Edgar Odell Lovett is famously known for being the first president of Rice University (then known as the Rice Institute), in addition to being the namesake of the best Residential College at Rice.
Lovett was born in Ohio in 1871 and received a B.A. from Bethany College and Ph.D.s from the University of Virginia and the University of Leipzig. In 1897, Lovett became a professor at Princeton University, eventually becoming the head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy. In 1907, Lovett was recommended to lead the new Rice Institute by future President of the United States Woodrow Wilson (then the President of Princeton University). In 1908, he accepted the offer from the Rice Board of Trustees and became the Rice Institute's first president.
Lovett's visions are still largely continued at Rice today, including being an institute focused both on technical skills and liberal arts. Much of Rice's beautiful architecture and spaces was inspired by Lovett's travels to prestigious universities while developing what Rice was to be. Lovett's legacy lives on over 100 years after Rice was founded, and in honor of his contributions, during the centennial celebration in 2012, a statue of Edgar Odell Lovett was added to the Rice campus.
The history of Lovett dates back to the late 1960s, when the Board of Trustees was approached about building a new all–male college on the south side of campus. Edgar Odell Lovett College, named after Rice's first president, opened in 1968, mostly comprising volunteers from the other colleges. The distinctive brutalist architecture, part of the architectural movement that flourished from the 1950s to 1970s, of Lovett has led many to compare it to a giant toaster. This is due to the concrete grating that surrounds the third, fourth, and fifth floors. This grating is part of the architects' intent to make Lovett riot–proof in reaction to the student riots of the late 1960s. This grating now protects Lovett students from hurricanes, allowing the students of Lovett College to remain in their rooms through both Hurricane Rita and the most recent Hurricane Ike.
As an homage to Communism and the purported Soviet architecture of the college, the men of the founding class named their college government the Central Committee. The original Central Committee had five members who had four–out–of–five veto power over the various subcommittees; this system was soon changed because of its inefficiency. Urban legend holds that the Central Committee's first decree was to disband themselves and use their budget to buy beer. Another urban legend says that the stags in the college crest are taken from the logo of the brand of beer they bought. The first urban legend is of disputable truthfulness, but the second one has been shown to be false—the college crest is based upon a Lovat family (not related to Edgar Odell) family crest.
In 1971, Sid Richardson College was built in Lovett College's parking lot. This displeased the members of Lovett, and in retaliation they declared Sid to be their colony. To this day, an integral part of the Lovett College Government is Sid-Gov, which exists to govern over the Sid Rich colony. The Sid-Gov, originally intended to harass Sid Rich colony on a regular basis, is now primarily a Beer Bike position that entails helping coordinators by filling water balloons and being in charge of campus wide jacks (pranks).
Today, Lovett has gone through yet some more changes. A recently added Baker wing and Seibel Servery add new elements to Lovett.