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Franz Brotzen, Professor Emeritus

Franz Brotzen

When Professor Emeritus Franz Brotzen received an invitation to teach at the Rice Institute in 1954, he was unfamiliar with the school and had only visited Houston once. And when the then-current dean, George Holmes Richter, asked him to interview on May 31st, he was a little confused.

“You want me to interview on Memorial Day?” Brotzen asked. “Are you sure?”

“We don’t celebrate Memorial Day in Texas,” Richter informed him. “We celebrate San Jacinto Day.”

Dr. Brotzen says his impromptu discovery of Rice opened up his life, just as other events guided by happenstance—meeting his wife abroad, living in Brazil, serving as an intelligence officer during World War II—have given him meaning and purpose.

Because Dr. Brotzen’s passion for traveling and adventure have led to a lifetime of meaningful discoveries, he and his wife, Frances, wanted to provide Rice students with similar opportunities to expand their horizons and to broaden their ambitions. In addition to making significant cash gifts to the student travel fund annually, their will includes a bequest for an endowed travel fund, granting them honorable inclusion into the Captain James Addison Baker Society for planned giving.

Already, their contributions have allowed, among many fellowship recipients, one student interested in medieval conditions to embark on a pilgrimage from France to Santiago de Compostela in Northwest Spain. They have supported the ambition of a disabled student to explore issues of accessibility at major museums in Rome, Italy.

Together, Franz and Frances Brotzen have traveled to every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Individually, their backgrounds are just as diverse in terms of geography and culture. Dr. Brotzen’s exploits may only be matched by Mrs. Brotzen, who recently published a memoir of her travels, “From Washington to Texas via Africa, Asia and Europe: Episodes from a Varied Life” (Vantage Press 2007). The memoir details her experiences while working for the Department of State, the Army and while working as a secretary for the founding conference of the United Nations.

Now in his 54th year teaching at Rice University, Dr. Brotzen still embraces the unexpected, promoting life with no boundaries. Thanks to his generous gifts, Rice students will find the courage to go off the beaten path and to make their own life-changing discoveries.

For more information about creative charitable giving opportunities, gift illustrations, and calculations tailored for your situation, please contact Rice’s Office of Gift Planning at (713) 348-4624.