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Tuesday, April 23, 2024 — Houston, TX

Former Energy Secretary Charles Duncan namesakes 11th college

By Lily Chun     8/24/07 12:00am

Rice announced Tuesday that Charles ('47) and Anne Duncan gave $30 million to support the 11th residential college. Duncan College will be the first building on campus to be gold-level LEED certified. Construction of Duncan and McMurtry has already begun. 

Duncan said he and his wife decided to be the donors for the college a few weeks ago, although they discussed the possibility throughout the year. 

Duncan was not himself associated with any residential college, since the residential college system was not established until 1957. However, Duncan witnessed the residential college system from an administrative standpoint as chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees from 1982 to 1996. 



"We think that the college system has been very effective at Rice," Duncan said. "It's something that we believe in, and we think it's a key ingredient with the success Rice has had with students." As former U.S. Secretary of Energy and former chair of the Business Coalition for Clean Air, Duncan said he is a proponent of environmental conservation. He said he and his wife were not involved in planning the green aspects of the college, but he was pleased with the environmental characteristics. 

Director of News and Media Relations BJ Almond said the sustainable features of the new college include lights that switch off automatically, a classroom with sustainable materials and furnishings, automatic shut-off air-conditioners with open windows. pre-fabricated bathrooms, a system to monitor energy consumption, 25 percent reduced energy consumption, 30 percent reduced water consumption and a roof that will decrease heating and cooling usage. 

"We were very sympathetic with [constructing a green building], but a lot of the thinking came from the Rice community," Duncan said. 

In addition to funding Duncan College, the Duncans have contributed to the Duncan Hall of Engineering as well as the Shepherd School of Music.



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