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President George H.W. Bush asks Rice University to host the July 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations. Further highlighting Rice's increasing national and international prominence, Rice President George Rupp announces the formation of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy in early 1993.

S. Malcolm Gillis, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences and professor of economics at Duke University, succeeds Rupp as Rice's 6th president in 1993. Gillis emphasizes across-the-board international diversification and introduces many interdisciplinary and fundraising initiatives.

In 1996 Rice professors Robert Curl and Richard Smalley and British chemist Sir Harold Kroto receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of buckyballs.

Major construction projects during the decade include the elegant Alice Pratt Brown Hall for the Shepherd School of Music and the George R. Brown Hall for Biosciences and Bioengineering. Baker Hall, built for the Baker Institute for Public Policy, opens in 1994, and Rice's most colorful building, the Anne and Charles Duncan Hall designed by English architect John Outram, begins housing computational engineering intitiatives in 1996. Scholars consolidate nanoscale projects in Dell Butcher Hall in 1997 (formally dedicated April 30, 1998).

Rice athletic teams win Southwest Conference championships in women's cross-country, football, men's indoor track and field and baseball.

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