Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Texas Aggies play William Marsh Rice University tomorrow, commonly known as Rice University. Or as Jon Stewart referred to the institution yesterday, THE UNIVERSITY WHERE WE DO NOT PUNCH LADIES IN ELEVATORS. This of course is trying to avoid all association with Ray Rice who obviously was not raised right.

So the trivia question today is – who is one of Rice’s most famous graduates? Here are some hints: He did not play football. He is one of two of the institution’s Pulitzer Prize winners. He wrote two of the best novels ever set in Texas because he is from Texas. One would be turned into a screen play, made into a movie and would be nominated for Best Picture. The other would win the Pulitzer. He would author a novel that takes place on the Rice campus. So while you are thinking, here is a bit of history about Rice University that I did not know.

The history of Rice University began with the murder of William Marsh Rice. Rice made his money in real estate, the railroad and cotton. He specified in his will that his money would go to fund an institution of “the highest grade” and “only white students could attend.” While Mr. Rice specified a color bias, he did not specify a gender bias and Rice was coeducational. But Mr. Rice was found dead by his valet on September 23, 1900 and a new will was discovered giving all of Rice’s money his lawyer.  Long law and order story – fake will, lawyer and valet go to jail because valet administered chloroform and lawyer stole money and original will surfaces.  And in 1912 The William M. Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art was founded in Houston.  It would remained named this until 1960 and was changed because the name would not fit on football jerseys or any other clothing or apparel. The motto of Rice is “Letters, Science, Art.” This does not look good on football jerseys either. I find it odd that a university founded by murdered man does not have a law school.

And the Rice alum? Larry McMurtry received his Master’s Degree from Rice. And the novels? The Last Picture Show was nominated for Best Picture and Lonesome Dove won the Pulitzer Prize for literature. So Gig ‘Em Aggies and BTHO Rice, but read Larry McMurtry.

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