EVANSVILLE, IN (WEHT) – It’s a sad day for the University of Southern Indiana as it mourns the loss of the school’s founding president, Dr. David Rice.
Rice, 90, died Wednesday in his Pennsylvania home.
He was a driving force to make what was ISUE, an independent university.
Rice was born in 1929 and grew to become a historic pioneer in the Evansville educational community.
“If you think about Mr. Rice. Things that come to my mind immediately is visionary, compassion, intellect and educator. You know someone who had the courage and strength to a vision that he and many men and women around this community saw to fruition,” says current USI president Dr. Ronald s. Rochon.
Dr. Rice was the dean of Indiana State University- Evansville in 1967.
After the university became independent from ISU in 1985, Rice became the first president of USI.
Many say his fight for the school’s independence is his biggest legacy.
“There’s no question that the top item would be the separation of this campus from Indiana State and Terre Haute. I’m not sure that someone else without his tenacity could have made that happen.”
Former USI vice president, SherriAnn Standley, served close to Rice during many of his 27 years at the university.
She says he was first and foremost an educator.
“Dr. Rice was really a remarkable leader in so many ways and if you think that where we’re standing now when he came here there were no buildings here. There was nothing here except the acreage that had been purchased by a nonprofit foundation with a vision.”
Dr. Rocshon is the 4th president of USI. He says rice paved the way for people like him, the students, and the community.
“Thank you for supporting USI. Thank you for supporting this family during this very difficult time but most importantly. Thank you for celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. David L. Rice, ” says Rocshon.
A visitation and funeral will be held on campus.
Arrangements are still pending.
(This story was originally published on January 16, 2020)
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