Edgar Odell Lovett: 1907-1946
The first president of Rice University (the Rice Institute)
was appointed on December 28, 1907. Lovett was a professor
of mathematics and chairman of the astronomy department at
Princeton University prior to his appointment as president.
Lovett had a B.A. from Bethany College and two Ph.D.'s, one
from the University of Virginia and the other from the
University of Leipzig. In May 1941 Lovett resigned
officially from the presidency, but he continued to serve
until February 1946 because World War II made it too
difficult to recruit a new president. Lovett died August
13, 1957 at the age of 86. Lovett was appointed president
in 1907. Rice University held its first classes in
William Vermillion Houston: 1947-1961
The second president of Rice was appointed in May 1946 and
had his formal inauguration on April 10, 1947. Houston was
a professor of physics at the California Institute of
Technology before taking the Rice presidency. He earned his
B.A., B.S. and Ph.D. at Ohio State University. Houston
resigned in 1961 due to poor health. He died on August 22,
Kenneth Sanborn Pitzer: 1962-1968
The third president of Rice was appointed July 1961 and
formally inaugurated on October 10, 1962 as part of the
university's Semicentennial Celebration. Pitzer was a
professor of chemistry and Dean of the College of Chemistry
at the University of California at Berkeley before he
accepted the presidency at Rice. He earned his B.S. at
California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. at the
University of California at Berkeley. Pitzer resigned in
1968 to become president of Stanford University. He held
that position for less than two years before returning to
teach chemistry at Berkeley. He died December 26, 1997.
Norman Hackerman: 1971-1985
The official fourth president of Rice, Norman Hackerman was
appointed in April 1970 and formally inaugurated on
September 24, 1971. After Pitzer's resignation, the Board
of Governors had appointed William Masterson to succeed
Pitzer but the decision created a controversy on campus and
Masterson resigned after a few days. Frank Vandiver was
appointed acting president until a search committee
consisting of Board members, faculty, and student
representatives chose Hackerman as the new president.
Hackerman was a professor of chemistry and the president of
University of Texas at Austin before accepting the
presidency at Rice. He earned his A.B.
and Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University. Hackerman retired
from Rice in June 1985.
George Erik Rupp: 1985-1993
The fifth president of Rice took office July 1, 1985 and
was formally inaugurated on October 25, 1985. Rupp was the
Lord O'Brian Professory of Divinity and Dean of the
Divinity School at Harvard University before accepting the
Rice presidency. He earned his A.B. at Princeton
University, his B.D. at Yale University and his Ph.D. at
Harvard University. Rupp resigned in June 1993 to become
president of Columbia University.
S. Malcolm Gillis: 1993-2004
The sixth president of Rice took office July 1, 1993 and
was formally inaugurated on October 30, 1993. Gillis was Z.
Smith Reynolds Distinguished Professor in the Institute of
Public Policy and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
at Duke University before accepting the Rice presidency. He
earned his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Florida and
his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. Gillis stepped
down in 2004, and resumed his teaching career.