Rollins mourns the loss of a leader: Charles Rice, who funded the Charles Rice Family Bookstore and Cafe; inset picture of Charles Rice

Charles Rice ’64MBA ’98H

Lorrie Kyle Ramey ’70

Rollins has lost one of its notable leaders, but Charles Rice's legacy of service, advocacy, and support remains to inspire generations of Rollins students and future leaders.

In December 2008, Rollins lost a loyal alumnus, dedicated parent, committed trustee, and dear friend, Charles E. Rice ’64MBA ’98H.

A 1968 article in the Orlando Evening Star announcing his appointment to the presidency of the First National Bank of Winter Park described Rice as looking “like the ‘most likely to succeed’ student in a college yearbook.” And succeed he did. Tagged “Florida’s Banking Dynamo” by Business Month and “the state’s most influential business executive” by Florida Trend, Rice built a career that included positions as president, CEO, and chairman of Barnett Banks, Inc. (as well as its youngest director), chairman of NationsBank Corporation, and vice chairman of Bank of America. From his introduction to banking in 1958 to his final role as chairman of the board of Mayport Venture Partners LLC, Rice applied 100 percent of his attention, energy, and effort to every undertaking—business, community service, or running a marathon.

A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Rice moved to Florida as a child, and the state remained his home for the rest of his life. He held the distinction of membership in the first graduating class of Orlando’s Edgewater High School, which was followed by service in the U.S. Army, an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami, graduate study at Louisiana State University’s Banking School of the South, an MBA from Rollins’ Crummer Graduate School of Business, and further study at the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.

Dianne and Charles Rice

Dianne and Charles “Charlie” Rice at the dedication of the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center

While Rice was earning recognition in the world of finance, he was also giving back to his communities. He served as a trustee of Winter Park Memorial Hospital and a director of Loch Haven Art Center (predecessor of the Orlando Museum of Art), president of the Jacksonville Metropolitan YMCA, and chairman of The Florida Council of 100, among other volunteer leadership roles. He was also a founding co-chairman of Take Stock in Children, a nonprofit organization providing college scholarships and mentors to at-risk children in Florida.

A particular passion was education. In addition to involvement as a trustee of the University of Miami and a director of Jacksonville’s Bolles School, Rice devoted substantial service to Rollins, including election to the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, inaugural chairmanship of the Crummer Board of Overseers, and 33 years as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees, with three terms as chairman and three years as chairman of the record-breaking fundraising effort The Campaign For Rollins.

Coupled with the gifts of time and experience were generous contributions in support of the College’s annual fund and priority facilities. Rice and his wife, Dianne Tauscher Rice ’61, provided funds for the Rice President’s Dining Room in the Cornell Campus Center and the award-winning Charles Rice Family Bookstore and Dianne’s Café.

His alma mater recognized Rice with the Rollins Decoration of Honor in 1972, the Alumni Achievement Award in Banking and Finance in 1983, induction into the Crummer Alumni Hall of Fame in 1987, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1998. The Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida named him a Champion of Higher Independent Education in Florida.

Describing the importance of supporting Rollins, Rice once stated, “For anyone who has ever experienced Rollins, no explanation is necessary. Our society is in dire need of leadership. And Rollins is a place capable of preparing our future leaders.” Rollins has lost one of its notable leaders, but Charles Rice’s legacy of service, advocacy, and support remains to inspire generations of Rollins students and future leaders.

President Rita Bornstein, Charlie Rice, Dianne Rice, and Barbara Lawrence Alfond

President Rita Bornstein ’04H ’04HAL (l) and Barbara Lawrence Alfond ’68 (r) with Charles and Dianne Rice during the celebration of the Charles Rice Family Bookstore & Café

Dan Rice, Julie Rice, Charles Rice, Dianne Rice, Celeste Rice Donovan, Michelle Rice Mitchell, and John Donovan

The Rice Family prepares to cut the ribbon dedicating the Rice Family Bookstore & Café (l to r): Dan Rice, Julie Rice, Charles Rice, Dianne Rice, Celeste Rice Donovan, Michelle Rice Mitchell ’91, and John Donovan

Rollins Presidents Remember Charlie Rice

“My first day in the presidency was a Sunday and I went to the College to review some paperwork. There was a knock on the window of the president’s office. It was Charlie, asking to come in to introduce himself. We were friends from day one.”
—Jack Critchfield ’78H
President 1969-1978

“During my dozen years of administration, Charlie was part of almost every major decision on behalf of the College, and his clear-eyed and practical vision steered the institution to new heights. Rollins was so lucky to have his leadership and loyalty.”
— Thaddeus Seymour’ 82HAL ’90H
President 1978-1990

“Charlie worked tirelessly to help strengthen Rollins’ financial position and academic excellence. He was fun, focused, and forward thinking—a perfect alumnus, friend, and trustee.”
— Rita Bornstein ’04H ’04HAL
President 1990-2004

“His candor was refreshing and his business sense was unparalleled. Together with his sense of humor and genuine affection for Rollins, these qualities combined to make Charlie Rice a lifelong standard bearer for the College.”
— Lewis Duncan
President 2004-