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Higher Education
Couple’s gift creates Rice Family Scholarship in Business
News Release
Monday, July 09, 2018

Business students at Lamar University have new opportunities thanks to the generosity of Rodney and Norma Rice whose recent gift to the Lamar University Foundation has created the Rice Family Scholarship in Business as “a way of saying thank you to a fine institution in the fabric of Southeast Texas.”

Rodney Rice Sr. graduated from Lamar State College of Technology in 1966 with a Bachelor of Business in Accounting, and became a Certified Public Accountant. He worked for Gulf State Utilities for more than seven years before and while attending Lamar, then served 10 years as a field agent with the Internal Revenue Service in Beaumont and Austin, advancing to senior levels.  He was recruited by Gulf Consolidated Services and worked as assistant vice president of operations for the company and its subsidiaries for more than seven years.

In 1983, he and his family formed Fitness Expo becoming one of the first entrants into the distribution of fitness equipment in the commercial and retail markets. His children, Rodney Jr. and Georgia, a 1983 LU elementary education graduate, were instrumental in marketing and growing the business. Georgia retired from the business, however Rodney Jr. remains as president and Rodney Sr. serves as CEO. The company maintains distribution locations in Metairie/New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Kenner, Louisiana as well as in Jackson, Mississippi.

The couple has supported LU for more than three decades. Both Rodney Sr. and Norma are members of the Mirabeau Society and President’s Circle. He served on the Lamar University Foundation Board of Trustees from 1992 to 1996, and on the College of Business Board of Advisors since 2013.

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