are always large. I 
believe in holding up careers in practical politics as inviting ones to 
vigorous young men of broad academic training, men of the same fiber 
and stuff and consecration as are those who turn their backs on remu- 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


nerative callings and possible commercial success to enter the ministry 
and other humanitarian professions. Honor might come slowly, but 
honors are not the chief thing, though I know of no more inviting or 
promising field where a man might hope to gain the world of greatest 
opportunity and at the same time save his own soul in unselfish service 
to his fellow men. It was to just such disinterested active participation 
in public life that one of our great presidents, the late Grover 
Cleveland, called his fellow citizens at a notable academic celebration 
several years ago. "Of the many excellent speeches at the two hundred 
and fiftieth anniversary of Harvard College," wrote the late Mandell 
Creighton to the London 'Times,' "none was of more general interest 
than that of President Cleveland, who, with great modesty, deplored 
his lack of university education, and exhorted men of learning to take 
a greater part in public affairs. 'Any disinclination,' he said, 'on the 
part of the most learned and cultured of our citizens to mingle in pub- 
lic affairs, and the consequent abandonment of political activity to 
those who have but little regard for the student and the scholar, are not 
favorable conditions under a government such as ours. And if they 
have existed to a damaging extent, recent events appear to indicate 
that the education and conservatism of the land are to be hereafter 
more plainly heard in the expression of the popular will.'" 

Texans have not been slow in responding to calls to public service 
from State or Nation. Such calls they have not infrequently answered 
with conspicuous public service. But if Texas has sent publicists to 
Washington, bankers, college executives, and railway presidents to 
San Francisco, St. Louis, Chicago, and New York, Texas has hardly 
held her own with the rest of the country in science and scholarship, 
whose service is equally important to State and society. Nor in this 
respect has the South as a whole held her own, but for that matter the 
country itself is just beginning to hold its own in science and scholar- 
ship with the rest of the world, and there are better days ahead of Texas 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

and the South. These better days will call for leisure as well as learn- 
ing, for the philosopher as well as the promoter, for men of daring to 
think as well as men of courage to act, for men whose thoughts are 
their deeds, men who can exclaim with Hegel, "Das Denken ist auch 
Gottesdienst" ["Thinking, too, is worship."]. The call to the vocation 
of scholar or scientist this address makes a thousand times, from its ini- 
tial line to its final paragraph. Where it is not a call it is a charge or a 
challenge, and appeal follows on appeal where argument does not fol- 
low argument. A great wave of agitation and enthusiasm for voca- 
tional education has been passing over the entire country. We have 
felt the force of this wave, but on the top of the wave the Rice 
Institute would place vocational education for science, for scholar- 
ship, for citizenship, training for the vocation of scientist, training for 
the vocation of scholar, training for the vocation of citizen. There is 
not a man in this company to-day who does not envy the inventive 
scholar his idealism, his intellectual freedom, his fearless pursuit of 
truth, his persistent devotion to the things of the spirit. Nor is there a 
man within earshot who does not envy the practical philosopher his 
resourceful, practical sense. In these reactions we have one of the larg- 
er ends of education, for one of the great ends of education as a social 
work in our time is on the one hand to glorify the workaday world 
with the idealism of the poet and painter, the preacher and professor, 
and on the other hand to humanize and inform the world of science 
and art and letters with the practical purpose and poise of the calcu- 
lating captains of industry and commerce. Perhaps I may combine the 
two orders of ideas on which I have touched in no better way than by 
saying that learning in our day is no longer an affair of the cloister and 
the clinic alone; it is also of the mill, the market-place, and the 
machine-shop. In fact, a not unfamiliar conception of the university 
itself is that of a mill for converting the youth of the commonwealth 
into citizens of the State. Its function is to transform mind into a high- 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


