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During the 1950s, Rice grows and matures. The Institute’s board votes to enlarge and reorganize its membership. President Houston develops a professional fundraising staff, increases the administration and hires additional faculty. The post-war building boom on campus continues. New buildings include the Nuclear Research Laboratory, the geology and biology laboratory buildings, Hamman Hall (for performing arts), the Rice Memorial Center and adjacent Rice Memorial Chapel and Jones College (the original women’s dormitory on campus).

In a momentous change, President Houston realizes Dr. Lovett's original vision for residential life when he opens 5 residential colleges in 1957 — Baker, Will Rice, Hanszen, Wiess and Jones. These colleges provide “group living and dining, traditions, student government, continuity, a master in residence, group social affairs, and athletic and intellectual competition.” On a lighter side, students introduce the Beer-Bike Race — an immediate success and now an entrenched tradition.

The Owls bring home 2 Southwest Conference championship trophies in football and 1 in basketball, while the football team makes 3 trips to bowl games (Cotton, Sugar and Bluebonnet).

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