Chem Lecture Hall, 1926 and 2015

One of the pleasant consequences of my adventures with the old Chemistry Library was that a folder full of images of the building bubbled up to the surface. Here’s a real beauty, an image of the Lecture Hall taken just after the building opened:



I just have a couple of notes about this. First, I’ve written before about the metal work above the door but this is the first time I’ve seen it from the inside. Second, I’m very interested in the medallions on the west wall up near the ceiling. I don’t know what they were nor do I know when they disappeared. Anyone?

Here’s the room recently. The lovely wood is mostly gone but the proportions of the room are so graceful that it still looks elegant to me:


Bonus: Possibly the biggest thing that ever happened in this room was the February 1969 meeting of the faculty to hear the announcement that William Masterson had been chosen as the next president. It did not go well.

Masterson Faculty meeting 1

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11 Responses to Chem Lecture Hall, 1926 and 2015

  1. Richard Schafer (Lovett '73) says:

    “It did not go well.” Nice understatement.

  2. Ron Sass says:

    I remember lecturing in the “old chem lecture hall.” It held about 234 students and Chem 120 numbered over 400. It was taught at 9 and 10 on MWF. No air conditioning, crowded room, a row of 100watt lights over a double sliding blackboard. Not an easy gig. I always needed a shower after two hours straight lecturing. There was a door in the wall near the top in the front of the lecture hall that connected with the office of the then Dean and Chair Holmes Richter. He used to observe and listen to me and others who taught there and, if he saw fit, comment on our delivery. I remember him telling me one time after I told a joke in class that “No one is indispensable, Sass.” He usually had a sense of humor but apparently not for my young faculty variety of jokes.

  3. marmer01 says:

    I suspect that the window remodeling was the result of the installation of operable shades for presentation projection. When I was a student in the early 80’s, it was common for the RPC or the SA to rent classic 35mm movies (Marx Brothers, Butch Cassidy, Clockwork Orange, etc.) and show them on the screen in Chem Lec for a buck. This of course was before even the common availability of VHS tapes or rentals.

    • Gene Mutschler says:

      I used to be the projectionist for some of these movies in the late 60s. I seem to remember a bigger table to hold the projector back then.

  4. In the 70’s, the SA movies were in Hamman Hall.

    That is a pretty big remodel in Chem Lec, because the interiour window surrounds have been changed from square to curved and all the wood has been removed. That wasn’t cheap and should be in the records somewhere.

  5. I covered one faculty meeting for The Thresher in this room. I don’t remember what it was about, but I do remember that most of the faculty sat several rows back, which comforted me.

    One of the professors in the front row had been my 8am calculus prof. His name escapes me, but he was a Jones associate (maybe Brown, but I think Jones), and was always there for breakfast after his early morning run. Clearly a morning person.

  6. marmer01 says:

    I think Dr. Pfeiffer has been the subject of a post or two here. Longtime Rice fixture, Rice undergrad and forty-year faculty member. Also clarinet player and ordained minister, if I recall correctly.

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