Three questions for Joe Rice
The new Alumni Association representative to the Board of Trustees discusses his hopes for and commitment to the University.
December 11, 2018
Joe Rice’s Metropolitan State University of Denver education has led to a successful career and a steadfast commitment to the University and to student success. Rice (’89), a past recipient of the MSU Denver Alumni Association Community Service Award, was recently named Alumni Association Representative to the Board of Trustees. The role will allow the proud alum to continue advocating for Roadrunners and for increased investment in the University.
In addition to his new role, Rice serves as director of government relations for Lockheed Martin Space and is a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, having completed five combat tours in Iraq and one peacekeeping tour in Bosnia. Additionally, he is a former member of the Colorado State House of Representatives and a former mayor of the City of Glendale. His wife of 28 years, Kendall (’89), is also an MSU Denver graduate.
Rice talked with the Early Bird about why he’s proud to be a Roadrunner and how he hopes to serve the University as a Trustee.
How do you hope to positively affect MSU Denver students — as well as faculty and staff — as alumni representative?
The 90,000-plus MSU Denver alumni around the globe are already a powerful force in their professions and communities. We’d like to provide opportunities for alumni to reconnect with the University — both for the networking and social aspects that this community provides, but also so alumni can support current students and the institution.
For any number of good reasons (including the fact that most MSU Denver students are working as students), MSU Denver alumni don’t tend to have the same level of connection to the University that alumni from most other universities do. This translates into lower levels of support for MSU Denver in state funding and in alumni providing mentoring and other opportunities for current students. We hope to change this.
Why is it important to have an alumni voice and perspective on the Board of Trustees?
Every one of the current and past Trustees I have known has been fully dedicated to MSU Denver and has moved our University forward. MSU Denver has been groundbreaking in so many ways the last few years due to the leadership of President Stephen Jordan, Ph.D.; President Janine Davidson, Ph.D.; and the Trustees. But only a handful of these leaders have been MSU Denver alumni themselves. Alumni bring a perspective that no one else has.
What do you value most about your MSU Denver student experience, and why do you remain invested in the University’s success?
MSU Denver saved me and launched me into my professional career. I was a transfer student and had to take a semester off to work. I was also under a deadline to complete my degree or risk my opportunity to go on active duty as an Army officer. Because of the individualized attention I received at MSU Denver and the flexibility in coursework, I caught up, graduated on time and went on active duty. A lot of MSU Denver has stayed with me in the many years since graduation, including my wife.