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California couple gives Rice University $15 million to redesign education of engineers

Two Rice University alumni with engineering degrees – he a famed venture capitalist, she an environmental activist – have given their alma mater $15 million to transform the way engineers are educated.

The gift from the Benificus Foundation, a private charitable organization set up by alumni John and Ann Doerr, will fund the new Rice Center for Engineering Leadership and raise the bar for engineering educators nationwide. The center’s mission is to broaden Rice engineering education by incorporating current and emerging crises facing society and developing personal leadership skills needed to solve pressing global problems. The gift supports Rice’s Centennial Campaign, which was launched today.

“We are grateful for this extraordinary gift, which is generous not only in amount but in vision,” said Rice President David Leebron. “There is no limit to what talented and imaginative engineers will be able to achieve, and the education this gift makes possible will enable Rice to produce some of the great engineers who will help solve the big challenges facing our world.”

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