er order of mind; the mind of the individual, the mind of the commu- 
nity, the mind of the State, the mind of the race, into a higher order of 
mind. Its business is to train efficient thinking men for the business of 
life. In reality, the earliest mediaeval universities were professional and 
technical schools. It was largely as a professional school for the train- 
ing of the minister and the schoolmaster that the early American col- 
lege flourished. The original learned professions were theology, medi- 
cine, and law. We are adding engineering to this original list by mak- 
ing its elemental doctrines the means of liberal culture as well as the 
groundwork for a profession which is fundamental to all industrial and 
commercial progress. Similarly we are adding architecture and educa- 
tion, and a little later agriculture. With us, men for these professions 
are to be scientifically equipped through special training based on a 
broad foundation of liberal education. And as regards this broad foun- 
dation of liberal education, our ideas of liberal and technical learning 
have been experiencing a transition from rather strict delimitation to 
bounds broader and broader. By liberal learning we no longer mean the 
so-called classical humanities alone, but also the new humanism con- 
stituted of modern civilization and modern culture, of modern letters 
and modern science. And by a foundation for technical training in 
applied science we now mean the great range of physical sciences 
which at one time could be subsumed under the term natural philoso- 
phy; the great range of active biological sciences which have devel- 
oped from the ancient descriptive science of natural history; the great 
range of psychological and philosophical sciences which, under the 
influence of scientific method, have grown out of the older mental and 
moral philosophy; and finally, the larger range where men are still 
seeking science, in which the sciences of matter and of life and of mind 
are to be extended to the crowd, to the community, and to civilization 
itself as objects. 

In the immediately preceding paragraphs of this section of my 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

remarks I have spoken of the strength that the new university possess- 
es in its freedom, in its faith, and in its faculties of science, humanity, 
and technology, as well as in the financial resources of its foundation. 
I have also pointed out several ways in which that strength is to issue 
in service to State and Church and society through science and schol- 
arship and citizenship. In the several concluding paragraphs I desire to 
call attention to certain other sources of strength and support — 
sources of human strength that support the university — and to some 
aspects of the larger relations of a university's life. 

Education does not begin with the university, nor does it end in the 
university. It is a matter of life, the whole span of life, and both before 
and after. The Church finds its continuance beyond the death of a 
man, and science has been teaching the State to look for its beginnings 
far in advance of the birth of the child. "Is it not strange," asks Thomas 
Traheme, "that a little child should be heir to the whole world?" To 
secure that heritage for the child, man's collective force and knowl- 
edge conspire, in a century "in which the care and love of children 
have taken their place as the first general solicitude of all civilized soci- 
eties." Ours has been called the century of the child. No known age of 
the world's history before our own could have painted the picture of 
"the innumerable children all round the world trooping morning by 
morning to school, along the lanes of quiet villages, the streets of noisy 
cities, on sea-shore and lakeside, under the burning sun, and through 
the mists, in boats on canals, on horseback on the plains, in sledges on 
the snow, by hill and valley, through bush and stream, by lonely moun- 
tain path, singly, in pairs, in groups, in files, dressed in a thousand fash- 
ions, speaking a thousand tongues." This panorama of the world 
repeats itself in Texas. In the schools for the children of Texas and the 
South lie the deeper roots of this new university's life. The foundations 
on which we build are laid by these schools of the State and the 
Church. The upper limit of their work determines the lower limit of 

The Meaning of the New Institution 

ours. On the religious side, the foundations are laid by the Sunday- 
schools and the private preparatory schools maintained by the church- 
es; on the secular side, by the public schools maintained out of public 
funds, and by private secondary schools which may or may not be inde- 
pendent of religious control. In America the separation of State and 
Church is sharp and distinct in matters of government; this separation 
is also sharp and distinct in matters of education. Religious teaching 
thus excluded from the public day-schools is being systematically and 
thoroughly promoted in the Sunday-schools of the churches. Through 
steady and marked improvement in their teachers, their methods, their 
equipment, their curriculum, their grading, and their results, these 
Sunday-schools are becoming entitled to rank as a part of our nation- 
al system of education. As regards the schools for secular education in 
the older States of the South, we find that, largely because of strong 
individualistic tendencies in those States, the private preparatory 
school has flourished. The oldest State university in the South, name- 
ly, the University of Virginia, was until recently fed almost exclusive- 
ly by private schools all over the South, manned by University of 
Virginia men. But the wave of public education, from its earliest 
springs of source in Massachusetts and Virginia, has spread over the 
whole South, until now from Virginia to Texas each State is building 
from the moneys of its public chest an educational highway for all its 
children from kindergarten to university. This wave, however, has not 
submerged completely the private schools. Many of these private foun- 
dations still survive through providing advantages of small classes, 
individual instruction, personal supervision, and personal contact in 
smaller academic communities — advantages which the public schools 
are not yet able to offer in the same degree. Nor is this wave of public 
education beating in vain upon the low lands and the highlands of 
Texas, for any inquiry into public education in Texas would show 
steady growth and improvement, from earnest beginnings, in at least 
four things: the laws concerning education; the subjects of instruction 

Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

and programmes of study; the organization of the teaching, including 
training and supervision; and the administration of the laws and of the 
departments created under them. This is neither the time nor the 
place to go into details concerning public education in Texas, but a few 
further general observations may perhaps be made with propriety. 
When the history of public education in Texas comes to be written, 
the chapter recording the history of our own time will show that the 
people who are taking thought for education in Texas realize that for 
State as for private education deliberate organization is necessary, 
inspired by an adequate theory of education — a theory distilled from 
the accumulated history of education, a spirit of conscientious striving 
to deal with three questions: Why is education undertaken? What to 
teach so as to achieve the ends of education? How to teach so as to 
educate? That same chapter of history will show that if, with the 
inevitable hospitality of a new country where all things are open to 
experiment, there has been a somewhat too ready acceptance of nov- 
elties in education, there has also been deep moral earnestness with its 
abhorrence of semblances and shams, for with us a thorough desire to 
bring all current opinions — for example, the educational doctrines of 
such earnest enthusiasts as Mr. Edmond G. A. Holmes of London, Dr. 
Georg Kerschensteiner of Munich, and Dr. Maria Montessori of 
Rome — to the test of experience and judgment by results, has always 
been accompanied by a feeling of the moral duty of spreading knowl- 
edge, of popularizing the results of study and making them known to 
all. It will show increasing desire of our people for a good race and good 
government, for the city beautiful and the country beautiful, for good 
conscience in matters of truth and good conscience in things of taste — 
a desire remaining without rest and unsatisfied until all the children of 
the State shall be in school all the time for nine months of every cal- 
endar year. That same chapter will also show quick response to the pre- 
sent popular movements for social centers and play grounds, and more 
general recognition of the right of every child to live and grow up to 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


the full stature of a man, and the right of every man that labors to 
some leisure for his own spiritual growth. It will show a growing 
knowledge on our part that democratic education is of all forms the 
most costly, and a generous determination on the part of the people to 
meet the cost through taxation. And, finally, that chapter of history 
will also record a growing disposition on the part of the people of 
Texas to provide at the expense of the State all things necessary in the 
way of education — physical, mental, moral, elementary, secondary, 
university, scientific, literary, artistic, liberal, technical, or profession- 
al — without restriction of subject or kind or grade; without limit of 
amount or cost; without distinction of class or race or creed or sex or 
age. This means money, money, money, and men, men, men — the men 
to assume the responsibilities, the money to pay the bills for the pro- 
vision of all these opportunities. And in particular, as regards the high 
schools on which this and other universities and professional schools 
must lean, is not the thing most necessary for the welfare of universi- 
ty education in Texas to secure at all costs good teachers and plenty of 
them for these schools? Indeed, if the strongest and finest minds are to 
be prepared for the universities, should not the staff of the public high 
school be composed of men and women of very extensive culture in 
several branches of learning and intensive specialization in some one 
field: a few members of erudition in scholarship, a few of productive 
capacity in science, a great number of exceptional teaching ability? 
The prime obligation of this corps of teachers would be not to schol- 
arship, nor to science, nor to study, nor to the school even, but to the 
students themselves: and to them not merely as mechanisms that can 
be taught to think, but to their whole selves as think-ing, feel-ing, 
will-ing beings. The tutors, not taskmasters but fellow-workers; the 
students, not driven by discipline, but led by enthusiasm; the school, 
not an interruption in the normal life of the student, but the surest 
means to its complete realization. In a word, the school would be cen- 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

