The unit building was newly made and prepared for the first class of midshipmen when the program began in 1941, with 110 spots available for freshmen and sophomore students at Rice to apply for. The program continued to expand, and only a year later, in 1942, had 198 midshipmen. The unit was heavily involved with the rice community on campus. Initially created in addition to the ROTC Program was the Navy Club, which was meant to increase camaraderie and instill the good ideals of the navy into midshipmen. Members also created the Navy Orchestra, which played at events around campus. The unit midshipmen also ran a publication called the Rice Broadside, which included news from the company, as well as thoughts about current events, such as the excerpt below, from an issue during WW2. Midshipmen also found uses for the physical demands of the navy - many of the Marine options were members of the Rice football team as well. In 1943, Rice University was selected to participate in the V-12 Commissioning Program for World War II with an initial input of 530 students. In February 1944, the unit commissioned its first class of graduates; in all, 80 men were commissioned as officers in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps. By July 1946, the V-12 Program had ended and the unit shrunk to 32 students. Today, the unit consists of cross-town affiliates at Texas Southern University, the University of Houston, and Houston Baptist University. It has commissioned over 900 officers into the Navy and Marine Corps since the end of World War II.
The Prairie View A&M University Unit was established in March 1968 and was the first NROTC unit established at a Historically Black College or University. In May 1970, the first class of 13 midshipmen were commissioned into the Navy and Marine Corps. By 1979, the unit had commissioned over 100 officers into the naval service. In August 1992, the Prairie View A&M University Unit joined with the Rice University Unit to form the NROTC Houston Consortium. To date, the unit has commissioned over 400 officers into the Navy and Marine Corps.