"While we are saddened by his death, we want to celebrate the legacy Dr. Rice has left. Our story is one of community, of linking arms, minds and resources to overcome adversity. More than a half century ago, an institution of public higher education in Southwestern Indiana was only a dream. It took the perseverance of Dr. Rice and those around him to make this dream a reality. Never underestimate the power of an idea, how it can transform lives, and how it can propel a community. Dr. Rice knew this—and we celebrate and embody these tenets each and every day in all that we do."

– Dr. Ronald S. Rochon, USI president

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"When you get to the crest of one achievement, on the horizon are other challenging and invigorating opportunities. The whole thing has been like composing a piece of music, assembling the orchestra, then watching with satisfaction as the different pieces contribute harmoniously."

– Dr. David L. Rice
reflecting on his 27 years of service as president of the University of Southern Indiana

Remembering USI's Founding President

David L. Rice

The Man Behind the Beginning: Dr. David L. Rice, 1929-2020

Walking Dr. Rice's Path

The Visionary: Education for All

groundbreaking of Indiana State University-Evansville

Article from the 50th anniversary edition of USI Magazine

In his own words - quotes from Dr. David L. Rice

"I am deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Rice’s death. As the founding president, his dedication to USI’s development continued beyond his distinguished 27 years of service. We have lost a rare man. A visionary with amazing tenacity, he was an inspiration to me. My heart goes out to his wife Betty, and the entire Rice family."

– Dr. Linda L.M. Bennett
USI President 2009-2018


"Linda and I were fortunate to follow in the footsteps of two great leaders, Dave and Betty Rice. The 27 years of service they gave to USI set a positive tone, direction and culture for the university which time cannot diminish. We offer our sincere condolences to the entire Rice family."

– Dr. H. Ray Hoops
USI President 1994 – 2009

USI Presidents

President Emeritus David L. Rice, with President Emerita Linda L.M. Bennett and President Emeritus H. Ray Hoops at Dr. Bennett's inauguration, October 15, 2009.