tered on the students. Their studies and their sports, their work and 
their play, would be so ordered as to feed and fire their enthusiasms, to 
stimulate and strengthen intellect in exact thinking and imagination 
in clear vision, to arouse to action their latent powers of mental 
acquisitiveness, to develop initiative and again initiative, to enable 
them to discover themselves and their relations to the great arena of 
service and opportunity, to train them for the duties of intelligent cit- 
izenship in the republic and fit them also to enjoy and perhaps later to 
advance the larger world of civilization in letters, science, and art. 

Another source of unfailing strength to the new university exists 
ready to hand in the presence of the several hundred college men and 
women now resident in the city of Houston. While the coming of the 
new institution and contact with its life will serve to warm their loy- 
alty to their own respective colleges, because of that very interest and 
devotion they will be quick to interpret sympathetically the aims and 
ideals of the Rice Institute to the people of its community. They will 
thus become one of the first of its human assets and one of the fore- 
most of its living sources of strength. To renew and freshen the acade- 
mic interests of these former collegians, to stimulate and sustain the 
intellectual life of the teachers of the city's schools, to tempt business 
and professional workers to at least occasional excursions into the aca- 
demic atmosphere surrounding the university, to keep all the members 
of the Institute in a lively and appreciative sense of familiarity with 
fields of learning and investigation other than their own, to bring all 
the people of the city and community into more intimate touch with 
the academic life of the university, and to carry the influence of that 
life directly to many homes not represented on the rolls of its under- 
graduate or postgraduate students, regular series of public lectures, in 
the form of university extension lectures, will be offered without 
matriculation fee or other form of admission requirement. These per- 
formances are to be authoritative in character, but as non-technical 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


and popular in treatment as their subjects will permit. From domains 
of literature, history, science, art, philosophy, and politics subjects will 
be chosen of current interest as well as those of assured and permanent 
value. 9 

These various sources of strength and support which 1 have cata- 
logued can hardly be measured quantitatively nor can they with any 
ease be arranged in series of greater or less, but I have no fear of exag- 
gerating when I say that no source of strength to the new university 
will be more permanent in its influence than that of the aspirations of 
the people themselves for their children; for, from the captain of 
industry on down to the most modest member of the firm, whether any 
or all had the advantages of a formal education, all are determined 
that their children shall have such advantages. And in this determi- 
nation lies the basis for confident expectation that within a very few 
years there will be no family of five members in the city of Houston 
that will not have had one or more representatives on the rolls of the 
Institute. Furthermore, the time is not far distant when our citizens 
shall be coming to think of the city's university when writing their 
wills, and soon in Houston, as in Cambridge and Chicago and San 
Francisco, a man will leave a stain on his family history if he fail to 

^ The present plan for university extension lectures at the Institute consists in giving each acad- 
emic year two regular series of thirty-six lectures each, the first series running through three divisions of 
twelve lectures each on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from the middle of November to the mid- 
dle of February, and the second series running similarly from the middle for February to the middle of 
May. All these lectures are delivered in the lecture halls and amphitheaters of the Institute, each after- 
noon lecture beginning promptly at 4:30 and closing not later than 5:30. In addition to the afternoon 
lectures occasional Thursday evening lectures are being given. The plan has met with hearty response 
on the part of the people of Houston, the attendance on the lectures having ranged from some thirty to 
more than five hundred auditors at a single lecture. By the end of the present academic year (1914-15) 
an aggregate of rather more than twenty courses of from three to twenty-four lectures each will have been 
delivered by Messrs [Stockton] Axson, [Thomas Lindsey] Blayney, [Robert G.] Caldwell, [Edwin 
Theodore] Dumble [Consulting Geologist of the Southern Pacific Company], [Griffith C] Evans, [Clyde 
C] Glascock, [Albert L.] Guerard, [Arthur Romaine] Hitch, [Arthur H.j Hughes, [Edwin Eustace] 
Reinke, [Radoslav E] Tsanoff, [William John] Van Sicklen, [William Ward] Watkm, [Rolf Felix] Weber 
and [Harold A.] Wilson. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

