History and Traditions



The history of Brown dates back to the early 1960s when Jones was the only all-women’s college on campus. A severe housing shortage forced some Rice women to be housed in the dorms of nearby Texas Women’s University, which incited the plans to build another (and vastly superior) women’s college on campus. Through the generous $1 million donation of George R. Brown and his wife Alice Pratt Brown, a new women’s residential college was established in the memory of their sister-in-law, Margarett Root Brown. Thus the Enlightened Era of Rice University began on October 3, 1965 with the dedication of Brown College.

In the beginning, Brown had a housemother who lived in the Resident Associate’s (RA) apartment and required all women to check in and out of the building at night and on weekends. The first Master of Brown was Frank Vandiver, who later became president of Texas A&M University. In 1966, he resigned from Brown because of a “scandal” – the members of Brown blazed a trail for future generations by voting to drink alcohol in their own rooms (provided they were of legal drinking age). Vandiver resigned because he considered it inappropriate behavior for young ladies.

Up until her death in 1985, Alice Pratt Brown was an active patron of the college, giving the college much of the furniture and art in the first floor lobbies and private dining room. As the colleges became coed in 1971, Brown held out as the only female college until 1987, when male members were accepted into the college for the first time. However, the community bathrooms on all floors remained coed until 1994, when the bathrooms were remodeled and separate facilities for men and women were built on each floor. Also in 1994, Brown ceased to be the only college with only one RA when it remodeled the suite and single on the eighth floor in order to form another RA apartment.

The new wing of Brown opened in 2002 and supplements the 188 beds in the tower. The new wing houses 56 additional students, taking Brown from being the smallest to the largest residential college. Unlike the tower, which is comprised of doubles and singles with community bathrooms, the new wing is composed of four-person suites. Each suite has four small single rooms, a large common room, and a private bathroom. The new wing also provides Brown with a new RA suite, a new college coordinator office, classrooms, and a new commons connecting to the North Servery.




Whether it’s someone in your O-Week group, a friend, or a roommate who is celebrating their birthday, this person must be soaked in the sacred waters of the Fairy Fountain to ensure good luck and success over the next year. Whether it be at midnight or at lunch, we're sure to get the birthday boy or girl and make sure they get tossed in the fountain. Sometimes this involves a long, intense chase, but other times it works as a quiet ambush. Afterwards, the best of friends are always there to get a hug from the one who was thrown in.

Brown Defense

Baker 13 has its fun all year, but on the Halloween Run, Brown College has had enough. We won’t take the injustice of shaving cream on our windows and walls. Instead, we build barricades and bombard the runners with water balloons as they try to infiltrate our home. Brown is known for having one of the largest and most elaborate Defenses, and we are proud of it!

Fridays in the Quad (FitQ)

The week can often be hard, and to help kick off the weekend, the Brown EC and Committees host Fridays in the Quad! Filled with food, music, games, and drinks, FitQ is a great way to just hang out in the Quad as you pass by or for the whole afternoon. Sometimes, various committees also host FitQs, so you come down those days for extra fun and games.

Brown Day

Brown Day typically occurs at the end of the year, and is a festival to celebrate Brown! In the past, this event has included therapy dogs, caricature artists, music featuring the Maggie Brown Band, food and drink for all ages, and the annual class picture! It’s always a great day to celebrate being a Brownie.

Holiday Floor Decorations

Holiday Decorations are a great way to exhibit holiday spirit! Nothing says “Holidays” like coming together as a floor to make your home the swaggiest in all the Tower. During the decoration contest, you can see floors turn TV’s into digital fireplaces, make Naughty & Nice lists, and even unanimous lack-of-participation.


At the beginning of the year, all the floors are equal. But after Floorlympics, one floor will dominate all others. Floorlympics is a great exhibition of Brown’s floor culture. Each floor comes down in their own special jerseys (shirts/tanks), and we compete in watermelon eating, juice pong, volleyball, tug of war, and cheer battles. Nothing brings the Brown community together more than a bit of floor rivalry.

College Night

While every college has college nights, Brown’s are whole College Weeks. The creative themes we have each time are supplemented by movie nights, scavenger hunts, and more throughout the week which finally leads to a great big Friday in the Quad!

Brown Skate

Break out your inner figure skater and come to Brown Skate! For a night, Brownies take over the ice skating rink at the Galleria and we can have fun! It’s a great way to bond with other Brownies either as a clumsy novice or an experienced pro.


What’s college without a toga party? Incomplete.

Brown makes sure your Rice experience is a complete college one by hosting Bacchanalia, an evening to rival the parties of Olympus! You have all year to learn how to tie a toga and personalize it, so you better be ready. Past themes have included BacchaNOLA, Waka-Flocka-nalia, and more. Get hyped for this April evening when Brown shows how it gets down.