WASHINGTON, July 11 -

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Madam Speaker, late one summer night a few years ago, I boarded a red-eye flight back to Houston. I saw college students on the plane, and I expected the worst. I was wrong, however. As soon as the plane took off, these athletes broke out their books, and they studied for the rest of the flight. I was impressed by this group of considerate, smart, focused, and driven student athletes. No surprise, they were the Owls baseball team from Rice University.

Rice was named after Massachusetts-born businessman William Marsh Rice, a transplanted Yankee who was successful in Houston, Texas. He chartered the Rice Institute. Today, Rice University is the home of 5,000 students. Its achievements make Houston proud--artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, and space science, just to name a few. And the Rice Owls baseball team gives Houston a baseball team we can be proud of. And just yesterday, Rice was named one of the top 100 universities in the world by the Center for World University Rankings.

I want to congratulate Rice president, Dr. Leebron, his wonderful educators, and his students for an amazing 100 years of excellence and education.

And that's just the way it is.

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