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Norman Hackerman begins his 15-year tenure as Rice University's 4th president on September 1, 1970. An award-winning chemist, Hackerman ensures the university's long-range financial stability by engineering dramatic endowment growth. He also revamps the administration to accomodate the increased complexity of Rice's academic programs and the expansion of its student body.

Hackerman secures major donations to reframe the music program as the Shepherd School of Music and to establish the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Administration (now the Jones Graduate School of Business), and he creates several multidisciplinary centers. Several foundations, including Houston Endowment and the Brown Foundation Inc., support Hackerman's programs. In 1978 physicist Robert W. Wilson '57 becomes the first Rice alumnus to win a Nobel Prize.

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