Supporting Excellence in Education
Many things have changed on campus since Jack ('57) and Berneita (Morrison) ('55) Rice, of Lindale,Texas, graduated from Truman State University some 50 years ago, but their love for Truman and the Kirksville community has not."Truman was an amazing university in the 1950s, and it is an amazing university today--an institution focused on academics and preparing our future leaders," says Jack, reflecting on his alma mater. In support of Truman's focus on education, the couple contributed $25,000 to the newly established Truman State University Endowment Fund for Excellence.
Jack, a native of Kirksville, Mo., came to Truman because he was determined to get a college education and go onto professional school so that he could be "his own boss." During Jack's sophomore year, one of his professors, John D. Black, recognized Jack's passion and fascination for science and persuaded him to pursue medical school."I was a little nervous when I first arrived at medical school because there were students from Princeton, Harvard, and Yale, and many people had not heard of Kirksville, and I began to question whether I could compete, but I did fine--I was amazed," says Jack. In 1998, he retired after more than 30 years of practicing medicine in Mesquite, Texas. Since retiring, Jack has been involved with medical missions all over the world.
Berneita, who attended Truman because she received a band scholarship and because it was close to her hometown of Paris, Mo., loved school and knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher. "My parents passed away, and I did not have money to go to college. My band scholarship and campus job made it possible for me to go to college and to become a teacher," says Berneita, who is appreciative of the education she received at Truman."Because of my education, I was able to put Jack through medical school. Jack and I have had a wonderful life and a lot of it has to do with our education and experience at Truman." Most notably, Jack and Berneita met at Truman, and they look forward to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next June.
By supporting the Truman State University Endowment Fund for Excellence, the Rices helped create a permanent fund to sustain Truman's programming and activity needs.The couple also satisfied their desire to help the university that helped them. "You have to give to people and organizations that help you," says Berneita."Certainly Truman helped Jack and me--we are very blessed, and Truman played a part in that."