The 1930s to the 1960s


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

1940 - 1959

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.


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.


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


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.


The Rice Institute is formally redesignated William Marsh Rice University.

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


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


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


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


Major first offered in Political Science.

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


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.

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


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.

"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.


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.

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.


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