William Marsh Rice (1816-1900), who made his fortune in Texas in the mid-19th century, left the bulk of his estate to the founding of a free institute in Houston and until 1964 Rice did not charge tuition.
The architecture of the university is laid out in numerous quadrangles.
The Academic Quad is centered around the memorial to William Rice, and includes the Administrative buildings (through which the Sallyport passes), the Library, and the Physics, Language, Architecture, and Humanities buildings.
The Engineering Quad is centered around the sculpture 45/90/180, and includes the Electrical Engineering building, the Mechanical Engineering building, the Chemistry building, the Computer Science building, and several laboratories.
Rice University's own website: http://www.rice.edu