Liu Family Foundation donates $16.5M to Rice University entrepreneurship initiative

Houston entrepreneur and Rice University alumnus Frank Liu and his family foundation recently gifted $16.5 million to launch the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie) at Rice University.

Lilie will offer new and expanded entrepreneurship courses as well as project funds to help encourage Rice students to pursue and achieve success in their entrepreneurial pursuits.

“With this remarkable commitment to entrepreneurial experience and opportunity, Frank Liu and Rice make a strong statement about being a top choice for students who want to learn how to bring innovative ideas to life,” Rice President David Leebron said. “As a successful Rice alumnus and entrepreneur, Frank understands the potential impact of the entrepreneurship program at Rice, in Houston and Texas, and the generous support of the Frank and Cindy Liu Family Foundation gives Rice students every opportunity to realize their ambitions.”

Liu, who graduated from Rice in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, described how he thought students could benefit from Lilie. 

“By providing hands-on opportunities to learn entrepreneurship through Lilie’s innovative courses and programs, we hope to attract talented and driven students and equip them with the necessary resources to lead innovation both on Rice’s campus and across the city of Houston and the state of Texas,” Liu said. “I am confident that Lilie will inspire Rice students to become entrepreneurial leaders and do great things in Houston, a city that has been a place of remarkable opportunity for my family and for so many other Houstonians. I hope our city will benefit from a new generation of business employers and greater participation in the innovation economy of the 21st century."

Rice University, one of America's top-rated teaching and research universities, is at 6100 Main St. in West Houston. A private college, it enrolls 3,279 undergraduates and 2,277 graduate students.

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