remember the city's university in his last will and testament, ^o 
Moreover, the endowing of scholarships and fellowships, the founding 
of memorial lectureships and professorships, the erecting and endow- 
ing of name-bearing buildings, the equipping of scientific expeditions, 
the maintaining of university publications, and a score of other ways 
opened up by the growth of this institution, will offer both to young 
and to old many avenues for making and perpetuating family history. 
In the history of the public welfare in Texas many organized move- 
ments, local. State, and national, for educating public opinion, for ele- 
vating public morals, for inspiring public taste, for improving public 
health, have by their propaganda been assisting in preparing the way 
for a new university in Texas. Of such organizations Houston has a 
long and active list whose members are determined that their city shall 
be great and good and beautiful: an art league, a Carnegie library, a 
chamber of commerce, a Chautauqua circle, lecture and lyceum 
bureaus, a number of musical societies, a settlement association, a 
social service federation, a symphony orchestra, and several women's 
literary and political clubs and unions. In all their constructive under- 
takings these organizations have at all times enjoyed generous and 

"^ The day of public benefactions by Houston philanthropists has dawned, though still in its ear- 
liest morning. The late Mr. George H. Hermann, who shortly before his death handed Mayor Campbell 
a deed conveying to the city a tract of nearly three hundred acres of land lying just across the road from 
the Rice Institute, to be used perpetually for the purposes of a public park, has by his will given also to 
the city a site for a Charity Hospital, together with holdings that will yield an estimated endowment of 
three million dollars for the latter institution. With engaging frankness Mr. Hermann told me that he 
had been influenced in making this disposition of his property by the example of William Marsh Rice 
and the plans of the trustees of the Institute. Thus, in addition to a university for all the people, this city 
of homes and schools and churches is to have a great public park and a great public hospital. While the 
city's list of public institutions provided by private donation has been steadily growing, the city has not 
been waiting indifferently until such provision should have met all its needs As a matter of very recent 
history the city itself built during the mayoralty of Mr. H. Baldwin Rice a magnificent municipal audito- 
rium. It was in this auditorium that on the occasion of the formal opening of the Rice Institute there 
assembled, under the eloquent dedicatory sermon of the Reverend Dr. Charles Frederic Aked and an 
inspiring service of song and prayer led by the Reverend Dr. Henry van Dyke, an audience of some six 
thousand souls, including the clergymen and choirs and practically all the churches of the city, "solemn- 
ly to link themselves with joy and deep thanksgiving to the consecrating acts by which the new univer- 
sity was publicly dedicated to the high purpose set forth in the Founder's will." 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


hearty support on the part of the several local newspapers, which are 
maintaining the better traditions of American public prints in instan- 
taneous seeking and supplying of information, in eternal vigilance of 
editorial comment and criticism, in wireless response to the social feel- 
ing and sympathy of the community, in the education of public opin- 
ion and the reflection of the public mind. With all these local associ- 
ations the university would seek to co-operate, in no way would it 
compete with them, in all possible ways it would seek to avoid all 
unnecessary duplication of their work. Furthermore, we enter also into 
the results of years of labor for the common welfare which the people 
of Texas have been receiving at the hands of many voluntary State 
associations dedicated to the public service. Among the latter there 
stand out prominently the Conference for Education in Texas, the 
State Federation of Women's Clubs in Texas, the State Teachers' 
Association, the Texas Welfare Commission, and the various patriot- 
ic associations for perpetuating relationships with the American 
Revolution, the Republic of Texas, the War between the States, and 
other periods of State and national history. These women — for the 
majority of such workers in Texas are women — have been showing 
enthusiasm, originality, statesmanship in their work; they have also 
been showing that these qualities are not the only ones which make 
men and women leaders when a new country is to be settled in the 
faith and fear of the Lord, for they have been showing that there is also 
potent and efficient force in gentleness, quietness, and confidence. 
These workers make their appeal to the university from the intellec- 
tual quite as much as from the moral side. The case for their propa- 
ganda may be set in famous words of Cromwell: "What liberty and 
prosperity depend upon are the souls of men and the spirits — which 
are the men. The mind is the man." And similarly, in a good passage 
from Mrs. [Helen Dendy] Bosanquet's book, "The Strength of a 
People," which 1 should like to quote: "In all considerations of social 
work and social problems there is one main thing which it is impor- 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

