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Remembering Norman Hackerman

By Evan Mintz     8/24/07 12:00am

 Former Rice University President Norman Hackerman, who served from 1970 to 1985, died June 16 in Temple,Texas at age 95. Hackerman, who was Rice's fourth president, oversaw the founding of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and the Shepherd School of Music.

Under Hackerman, Rice increased faculty by 229 members and added 39 endowed chairs. He stabilized the finances of the university, quadrupling the endowment and instituting the Brown Challenge Grant, which provided millions of dollars in matching donations to Rice. 

Hackerman also served as president of the University of Texas from 1967 to 1970. 

Hackerman began his academic career at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1932 and a doctorate in chemistry 1935. During World War II, he worked on the Manhattan Project, helping to enrich uranium for the Little Boy nuclear bomb. He joined UT in 1945 as an assistant professor in chemistry, becoming a full professor in 1950, department chair in 1952, dean of research in 1960, vice president mid provost in 1961 and vice chancellor for academic affairs for the UT system in 1963. 

After he left Rice in 1985, Hackerman served on several committees and advisory boards, including the National Science Board, the Texas Governor's Task Force on Higher Education and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Welch Foundation. He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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