In May 1941, after many discussions with board members, Edgar Odell Lovett notes he is approaching his 70th birthday and tenders his resignation. Reluctantly board members accept but ask him to remain until they find a successor. After war is declared in December, the trustees halt the search, and Lovett agrees to remain through the war.

On August 2, Captain James A. Baker, board chairman for 50 years, dies, and William Marsh Rice II, the founder's nephew,  becomes the board's 2nd chairman.

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Edgar Odell Lovett, c. 1954
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