tant to remember — that the mind is the man. If we are clear about this 
great fact, we have an unfailing test to apply to any scheme of social 
reformation. Does it appeal to men's minds? Not merely to their 
momentary needs or appetites, or fancies, but to the higher powers of 
affection, thought, and reasonable action." Ever zealous to understand 
the aspirations of the popular will, ever zealous to help the people in 
their quest for enlightenment, ever zealous to lead the people to things 
above themselves, this university would, in the spirit of a passage from 
Spinoza, take its "best pains not to laugh at the actions of mankind, 
not to groan over them, not to be angry with them, but to understand 
them." Testing any programme for better uses of life and leisure by a 
double criterion: Is it based on an understanding of the ways of men 
and the needs of humankind? and Does it appeal to the understandings 
of men? the university would seek, while preserving its own freedom 
and independence, to assist in the advancement of humanitarian 
movements in State or Nation or world. This humanitarian aspect of 
university service, as differentiated from the more strictly scholastic 
and scientific activities of university life, appearing under newer forms 
comparatively recently in the so-called university settlements and in 
the university extension movement, finds its latest phase in co-opera- 
tive unions for world-wide programmes of scientific investigation on 
the one hand, and on the other, in the organized movements for 
improvement of good will and the promotion of peace among the 
nations. In such united efforts the new institution would participate, 
for if the university, though on private foundation, is in its first days 
what Qames] Bryce calls a municipal university, [Richard Burdon] 
Haldane a civic university, [Charles William] Dabney an urban uni- 
versity, in its future days it is to be more than a university of 
Houston — it is to be a university of Texas, a university of the South, 
and later, let us hope, in reality as in aspiration, one among the nation- 
al institutions, reflecting the national mind, one among the universi- 
ties of the nations, fostering the international mind and spirit in cos- 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


mopolitan ways such as the mediaeval universities enjoyed before the 
death of universal language and the divisions in a universal Church. 

Cars parked in front of the Administration Buildings 
during the Formal Opening ceremonies. 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

IX • The University: Its Spirit & Summons 

In thus endeavoring to write about the meaning of the new institu- 
tion I have at some length written about its sources in the founder's 
philanthropy and its history in the pubUc spirit of his friends; of its 
site, glorious in problems bristling with difficulties and joyous in possi- 
bilities of creative effort; of its scope in entering upon a university pro- 
gramme for the advancement of letters, science, and art, by investiga- 
tion and by instruction, in the individual and in the race of all human 
kind; of its saints of the past and its seers of the present, pointing by 
exhortation and example to the highroad along which progress in 
these high purposes lies; of the shades and towers in which are to be 
undertaken the daring adventures of its life in deeds of thought and 
action; of its staff of professors, lecturers, and instructors, in whose per- 
sonality and work of research and teaching are to be found combined 
the careers of citizen, scientist, scholar, and schoolmaster; of its stu- 
dents, through whose studies and standards in scholarship and sport 
constant contributions are to be made to the character, culture, and 
citizenship of the Republic; of its strength in its freedom from political 
and ecclesiastical affiliations, in its faith in the progress of the human 
spirit, in its faculties of science, humanity, and technology, in its self- 
governed student democracy, in a definite educational policy, and the 
driving power of ideas and ideals backed by material resources for their 
realization; of its support in the schools of the city, the county, and the 
commonwealth, in the college men and women of the community, in 
the captains of industry and commerce, in all organized conferences for 
education, welfare, and uplift, in the resolute determination of the 
people who have been winning the West, now to win the best for the 
sons and daughters of the West. My further and final object is an 
attempted portrayal of the spirit which presides over the university; a 
presentation, more or less rough, of that breath and finer form of the 
spirit of learning which lends what is perhaps its chief glory to the life 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


of reflection and gives what may be perhaps its final purpose to the life 
of action. 11 

