Coming soon: Sculpture of Edgar Odell Lovett

Rice University
> Coming soon: Sculpture of Edgar Odell Lovett


Brains and bronze

Sculpture of Edgar Odell Lovett commissioned for centennial


What do British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan have in common with Rice University’s founding president? If everything goes according to plan, they all will have been immortalized in bronze by noted American sculptor Bruce

Lovett Sculpture


Rice recently commissioned a nearly 8-foot bronze statue of Edgar Odell Lovett that will most likely be placed in front of Keck Hall. 


Rice recently commissioned a nearly 8-foot bronze statue of Edgar Odell Lovett that will most likely be placed in front of Keck Hall — the area where Lovett gave his last speech as Rice’s first president by introducing his successor, William V. Houston. The university is seeking support from the entire Rice community to bring its plans for the statue to fruition and hopes to unveil the commemorative sculpture as part of its Centennial Celebration in 2012.

"Perhaps more than in the case of any other university in the United States, Rice University is the outgrowth of the vision, direction and leadership of one man, Edgar Odell Lovett," said John Boles '65, the William P. Hobby Professor of History and author of "University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute."

"Dr. Lovett's ambitions for Rice and years of dedicated service shaped all sectors of the university, from academic and research to campus architecture and life, and his influence permeates Rice even today," Boles said.

The university commissioned the statue of Lovett to honor his enduring legacy. The Wortham Foundation, whose founder, John L. Wortham, was a Rice trustee from 1946 to 1962, has provided a $300,000 challenge grant to cover almost half the cost. Rice must raise the remaining $400,000 from alumni, faculty, staff, students and other friends of the university.

"We hope that the generous challenge grant from the Wortham Foundation will encourage many friends in the Rice community to contribute to this important work of art honoring Dr. Lovett and his legacy," said trustee Susie Glasscock '62, who is co-chairing the

Centennial Campaign with trustee Bobby Tudor '82.

"Edgar Odell Lovett's vision created Rice University, and that vision is just as relevant today as it was 100 years ago," she said.

The Lovett statue will be Wolfe's first piece in Houston. The Northern California native's career in sculpture spans 40 years of commissions of busts and figurative portraits of many notable personalities. His bronze statue of Thatcher is on display at Hillsdale University in Michigan; his sculptures of Jordan can be found at the University of Texas at Austin and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

"The Rice Art Committee unanimously selected Wolfe for his remarkable skill in creating dynamic likenesses," said trustee emeritus Raymond Brochstein '55, who chairs the committee. He noted that the Lovett statue will serve as a valuable contribution to Rice's campus art.

"Dr. Lovett himself believed that Rice should play a significant role in advancing the arts in Houston,” Brochstein said. “Because of its artistic, historical and sentimental value, the Lovett statue will be one of the centerpieces of the collection of diverse, site-specific installations that the Rice Public Art Programs is building to enliven the campus."

Gifts to the Lovett statue count toward the Centennial Campaign, Rice’s $1 billion fundraising strategy to launch Rice into its second century. Donors who pledge $5,000 or more will be recognized on a plaque placed on the monument.

To make a donation online, visit Donations can also be mailed to Rice University, Lovett Statue Fund -- MS 83, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251-1892.

For more information about the Lovett Statue Fund, contact Sam Lasseter, Rice's senior philanthropic adviser, at or 713-348-4387.