The cheers of Duncan College students filled the air Nov. 19 as members of the Rice community gathered to celebrate the official inauguration of Rice's 11th residential college. Charles Duncan ('47) and his wife Anne attended the formal ceremony which recognized their $30 million contribution which the made Duncan's construction possible.Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson introduced the event and a procession of the presidents of the other 10 colleges, accompanied by members of their respective colleges. Chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees Jim Crownover introduced President David Leebron, who said a few words of thanks to the Duncans and emphasized the importance of the residential college system to the university.
"The residential colleges are one of the most vital contributions to the community," Leebron said. "The feel of Duncan College, as well as its environmental impact, make a positive statement for Rice and its commitment to excellence."
The next to speak were Duncan masters Luis Duno-Gottberg and Marnie Hylton. They said that even before they moved into Duncan, the college and the new Duncan students were already flourishing on their own.
"The dedication of the students to make Duncan feel like home speaks to their tremendous level of responsibility," Duno-Gottberg, a Hispanic Studies professor, said.
Duncan President Amber Makhani then praised Duncan students for their faith and commitment to the new college.
"I think this is a great indication of how strong our community support is here and how proud everyone is to be part of this amazing opportunity to start a new college," Makhani, a Duncan junior, said. "This is not only a historic moment for Rice University; it is historic for all the current members because we've had input on the creation of every aspect of the college, which is something we're so proud of."
Members of the other residential colleges then came up to present their gifts, ranging from board games to a hammock, to Duncan College.
Finally, the Duncans themselves made a short speech expressing their enthusiasm about making such an important contribution to Rice and praising the Duncan students for their dedication to their college.
"I have loved hearing about the efforts of Duncaroos to establish culture and traditions for the college," Charles Duncan said. "I hope that everyone will derive great happiness from their time at Duncan."
Following the ceremony, Duncan students and guests were invited to a reception in the Duncan courtyard with refreshments for the approximately 300 attendees.
"I think we really felt the importance of community during the ceremony," Duncan College freshman Sheri-Ann Peckham said. "It felt so good to see that ribbon cut and finally become an official college."
According to Senior Director of News and Media Relations BJ Almond, Charles Duncan graduated from Rice in 1947 and has since served as a Rice trustee, acting as chairman from 1982 to 1996. Duncan has also been awarded the James A. Baker Prize for Excellence in Leadership, the Distinguished Alumni Award, the Distinguished Owl Club Award, and the Gold Medal Award from Rice. Duncan served as deputy secretary of defense under President Jimmy Carter. His wife, Anne Duncan, is a long-time supporter of the Shepherd School of Music.
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