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Chief Justice Roberts to headline celebration

By Anthony Lauriello     8/17/12 7:00pm


In 1912 Rice began as a humble cluster of buildings in a swamp outside of Houston. Now the university is celebrating its 100th year with a group of five diverse speakers for the Centennial Lecture Series. 

The first speaker is J. Craig Venter, a pioneer in mapping the human genome who will give a talk entitled "From Reading to Writing the Genetic Code." Next comes Esther Dyson, an angel investor who is active in the technology business. Third will be architect and novelist Rem Koolhaas, a founder of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture think tank. Fourth is Shirley Ann Jackson, a nuclear physicist and president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and proponent of increasing women's involvement in science. 

The final speaker is United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts has been in the news recently for his ruling affirming the constitutionality of most of President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Appointed under Bush, Roberts provided the swing vote to uphold Obama's healthcare mandate. He also ruled in favor of Citizens United in 2010, allowing unlimited corporate spending in political campaigns, and affirmed the Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest at military funerals.  

Director of the Centennial Kathleen Boyd said that her office is working on opportunities to let students meet personally with the speakers but nothing at this point is final. 

Jones College senior Chance Marshall said that he is looking forward in particular to hearing Roberts speak. 

"Personally, as a future lawyer, I'm really excited," Marshall said. "It's great having such a diverse group of people and breadth of knowledge and experience to come for the centennial and be able to share the experiences with us and share in our celebration."

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