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With its move to Conference USA, FIU now has two Owl teams to deal with in Florida Atlantic and its newest conference rival, Rice.
Rice University has nothing to do with white, brown, fried or yellow rice. The school is named after a man who set aside his fortune for the creation of university after he died. However, William Marsh Rice’s death was a murder and if it wasn’t for a meticulous bank teller Rice University may not exist today.
The school’s owl mascot was also part of a crime and received its name after the owl was rescued from a kidnapping by a rival school.
Ironically, with its past in mind, Rice has an honor code among its students.
Rice’s football stadium has hosted some historic events and its baseball team is one of the best in the nation.
In the previous FIU’s Conference USA Opponents Series you got to know:
East Carolina Pirates
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Marshall Thundering Herd
Old Dominion Monarchs
Let's see what's cooking at Rice, pun intended.
THE BUTLER DID IT
Rice University’s creation could have been made into a murder mystery movie of the week. In 1891, William Marsh Rice decided to create a university in Houston, bearing his name, after his death. Rice (above) earmarked most of his estate towards funding the project.
On the morning of September 23, 1900, Rice was found dead by his valet, and presumed to have died in his sleep. Shortly thereafter, a suspiciously large check made out to Rice's New York City lawyer, signed by the late Rice, was noticed by a bank teller due to a misspelling in the recipient's name. The lawyer, Albert Patrick, then announced that Rice had changed his will to leave the bulk of his fortune to Patrick, rather than to the creation of Rice's educational institute.
A subsequent investigation led by the District Attorney of New York resulted in the arrests of Patrick and of Rice's butler and valet Charles Jones, who had been persuaded to administer chloroform to Rice while he slept. Rice's lawyer in Houston, James Baker, aided in the discovery of what turned out to be a fake will with a forged signature. Jones was not prosecuted since he cooperated with the district attorney, and testified against Patrick. However, Patrick was found guilty of conspiring to steal Rice's fortune and convicted of murder in 1901. Baker helped Rice's estate direct the fortune, worth $4.6 million in 1904 ($118 million today), towards the founding of what was to be called the Rice Institute.
HONOR AMONG STUDENTS
Cheat if you would like. The Rice Honor Code plays a central role in academic affairs. Almost all Rice exams are unproctored and professors give timed, closed-book exams that students take home and complete at their own convenience.
Potential infractions are reported to the student Honor Council. The penalty structure is established every year by Council consensus; typically, penalties have ranged from a letter of reprimand to an 'F' in the course and a two semester suspension. During Orientation Week, students must take and pass a test demonstrating that they understand the Honor System's requirements and sign a Matriculation Pledge. On assignments, students affirm their commitment to the Honor Code by writing, ‘On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unauthorized aid on this examination, quiz or paper.
TO THE MOON & DOLPHINS SUPER BOWL WIN
Rice Stadium opened in 1950 with a capacity of 70,000 seats and has hosted several historic events. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy made a speech about the United States intending to reach the moon before the end of the decade of the 1960s.
Rice Stadium hosted Super Bowl VIII which saw the Miami Dolphins defeat the Minnesota Vikings, 24-7. It was the Dolphins’ second Super Bowl win, a year after the Perfect Season.
Rice Stadium is currently configured to seat 47,000 for football but can readily be reconfigured to its original capacity of 70,000. The endzone seating benches were removed and covered with tarps, and all of the wooden bleachers were replaced with new, metal seating benches in 2006.
FRANK THE TANK DID NOT ATTEND RICE BUT . . . .
The movie “Old School” was not about Rice. The film’s lead Frank The Tank, Will Ferrell’s character, also did not attend the school, but a Rice tradition resembles something out of “Old School”.
The Baker 13 is a tradition in which students run around campus wearing nothing but shoes and shaving cream at 10 p.m. on the 13th and the 31st of every month (the 26th on months with fewer than 31 days). The event usually attracts a small number of students, but Halloween night and the first and last relevant days of the school year both attract large numbers of revelers.
MOVIE OF THE WEEK, PART 2
You now know about murder involved in Rice’s creation. Well, the school’s mascot got its name after it was kidnapped.
In 1917, Texas A&M students kidnapped the Rice owl. Rice students hired a private detective to go to College Station to find the missing mascot. When the detective recovered the owl, he sent a coded telegram to Houston that read "Sammy is fairly well and would like to see his parents at 11 o'clock.” The Rice mascot, which did not have a name before it was kidnapped, now did. Sammy the Owl.
The Rice Owls baseball team won the College World Series in 2003 and finished third in both the 2006 and 2007 College World Series. Rice has made seven appearances in Omaha for the CWS.
Among Rice luminaries are MLB All-Star Lance Berkman, Howard Hughes (attended), Pulitzer Prize winning author Larry McMurtry, John Heisman, for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.
Rice became the Owls because of the owls in school's crest.
Rice is the second smallest school competing in NCAA Division I FBS football measured by undergraduate enrollment (3,708), just above the University of Tulsa's 2,756.
It has been suggested that the blue and gray colors of Rice were chosen in recognition of the fact that Rice's founder amassed much of the fortune that formed the initial endowment of the Rice Institute by trading with both the North and the South during the Civil War.
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