Named a “New Ivy” school by the Kaplan/Newsweek College Guide in 2007, the stunning architecture and countless trees here speak for themselves. Originally chartered by businessman William Marsh Rice in 1891, the university was founded on a bit of a scandal. On September 23, 1900, Rice was chloroformed to death by his valet, Charlie Jones, who had planned to claim his estate with a forged will. The Rice Institute opened on the anniversary of Mr. Rice’s murder in 1912, with 77 students and a dozen faculty members. Today, it is a leading research university located near the Houston Museum District.