Dear Rice community,
Rice faces a changing world in its second century, and we must embrace the
challenges of the years ahead not as individuals but as a community. Recent
events have shown us that our future leaders will have to be concerned
with the human element of the future, as well as the technological. It is
for this reason that we have elected to move forward in our negotiations
with the Baylor College of Medicine. We believe, and feel confident, that
timely action will better allow us to prepare our students for the challenges
ahead. It is thus with great pride, and with the backing of the Board of
Trustees, that I announce to you our great institution's merger with the
Baylor College of Medicine.
In addition to this important milestone in Rice's history, an addendum has
been made to Rice's Vision for the Second Century. Although Rice has long
been known for--and indeed committed to--providing quality education for
tomorrow's scientists and engineers, we must continually look to the future
in order to stay at the forefront of higher education. It is for this
reason that a plan has been introduced whereby Rice University will
transform, gradually taking upon itself another identity. As the global
demands for healthcare continue to grow, we've chosen to make medicinal
studies a priority--a priority that, unfortunately, requires sacrifice in
Although the details have not been finalized, a five-year plan has been
approved by the Board of Trustees whereby the current undergraduate
engineering curriculum will be gradually phased out to make room for
promising medical fields. Our hope is that a focus on medicine will attract
a host of creative, intelligent undergraduates to the Rice Premedical
Institute. The plan also calls for modifications within other departments
to emphasize this new direction. Although some might view these changes
with resentment, we strongly believe that such changes are necessary if
Rice's Vision for the Second Century is to be successful.
As is to be expected, the recent economic crisis has lent an urgency to
Rice's planned changes. History has shown that maintaining competitive
undergraduate programs in uncertain times is both financially risky and
ethically impure. As demand for certain fields wanes, it is our responsibility
as an institution of higher learning to ensure that Rice students study
within areas that not only show promise but also are financially viable.
As always, Rice will continue to adapt and grow as global demands shift.
Thank you for the suggestions and insight that have helped shape our
decisions so far. We continue to welcome your ideas going forward and
sincerely appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.
David W. Leebron
I think this is great news for the university - dropping the undergraduate engineering curriculum to establish a world-class medical program seems like a good bargain to me!