History of the School of Social Sciences

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This is the timeline of the School of Social Sciences at Rice University. Here you will find information on important events in each of the five departments of the School and learn a little more about the history of the faculty & research that has occurred since our inception.

1931-05-10 00:00:00

First Economics Major Graduates

The first economics major, Col. Thurman Ward, graduates.

1940-09-23 18:39:40


Into the 1940s economics and psychology constituted the social sciences. However, early in the 1950s political science was finally listed as a separate area of study. C.M. (Hank) Hudspeth began teaching as a lecturer in government, offering the perennial favorite, Political Science 210, American Government.

1947-08-29 08:00:28

Department of Business Administration & Economics is Established

Business Administration and Economics is listed in the General Announcements as an academic major and is established as a department. Courses in economics have been offered since 1914.

1950-04-21 20:46:20

Sociology is Housed in Business Administration & Economics

Sociology is housed in the Department of Business Administration & Economics.

1958-09-27 11:59:14

Hargrove Chair of Economics Established

The Reginald Henry Hargrove Chair of Economics is established in memory of Mr. Hargrove by Mrs. R. H. Hargrove and the Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation. Professor Edgar O. Edwards holds the first chair.

1960-01-16 14:01:57

Rice Institute becomes Rice University

The Rice Institute is formally redesignated William Marsh Rice University.

1960-09-20 06:23:10

Department of Anthropology and Sociology created

Department of Anthropology and Sociology created with one full time faculty member, anthropologist Edward Norbeck.

1961-01-16 05:54:44

Expansion of the Social Sciences

Under the presidency of Kenneth Pitzer, 1961-1968, the economics faculty and course offerings, as well as the social sciences in general, significantly expand.

1961-01-16 14:01:57

Ph.D. in Economics Established

The Ph.D. program in Economics is established. This is the first Ph.D. program in the Social Sciences.

1962-01-16 14:01:57

Fox Chair in Economics Established

The Henry S. Fox, Sr. Chair in Economics is established under a bequest by Mamie Fox Twyman Martel in honor of her father, founder and president of Houston National Bank until his in 1912. Professor Gaston V. Rimlinger holds the first chair.

1962-06-15 19:59:45

Fox Chair in Sociology Established

The Lena Gohlman Fox Chair in Sociology is established under a bequest by Mamie Fox Twyman Martel in honor of her late mother. Professor William McCord holds the first chair. Initially, it was used to fund Visiting Professor Hugh Duncan.

1962-12-02 00:38:53

Edwards Appointed to Academic Planning Committee

Professor Edgar O. Edwards is appointed by President Pitzer to join the newly created Academic Planning Committee. In 1964, the committee publishes a Ten-Year Plan which calls for the expansion of Rice University including the social sciences.

1963-01-25 09:23:16

First Ph.D.s in Economics Awarded

The first Ph.D.s in Economics are awarded to Emiel Veendorp and Henderikus Werkema. These are also the first Ph.D.s awarded in the Social Sciences.

1963-06-04 09:53:36

Department of Psychology Created

The Department of Psychology is created with four full-time faculty members and its first department chair is Professor Bert Kaplan. Previously, it was part of the Philosophy, Psychology and Education Department. Courses have been offered in psychology since 1927.

1964-03-26 16:39:01

Major First Offered in Political Science

1964-09-06 11:23:06

Program in Accounting Established

The Department of Economics and Business Administration begins a five-year program in accounting.

1965-03-26 16:39:01

Albert Thomas Chair of Political Science Established

The Albert Thomas Chair of Political Science is established with a $500,000 gift from the Brown Foundation - honoring U.S. Congressman Albert Thomas of Houston. The gift, creating the first endowed professorship in political science, makes it possible for Rice to bring an eminent political science scholar to campus. Professor Fred von der Mehden holds the first chair.

1965-09-20 06:23:10

First Tenured Female Faculty in Social Sciences

Professor Mary Ellen Goodman becomes the first tenured faculty member in the Social Sciences at Rice.

1966-06-04 09:53:36

First Ph.D. in Psychology

The Psychology Department awards its first Ph.D. to Blair Justice, as part of an interdepartmental Ethnopsychology graduate program with the Department of Anthropology and Sociology.

1966-09-20 06:23:10

Margaret Meade Gives Keynote Address

"The Study of Personality" conference, organized by Professor Edward Norbeck is held at Rice. Margaret Meade gives a keynote lecture and attendance is estimated at over 2,000.

1967-03-26 16:39:01

Department of Political Science Created

The Department of Political Science is created with six full-time faculty members and its first department chair is Professor Joseph Cooper. Prior to 1967, political science was part of the History Department.

1967-06-04 09:53:36

Wann Receives Award for Superior Teaching

Professor Trenton W. Wann is awarded one of the first George R. Brown Awards for Superior Teaching. He receives it again in 1972 and 1973.

1969-01-25 09:23:16

Program of Development Studies Created

The Program of Development Studies is created. The program looks at the problems of developing countries in their efforts to achieve economic, political and social growth. The program is initially funded by a grant from Mr. and Mrs. John de Menil to set up one of the first interdisciplinary social science centers at Rice. Professor Jim Land is its director. Participating faculty come from Economics, Political Science and Anthropology

1970-01-25 09:23:16

Cline Professorship in Economics Created

The Allyn R. and Gladys M. Cline Professorship in Economics and Finance is created by the estate of Gladys M. Cline to encourage outstanding instruction in economics and finance, the professional fields in which she and her brother were engaged for many years. Professor Charles McLure holds the first chair.