Twenty years ago it was specialization. Ten years ago it was special- 
ization. To-day it is specialization still, whether in academic education 
or in professional training, but specialization on the broadest kind of 
general foundation. Preparatory to attacking the practical problems of 
the material world, men are coming to provide themselves with the 
most complete theoretical training yet devised in the world of mind. 
On the other hand, pure scientists are continually on the outlook for 
applications of their discoveries either to the ideal world in which they 
live or to the real world in which they find their livelihood. As a result 
the professor's desk is nearer the market-place, closer to the counting- 
house, within easier call of State and Church than ever before. The 
university is saying to its men of letters, "You must be leaders of men"; 
to its men of science, "You must be also men of affairs." The world in 
its turn is demanding that its engineers be cultivated men, and that its 
skilled artisans be skilled in the liberal arts as well. 

Where theory and practice thus meet there must be reason, and this 
reason is restoring to learning its unity, in whose spirit we read the 
strength and the vision of the university. This spirit appears to us 
under three aspects in those disciplines by which men seek for truth 
and strive after beauty in letters, in science, in art. Art was originally 
the handmaid of religion; science, at one time the servant of philoso- 
phy, has more lately become its master; letters, in the beginning the 
playfellow of poets and story-tellers, has grown to be humanity's 
recording angel. Science has its source in a sense of wonder, art in a 
sensitiveness to measure and proportion, while literature partakes of 
the substance of science and the form of art. Science consecrated to 
the conquest of truth would solve the universe; art would recreate it in 

' ' To bring within the time limits of the programme the reading of an address obviously too long 
to be read in its complete form in public on any occasion, only four sections of this address were actual- 
ly delivered as a part of the formal exercises of the inauguration and dedication ot the Rice Institute, and 
under the caption, "the Meaning of the New University: Its Source, Its Site, Its Scope, Its Spirit." 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

the conservation of taste. Science progresses by inquiry, art under 
inspiration. Intuition dominates the artistic reason, while inference 
controls the scientific. 

In other words, by the spirit of liberal and technical learning I 
understand that immortal spirit of inquiry or inspiration which has 
been clearing the pathway of mankind to intellectual and spiritual lib- 
erty, to the recognition of law and charm in nature, to the fearless pur- 
suit of truth and the ceaseless worship of beauty. Its history is the his- 
tory of the progress of the human spirit. Led by an instinct for knowl- 
edge, an instinct for harmony, an instinct for law, that spirit has 
brought the twentieth century its most precious possessions: the love 
of reason, the love of art, the love of freedom. 

There abide these three: the spirit of science, the spirit of letters, 
the spirit of art, but the man has not arisen to say to us which is the 
greatest of the three. These are the faces of the spirit of learning, above 
which there hovers a halo called by the modern philosopher the spir- 
it of service, and by the ancient seer the spirit of wisdom. Knowledge 
becomes power only when it is vitalized by reason; it becomes learning 
only when it lives in the personality of a man; it becomes wisdom on 
translation into human conduct. I know as well as you that the spirits 
of which I speak are ghosts who will themselves not speak until they 
have drunk blood. We propose to give them the blood of our hearts in 
the service of the new institution, i- 

Ladies and Gentlemen of Houston: At your gates there have arisen 
for all time the walls and towers and men of the Rice Institute, whose 
life is to be an integral part of your life, whose service is to be local in 
the best sense, whose significance, let us hope, may be State-wide, and 
even national, in its reach, on a foundation builded for Houston, for 
Texas, the South, and the Nation. A long avenue doubly lined with 

