William Craig Rice—1955-2016

/ /

Long time friend of ALSCW, William Craig Rice passed away in June. We have included an excerpt from his obituary published by The Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University:

For nine years, Dr. Rice worked at the National Endowment for the Humanities and, before that, served as the 12th President of Shimer College, a great books institution in Chicago where, according to The New York Times, “books, not professors, are considered the teachers, and the path to learning relies on the Socratic method of discussion.” As an educator, Dr. Rice’s commitment was always to the humanities and arts, as well as to what, in an interview with the University of Michigan, he called “that neglected good thing.” Concerning his leadership at the NEH, Dr. Rice, who always sported a bow-tie, said, “I wanted to find causes that needed support, including unpopular causes like the great books, just as poetry needs support.”

Dr. Rice came from a long line of educators and devotees of the arts. His paternal grandfather, John Andrew Rice, founded Black Mountain College, once famous for its world-renowned arts faculty and as the home of the influential “Black Mountain Poets.” In 2014, with Mark Bauerlein, Dr. Rice edited the republication of his grandfather’s autobiography, I Came Out of the Eighteenth Century. A poet himself, Dr. Rice was known never to leave the house without an unfinished poem in his jacket pocket. Endlessly fascinated by humankind’s relationship with the natural world and the cosmos, Dr. Rice’s poetry was published in The New Criterion, The Satirist, and elsewhere.

Throughout his long scholarly career—as a lecturer or professor at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the American Enterprise Institute—Dr. Rice developed a professional reputation as a trenchant yet humane writer. Recipient of the Hopwood Writing Award and the Brubacher Prize in the History of Education while at graduate school at the University of Michigan, Dr. Rice published numerous scholarly articles, reviews, and essays. Nevertheless, after earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, Dr. Rice confessed to having “gotten fed up with disembodied academia.” He decided to work with his hands, apprenticing as an Alfa Romeo auto mechanic, and also working as a warden at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve and as manager of an antiques shop.

For the complete obituary, please click here.

Selected Works of William Craig Rice

I Came Out of the Eighteenth Century
by John A. Rice
Afterword by William Craig Rice
The University of South Carolina Press, 2014.

Public Discourse and Academic Inquiry
by William Craig Rice
Garland Publishing
January 1, 1996

“Who Killed History? An Academic Autopsy”
by William Craig Rice
The Virginia Quarterly Review
Autumn, 1995

“I Hear America Singing”
by William Craig Rice
The Hoover Institution
March 1, 1997

“Green” (Poem)
The National Review, February 12, 2014

“An Atheist’s Lament” (Poem)
The Satirist