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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

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Duncan College to be Rice’s 11th Residential College

— Hard on the heels of the establishment of McMurtry College, Rice University has today announced that it has received a gift from Anne and Charles Duncan to establish another new residential college, Rice’s eleventh. The university’s complete press release appears below.

Rice University today announced a $30 million gift from Anne and Charles Duncan to support its unique residential college system. In addition, the university unveiled plans for its 11th residential college, which will be one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings ever built in Houston. The building will be named in honor of the Duncans in recognition of their long-standing commitment to both Rice and environmental conservation.

Duncan College will be the second major building on campus bearing the Duncans’ name. The first, Anne and Charles Duncan Hall, was built in 1996 and is home to the George R. Brown School of Engineering.

“Rice University has no better friends and leaders than Anne and Charles Duncan,” said Rice President David Leebron. “Their support in helping Rice nourish a dynamic, expanding, and environmentally sustainable residential college system is yet another example of their visionary commitment to Rice, to Houston, and to the environment.”

Designed with features like motion detectors that shut off lights in unoccupied rooms and retention of storm water runoff for irrigation, Duncan College will be the first at Rice and among the first buildings in Houston to receive gold-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards program.

The Duncans have a long-standing interest in preserving the environment. Charles Duncan, who was U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Jimmy Carter, has chaired the Business Coalition for Clean Air. Anne Duncan serves on the board of the Nature Conservancy of Texas.

“This building will be an important milestone as we seek to secure Houston’s future as a clean, energy-efficient city,” Leebron said. “It also furthers Rice’s aspirations to attract the most talented students from Houston and Texas, and from around the nation and the world.”

The five-story, 324-bed Duncan College will be built concurrently with McMurtry College. Both colleges figure prominently in the university’s plan to expand its student body by 30 percent, which is one of 10 objectives for Rice’s strategic plan for its second century. Rice celebrates its centennial in 2012.

“Anne and I believe that residential colleges are an important centerpiece of the Rice undergraduate experience,” Charles Duncan said. “We are pleased to participate.”

All Rice undergraduates are assigned to a college on day one. Colleges are self-governed communities, each with its own traditions and character. College life is so central to the Rice experience that when alumni meet, the first question they ask is not “What year?” or “What major?” but “What college?”

LEED certification is a nationally accepted standard for the design, construction, and operation of buildings promoting sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. A gold rating is second only to platinum as the highest level of LEED certification. To date, no building in Houston has achieved the platinum level.

Duncan College will feature environmentally friendly building materials. Rice is making a special effort to use materials, where practical, that are extracted and manufactured in the nearby region.

Among Duncan College’s other sustainable features are the following:

• Reduced energy consumption by at least 25 percent and reduced water consumption by at least 30 percent, compared with similar buildings simply built to code

• A green roof with low-maintenance plants that will reduce energy needs for heating and cooling

• Smart controls that shut off air-conditioners when the windows are opened

• Pre-fabricated bathrooms to reduce the generation of on-site construction waste

• A world-class system for modeling and monitoring energy consumption

• A classroom finished with green materials and furnishings for Rice students interested in sustainable living

Duncan College will be built on the northeast campus, near Duncan Hall. It is scheduled to open for student use in the fall of 2009.

“The fact that two buildings on the campus will bear the Duncans’ name shows that Anne and Charles’ longtime support of Rice is as sustainable as the green features of the new residential college,” said James Crownover, chair of the Rice Board of Trustees. “They are distinguished role models for leadership, imagination, and giving back to Rice and to the city.”

A 1947 graduate of Rice, Charles Duncan served many years as a Rice trustee, including chairing the Board of Trustees from 1982 to 1996, when he became Chairman Emeritus. Anne Duncan has been an active supporter of the Shepherd School of Music, among other activities.

Last year, Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy awarded Charles Duncan its first James A. Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership—a tribute to his achievements in education, philanthropy, government, and business. In addition to Secretary of Energy, Duncan served as Deputy Secretary of Defense under President Carter. He served as President of Duncan Foods and The Coca-Cola Company, Chair of Rotan Mosle Financial Corp., and currently is Chair of Duncan Interests.

President Carter appeared in the Baker Institute’s video tribute to Charles, where he said, “I salute him as a loyal public servant, an unselfish civic activist, and most of all, as a close and cherished friend.”

Anne Duncan’s civic engagement has included serving as life trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, board member and past chair of DePelchin Children’s Center, member of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, and member of the National Commission for Children in Need of Parents. Since 1983 she has been a member of the Shepherd Society Governing Council and Advisory Board and has served as its chair, secretary, member of the governing council, and chair of the dedication committee for Alice Pratt Brown Hall. A member-at-large of the Shepherd Society Governing Council, she co-chaired the Shepherd School of Music 30th Anniversary Gala last year. The event raised a record $2.3 million for merit-based endowed scholarships, including the Anne and Charles Duncan Concertmaster Chair.

The Duncans’ support of Rice has earned them membership in the William Marsh Rice Society, Rice Associates, the Legacy Society, and the Captain James A. Baker Society. Charles has received the Distinguished Alumni Award, the Distinguished Owl Club Award, and the Gold Medal Award from Rice.

“Anne and Charles have been important forces in Rice’s history,” Leebron said. “And they are continuing to shape Rice’s future through their remarkably generous support of the residential colleges, which for 50 years have been one of the defining features of the Rice undergraduate experience.”

The Duncans’ gift capped a record fundraising year for Rice, bringing the total to $148 million.

Update · 22 September 2007: The groundbreaking for Duncan College is scheduled for September 27th and it will be broadcast on the web.

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