In April, Ursinus College lost a pillar of strength in its community—teacher, colleague, mentor and friend, the Rev. Charles Rice. To pay tribute to him and to continue his legacy, Ursinus has established the Rev. Charles Rice Memorial Scholarship, to be awarded to prospective students who have impacted diversity and inclusion in their schools and communities and who have succeeded in a rigorous high school curriculum.
Students who meet the criteria and who are selected for the scholarship are anticipated to receive awards of at least $33,000 per academic year, beginning with the Class of 2022.
“Rev. Rice was a caring and compassionate man who, for nearly two decades as Ursinus’s chaplain, challenged our students to be better people and to think about the world in ways they would not have otherwise,” Ursinus College President Brock Blomberg says. “This scholarship reflects his strength and character, and I can think of no better way to honor his legacy than to provide financial assistance to those in our community Rev. Rice loved and cared for the most—his students.”
Rev. Rice became chaplain at Ursinus College during the summer of 1997, serving the pastoral needs of the college community, overseeing the chaplaincy program and advising and counseling students. Countless students and alumni credit Rev. Rice with helping them find their life paths, as well as impacting their spiritual development.
He restored a Sunday worship program centered on diversity and pluralism and sought vitality for all faith groups on campus. Rice raised the level of theological discourse on campus with his vocational talks and programs and taught popular courses such as African American Religious Experience, which included a highly regarded spring break trip to sites of civil rights and social justice struggles.
After his passing, Jon Volkmer, a professor of English, said, “Charles Rice was the soul of integrity. He found the balance of empathy and rigor. His courses were tough…on the other side was his endless capacity to listen, sympathize, to change based on evidence. This is what brought an endless stream of students to the Main Street house where he lived.”
The Rev. Charles Rice Memorial Scholarship aims to reward forward-thinking and morally conscious students who reflect Rev. Rice’s character and share his passion for issues of social justice, equality and faith. —By Ed Moorhouse