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The John W. Rice Diversity & Equity Award

Dr. John W. Rice

The Reverend John Wesley Rice Jr. was born
November 3, 1923 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and rose to become a minister and university leader. After being educated at Stillman College, he earned a history degree in 1946 at Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina, and later received his divinity degree there.

Dr. Rice moved to Birmingham, Alabama to become the director of education at Westminister Presbyterian Church. He also worked as a coach, teacher, and counselor in public schools. During this time his only child, Condoleezza, was born.

In 1964, Dr. Rice moved his family to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to accept the position of dean of students at Stillman College. From 1969 to 1985, he was a professor and served as assistant vice chancellor at the University of Denver in Colorado. His daughter persuaded him in 1985 to move to Palo Alto, California following the death of his first wife, Angelena.

Dr. Rice then held academic positions at Stanford University and, in 1989, married Clara Bailey. Governor Pete Wilson appointed him to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges in 1992, and he served on the board until his death in 2000.

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"It is remarkable that a country that once counted my ancestors as 3/5 of a man would eventually choose to be led by their descendants. This happened through human compassion and institutions like the community colleges, which provide a place to go for anyone willing to work hard."

Condoleezza Rice, 2014 Rice Awards speech


“It is heartwarming to know that my husband’s legacy and the battles he fought for diversity and equity in higher education lives on through the work of the California Community Colleges and are still being waged.”

Clara Rice, 2014 Rice Awards speech