1^ It is to Professor von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, I believe, that 1 owe this figure ot speech. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


trees, at one end the captains of industry and commerce in factory and 
counting-house, at the other a college community in academic shades 
dedicated to liberal and technical learning, the happy homes of 
Houston lying in between! A university devoted to the advancement 
of literature, science, and art; to the promotion of letters as the record 
of the achievements of the human spirit; to the promotion of science 
as the revealer of the laws and the conqueror of the forces of nature; 
to the promotion of art as the sunshine and gilding of life. A society of 
scholars in whose company your children, and your children's children 
and their children, may spend formative years of their aspiring youth 
under the cultivating influences of humane letters and pure science, 
pursuing culture with forward-looking minds and far-seeing spirit 
before undertaking in the Institute's professional schools special or 
technical training for the more sober business of life. A temple of wis- 
dom and sanctuary of learning within whose courts and cloisters you 
yourselves may find an occasional retreat in which to think more qui- 
etly and more deeply; perhaps to worship more devoutly and more 
intelligently; certainly to contemplate the deeper things of patriotism 
and politics, of reverence and religion, of peace and progress; and may- 
hap to discover, if never before, that you may belong to the great com- 
munity through which the Eternal has worked for ages, that you may 
have a share in the high privileges and solemn duties which belong to 
every member of that great community, that in the continuity of 
human history you may march forward, if you will, in a great pageant 
that moves from the living past through the living present into the liv- 
ing future. 

Not long ago I stood on a great rock — a great living rock — within 
eyeshot of the birthplace of modern civilization. Upon it rose those 
incomparable ruins, mighty as the mind that conceived them, majes- 
tic as the mountains and sea that call to them. In their midst the gods 
of the Greeks still live. And of all those gods it was to her who typifies 
science that the Parthenon was dedicated; to that great goddess who 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 

sprang full-armed from the head of Zeus at the touch of fire and toil, 
to conquer the deep himself, i^ It is no long flight of fancy from the 
Parthenon above the fields of Hellas to these towers that rise on the 
plains of Texas. Under her ancient promise, may Pallas Athena preside 
over these academic groves and guide men by the spirit of science and 
the spirit of art and the spirit of service in their search for the great, 
and the lovely, and the new, for solutions of the universe in terms of 
the good, the beautiful, and the true! 

And I recalled the words of the wise man of another chosen 

"Except the Lord doth build the house, 
they labor in vain that build it." 

"I prayed, and understanding was given 
me; 1 called upon God, and the spirit of wis- 
dom came unto me; 1 preferred her above 
sceptres and thrones, for she is unto men a 
treasure that never faileth." 

"For wisdom is a breath of the power of 
God, and a pure effluence flowing from the 
glory of the Almighty. She is the reflection of 
the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of 
the power of God and the image of his good- 
ness. And in all ages, entering into holy souls, 
she maketh them friends of God, and 

13 The idea and experience of the first part of this paragraph I am obliged to share with Professor 
Sir Ronald Ross, hut I am unable to supply the appropriate citation. 

The Meaning of the New Institution 


Wisdom hath huilded her house, 

She hath hewn out her seven pillars; 

She hath mingled her wine; 

She hath also furnished her table, 

She hath sent forth her maidens; she crieth 

Upon the highest places of the city, 

"Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither"; 

As for him that is void of understanding, she saith 

to him, "Come, eat ye of my bread, And drink of the 

wine ivhich I have mingled, 

And walk in the way of understanding. 

"Blessed is the man that heareth me. 
Watching daily at my gates, 
Waiting at the posts of my doors; 
For whoso findeth mefindeth life. 
And shall obtain favor of the Lord."^^ 


^4 These several passes, from the Book of Proverbs [the final three stanzas, 9: 1-6 (2a omitted); 
8:34-35 and the Book of Wisdom [7:7-8, 25-27], in slightly abbreviated form have been distributed in 
the carving on the caps of the columns which support the arches in the cloisters of the North Wing of 
the first Residential Hall for men. [The initial line of the first quotation is from Psalms 127: la.] 


Edgar Odell Lovett and the Creation of Rice University 



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