The Rice Institute holds its formal Opening on October 12, 1912, after 2 years of campus construction. The British biologist Julian Huxley says of the new buildings: “(W)e were confronted by an extraordinary spectacle, as of palaces in fairy story. The Administration Building was before us, looking exactly as if it had risen miraculously out of the earth…. Here it stood, brilliant, astounding, enduring: rising out of the barren brown prairie….” As part of the opening festivities, President Lovett brings some of the finest scholars of his generation to Houston to lecture at the opening Academic Festival. Interestingly, no lecturer is an American.
With the beginning of classes, the Institute’s fundamental structures – the DNA of Rice – are gradually put in place. The members of the fledgling Rice community shape everything, from the curriculum to the faculty’s role in governance to the rhythms of student life. Students inaugurate a newspaper and yearbook; athletic teams acquire the “Owls” moniker; and faculty establish the demanding academic program. Despite the interruption of World War I, which brings military discipline to campus even as many of the faculty members and students are called to service, Lovett’s vision is well on its way to realization by the end of the decade.