I spend so much time looking at the strangeness of very old pictures that it’s easy to miss how much change has taken place right under my nose. Here are some aerial shots of campus that were taken during the construction of the Jones School Building (now McNair Hall) in 2000. Zoom in on them for a good look–in every direction the Rice campus is a dramatically different place now. I still miss the parking lot that used to be across from the RMC. (Many thanks to Susann Glenn from FE&P for bringing us these pictures to scan. I’m not finished yet, though, so don’t come back for them.)
I don’t think anyone will be surprised to learn that there was some fairly serious internal controversy over the size of the Jones School building. It’s a bit daunting to contemplate that construction site compared to the other structures on campus. The dean of the school at the time was the great Gil Whitaker, who I believe was one of the finest administrators in Rice’s history. He argued passionately that a first-rate business school would need the space, and he seems to have been correct.