Considered a Southern Ivy for its high academic standards (it's regularly rated one of the top schools in the nation), Rice's elegant campus landscaped with grand Neo-Byzantine style buildings and lush foliage first opened its doors in 1912. Its very creation was almost halted after wealthy tycoon William Marsh Rice's Houston butler and New York lawyer conspired to murder him and forge a will leaving money to them instead of to the university. The duo were caught by Rice's nephew and Houston lawyer when the faux signature misspelled Rice's name. That’s one thing about Houston—it’s never short of scandals involving money and murder.
Almost 100 years later, non-students are drawn here for its myriad of cultural and sports events as well as for the sheer beauty of the place with its red clay tile roofs, rose-colored brick, majestic trees and semicircular archways that are dramatically backlit at night. Even when there’s not an event going on, we like to do a little Frisbee-throwing here and then grab a beer at the campus bar, Valhalla. Visitors are always welcome and when you walk into the main quadrangle, you’ll see a statue of Rice (affectionately known as Willy) greeting you from his early nearly-stolen legacy.