Student center

Rice secures $100 million grant for future student center and new endowments

Rice University received $100 million from the Moody Foundation to build a new student center on campus and to create endowments that support student opportunity and success.

The planned Moody Center for Student Life and Opportunity is intended to become a focal point for the private university and will be designed by Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates, the same architect who designed the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. from the Smithsonian Institution.

With Rice’s plans to increase undergraduate student numbers by 20% by fall 2025, the 80,000 square foot center is expected to have three levels, with enough space for a range of student programs. . It will replace the current Rice Memorial Center, which was built more than 60 years ago to accommodate one-fifth of the student population expected over the next four years.

The facility will include a multicultural center, a rooftop auditorium, a variety of gathering and event spaces, and a memorial to 10 Rice Navy ROTC students who died in 1953 when their plane crashed in route to a training mission in Virginia.

Some elements of the existing centre, including its chapel and cloisters, will remain. Construction is expected to start in early 2022 and finish in late 2023.

Rice President David Leebron, who plans to step down in June, envisions the center as a place where students “will expand their engagements and experiences in ways that support their lifelong success.”

“It will also allow us to connect more deeply with Houston and with the world,” Leebron said in a written statement. “It will be the epitome of what an inclusive and outward-looking student center should be. It will serve the 21st century understanding of the essential elements of student education, which go far beyond the classroom experience.

The charitable foundation’s donation will also establish the Moody Fund for Student Opportunity, which will support student programs housed at the student center, including an international office, and the Center for Civic Leadership, which works with the city of Houston, according to Leebron. The centre, which will be a focal point of the campus, is also expected to offer support services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Elle Moody, a Rice alumnus and administrator of the university and the Galveston-based Moody Foundation, said she believes the donation “will have a profound and lasting effect on campus and its students.”

The foundation’s $100 million gift is one of the two largest gifts the university has received, matching the Robert A. Welch Foundation’s $100 million grant last September to establish the Rice’s Welch Institute.

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