Rice University to build new student center with historic $100 million grant

The planned Moody Center for Student Life and Opportunity at Rice University will be designed by the London-based Adjaye Associates. (Rendering courtesy Adjaye Associates)
The planned Moody Center for Student Life and Opportunity at Rice University will be designed by the London-based Adjaye Associates. (Rendering courtesy Adjaye Associates)

The planned Moody Center for Student Life and Opportunity at Rice University will be designed by the London-based Adjaye Associates. (Rendering courtesy Adjaye Associates)

A grant of $100 million from the Moody Foundation will allow Rice University to build a new student center and create endowments supporting student programs, university officials announced Sept. 22.

The new center, which will be dubbed the Moody Center for Student Life and Opportunity, will replace the existing Rice Memorial Center, which was built more than 60 years ago at a time when the student population at Rice was one-fifth the size of what officials are projecting for 2025, according to a Sept. 22 press release. The Moody Center is being designed by Sir David Adjaye of the London-based Adjaye Associates, whose accomplishments include the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.

The $100 million grant matches the largest gift in the history of Rice University, according to the release.

“We are extremely grateful for this extraordinary philanthropy in support of Rice students,” Rice President David Leebron said in a statement. “This gift will enable our students to broaden their engagements and experiences while at Rice in ways that will empower their success throughout their lives. It will also enable us to both connect more deeply with Houston and with the world. This will be the epitome of what an inclusive and outward-looking student center should be.”

The center is expected to break ground in early 2022 with construction wrapping up in late 2023. Design plans involve keeping several elements of the Rice Memorial Center intact, including the chapel and the cloisters, according to the release.


The 300-acre Rice University campus can be found off Main Street in Houston near West University Place.


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