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In 1963 Jones was the only women's college at Rice, and there was such a severe housing shortage that some Rice women were being housed in another university's dorms. In October of that year, George R. Brown and his wife Alice Pratt Brown donated one million dollars through the Brown Foundation to build a new dorm for women at Rice. The new college was established in memory of their sister-in-law, Margarett Root Brown, (1896-1963) who was the wife of the also late Hermann Brown. Margarett Brown was devoted to the fine arts as an art critic and collector and served on the boards of several of organizations. As a tribute to her love of the arts, the first floor of Brown College houses a wide variety of paintings and antique furniture donated by the George R. Brown family and others.
The College was dedicated on October 3, 1965 and was filled primarily by women who had volunteered to leave Jones College to start a new college. Since then other colleges have been added to Rice, and beginning in 1971 some colleges went co-ed. Brown held out as the last all female college until 1987 when it agreed to accept male members.
The College is an eight-story masonry structure on the northeast campus. The high-rise was devised to spare trees. In 2001 new construction will change the Brown College complex. An addition will connect to Brown College on four levels and will extend west of the College in the area occupied by the current Jones Masters' House.
Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University 6100 Main St.
Margaret Root Brown College Masters Records, 1965-2004, UA 345, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University https://archives.library.rice.edu/repositories/2/resources/896 Accessed February 24, 2024.