The following were noted from President David Leebron's speech at the Student Association meeting on Sept. 30.
Leebron discussed academic initiatives, campus infrastructure investments, long-term renovation and construction projects, as well as other "priorities for the new century" in his State of the University presentation to the SA.
According to Leebron, upcoming university projects include developing Rice's online education presence, increasing diversity of the international student body in terms of national origin, and sustainably constructing new buildings and facilities around campus. Leebron reminded students of the importance of communicating feedback to university administrators in order to contribute to real change.
Leebron addressed recent national and world rankings of universities, noting that while the administration is not overly concerned with the drop in Rice's U.S. News and World Report ranking from No. 17 to No. 18 this year, the administration is working to ensure students are as satisfied with their Rice experience as possible. Leebron encouraged students to provide feedback to the administration and noted that while not every concern will have a quick and easy solution, the administration is interested in finding ways to address issues on campus.
Leebron acknowledged student concerns about the parking situation at Rice and said it was a priority for the administration to work on both short- and long-term solutions as part of its broader project of improving campus infrastructure. He discussed options for expanding parking, including above-ground garages on existing lots and underground garages as part of other new construction projects or under Founder's Court, but he noted that the high cost of underground parking spaces at approximately $50,000 per space must be taken into consideration.