Monday AM November 7th, 2008

Good afternoon this is KUHF Business news, I’m Jim Bell. Rice University is launching a $1 billion fund-raising campaign to mark the school’s 100th anniversary in 2012.

Rice plans to use money from the centennial campaign to:

  •      strengthen its research programs
  •      increase scholarship resources
  •      expand undergraduate enrollment by 30 percent
  •      build stronger connections off the campus with the city at large
  •      and enhance its global presence.

Rice has already raised half the $1 billion dollar goal during the “quiet phase” of the campaign, and is now taking the campaign public. 

Part of the money already raised is coming from two alumni — John and Ann Doerr of California — who’re both highly successful engineering graduates. The Doerrs are donating 15 million dollars to the Rice school of engineering, to fund the new Rice Center for Engineering Leadership. 

Rice engineering Dean Dr. Sallie Keller-McNulty says the center’s mission is broaden the way engineers are educated, so they can be better equipped to be leaders and entrepreneurs, and deal with pressing national and global problems.  She says they want engineers to be more than highly educated technocrats.

“How do we develop the right way to make ethics not a course, but part of their fiber?  How do you get them, students and future leaders, because we believe our students will be future leaders, how do we introduce moral implications for technology development? And again, not as a course, but as just part of what they think about every day as they’re going through the rest of their lives.”

Dr. Keller-McNulty says this donation will be historic in the field of engineering education.

“This particular gift for the school of engineering allows us to stand up one of the most important future components of the educational experience here.” 

Keller-Mcnulty says they’re already looking for someone to direct the center for engineering leadership.  She says they want someone with the determination and character to change the world.

I’m Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio Business News.