The Hobby Center for the Study of Texas was created at Rice University in 2010 with support from the Honorable William P. Hobby Jr., former Lt. Governor of Texas and a Rice Alumnus. The Hobby Center for the Study of Texas is an independent and objective source for the completion of research and education projects and programs focused on major issues impacting Texas and the Nation both now and in the future. The Center seeks to advance understanding of the causes and consequences of demographic, economic, geographic, social, and environmental conditions impacting the current conditions in, and future of, Texas and other areas in the Nation. Its goal is to conduct rigorous research which results in the development of policy options for consideration by Texas decision-makers and for the people of Texas as a whole. Although they emphasize Texas, its multidisciplinary research and education activities include analyses relevant to other states as well as the Nation as a whole and its range of study topics, and its technical papers, books and articles address conceptual issues, hypotheses and analyses of scientific relevance across a broad range of social, economic and policy sciences and are relevant to a variety of contexts. In addition, the Center’s staff is involved with other entities in the provision of a variety of educational programs to elucidate both the nature of the challenges facing Texas and the Nation and the implications of alternative policy options.
Lt. Governor Bill Hobby has done his best over a long lifetime to guide his home state, Texas, into the future. As the longest-serving lieutenant governor in the state’s history, a media executive, distinguished university professor and philanthropist, his contributions have been considerable.
Guided by a family tradition of selfless public service, he put his keen intellect, respect for history and sharp wit to work in all his endeavors. Already editor of a major newspaper in the state’s largest city-- Houston, Hobby was elected lieutenant governor in 1972. During his 18 years in office, Texas was undergoing rapid and historically unprecedented change to its population, its culture, its politics and economy.
Hobby knew that an economically competitive state depended on a strong system of public and higher education, and made education a top priority. Meanwhile, he helped make health care more accessible. He understood how to get things done and make things work in a complex legislative environment.
When he left office in 1991, he continued to run Hobby Communications, but was soon tapped to lead the University of Houston System through a difficult transition period. He also taught at Rice University and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. The William P. Hobby Center for Public Service at Texas State University and the Hobby Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston bear his name.
Bill Hobby and his late wife, Diana, have contributed to the Hobby Center for Performing Arts in Houston, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory and Rice University.