Physicist and astronomer William E. Gordon becomes the 1st dean of science and engineering. Renowned as the "father of the Arecibo Observatory," Gordon comes to Rice from Cornell. He also serves as dean of natural sciences, vice president and provost. He retires in 1986 as Distinguished Professor Emeritus.
While at Cornell, Gordon designed a massive radar/radio telescope and oversaw its installation in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. His contribution was considered a "Milestone in Electrical Engineering" and a "Mechanical Engineering Landmark" 40 years later.