In Memoriam: Roger Rice

Roger Rice

The CADC family is heartbroken over the loss of Roger Rice, who passed away April 19, 2020.

Roger Rice discovered his purpose early in life, while he was studying building science at Auburn University. He hoped to one day return to his alma mater and inspire a new generation of students in the same way that his professors had kindled enthusiasm in him. After a lengthy career in industry that took him across the country, he returned to Auburn in the fall of 2017 as adjunct faculty in the McWhorter School of Building Science. He had checked off the “bucket list” wish to become a teacher, but his impact on the lives of students had just begun. He would go on to obtain a Senior Lecturer position within the school in January 2019.

Few were more engaged in the building construction program than Roger. He was the first to arrive, spent immeasurable amounts of time assisting students with their course work, and always had time for everyone. He often spoke of how his time and money were not his own, but rather a practical means to serve those around him. From the smallest touch like learning the names of every student in his often-large classes, to writing a personal check for the materials needed to complete a student service project, he was a man of generosity and action.

Roger never met a stranger. As a building science faculty member, he made meaningful connections with everyone he met. APLA Associate Professor Emeritus Scott Finn shared, “I could tell that he would be one of those teachers who cared deeply about the students and would help them to succeed, first and foremost. This was not about his own academic advancement, not about publications or P&T, but about teaching, teaching individuals, and sharing with those students the things about which he was passionate.”

As one student put it, “The world lost one of the greatest men I have ever known. Professor Rice taught me so much more than what he was paid to teach. He shared life lessons, stories, knowledge, and was always available to talk if we needed advice about anything. He knew every Building Science student by name, and loved them for who they were. He represents all things that the CADC strives to be, and never asked for recognition because of it.”

For those who had the honor of knowing Roger Rice personally, his passing cuts deep. Yet in these difficult moments we are reminded that we are members of the Auburn University family. The Auburn Creed meant much to Roger, who truly lived Petrie’s words: “I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all…And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.”

Roger’s tenure at Auburn was short, but his legacy will live on for years to come.

May we all strive to be half the person he was.

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