1970-04-09 18:54:14

Anthropology and Sociology become two Separate departments

Anthropology and Sociology become two separate departments. The separation agreement is formalized in 1971. The new Anthropology Department has six faculty members and its first department chair is Professor Stephen Tyler. The new Sociology Department has four full-time faculty members and its first department chair is Professor Chad Gordon.

1970-06-01 12:10:55

Department Renamed

The Department of Economics and Business Administration is renamed the Department of Economics and Accounting

1970-06-04 09:53:36

Howell Serves as Psychology Chair for 17 Years

Professor William C. Howell becomes chair of the Psychology Department and serves for 17 years.

1970-06-25 01:31:48

Ph.D. in Political Science Inaugurated

The Ph.D. program, offering the three fields of comparative politics, American politics and international relations is inaugurated with an entering class of five.

1971-06-04 09:53:36

Sewall Hall opens

Cleveland Sewall Hall opens. It houses the Psychology Department, along with other social sciences departments and the fine arts program.

1971-08-10 00:00:00

Managerial Studies Program created

1972-07-31 07:21:10

Psychology Department initiates Ph.D. Program

The Psychology Department initiates its own Ph.D. program. Three specialty areas in the Ph.D. program are initially established in 1976: cognitive-experimental psychology, industrial/organizational psychology and social psychology. Engineering psychology is added in 1985.

1974-06-25 01:31:48

First Ph.D. in Political Science Awarded

The first Ph.D. in Political Science is awarded to Kim Quaile Hill.

1976-01-25 09:23:16

Peterkin Chair of Political Economy established

The George A. Peterkin Chair of Political Economy is established by Mrs. George A. Peterkin, George A Peterkin, Jr., and Patricia Peterkin Pryor in memory of George Peterkin. Its purpose is to promote teaching and scholarship in the field of economics. In addition to establishing an endowed chair, the gift enables the department to create a lecture series, to bring in Nobel prize winner Douglass North as a visiting professor, and to invite Nobel prize winners James Mirrlees and Robert Solow to lecture. Professor Dagobert Brito holds the first chair.

1978-01-16 14:01:57

Walter G. Hall Endowment in Sociology

Walter G. Hall '28 gives East Texas timber land to Rice with the instructions that the proceeds from the sale of the land be divided between the Department of Sociology and the Jones School of Business. The Walter G. Hall Endowment in Sociology is established in 1985 with the sale of the land "in the hope that it will contribute to a better understanding of the increasingly complex nature of our society."

1978-10-01 00:00:00

Fox Chair in Political Science established

The Lena Gohlman Fox Endowed Chair in Political Science is established. Professor Joseph Cooper holds its first chair.

1979-07-01 10:27:32

School of Social Sciences established

Rice President Norman Hackerman establishes the School of Social Sciences, separating the former Division of Humanities and Social Sciences. Social Sciences begins with 38 full-time faculty.

1979-07-23 10:27:32

Department of Economics named

The department takes on its current name of the Department of Economics when Accounting becomes part of the Jones School of Business. Professor Gaston V. Rimlinger is department chair.

1979-10-01 00:00:00

Butler receives Award for Superior Teaching

Professor Richard A. Butler receives the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching.

1979-10-01 00:00:00

Cooper named first dean of Social Sciences

Professor Joseph Cooper is appointed as the first dean of social sciences. Besides having been the first chair of the Department of Political Science, 1967-1972, he served as acting provost, 1973-1974.

1980-06-25 01:31:48

Marcus serves as anthropology chair for 25 years

Professor George Marcus becomes chair of the Anthropology Department and serves for 25 years. Marcus is the longest serving chair in the Social Sciences.

1980-09-20 06:23:10

Ph.D. program in Anthropology created

A new Ph.D. program in Anthropology is founded to replace a previous program in Behavioral Sciences. Specializations include social/cultural anthropology, biological anthropology and archaeology.

1981-08-01 06:23:10

Policy Studies established as a 2nd major

1981-08-02 18:10:32

Rice Chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon installed

The Rice chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society for Economics, is installed.

1981-10-01 00:00:00

Cooke & Edwards Chair established

The Thomas Cooke & Mary Elizabeth Edwards Chair in American Government & Democracy is established. In 2005, Professor Keith Hamm becomes the first chair holder.

1982-01-16 14:01:57

Klineberg conducts first Houston Area Survey

Professor Stephen Klineberg conducts the first Kinder Houston Area Survey as an undergraduate class assignments on a budget of $3,000. The survey is the nation's longest running study for a single metropolitan area's changing demographics and public attitudes.

1982-09-20 06:23:10

First Ph.D. in Anthropology awarded

The first Ph.D. in Anthropology is awarded to Deborah Harvey Delgado.

1983-08-02 18:10:32

Moulin elected fellow to Econometric Society

Professor Herve Moulin is elected as a fellow in the Econometric Society.

1983-09-20 06:23:10

Rice Circle established

The Department of Anthropology establishes the Rice Circle. The Rice Circle offers participants from Anthropology, History, Sociology, modern languages, Philosophy and other departments the opportunity to discuss such topics as theories of aesthetics, postmodernism in literature, ethnography in anthropology and critical discourse in literary theory.

1984-08-02 18:10:32

Major in Mathematical Economics Analysis Established

1984-08-02 18:10:32

Howell becomes president of APA divisions

Professor William C. Howell is elected president of the divisions of Experimental Psychology and Engineering Psychology of the American Psychological Association.

History of the School of Social Sciences

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