Written by Sarah Tudor
The Kimberton Community knew the late Rev. Charles Rice in his capacity as an enthusiastic KWS Parent, as a supportive Father to Roby and Martin, as the dedicated husband of beloved High School Faculty Member Tonya Rice, as an active volunteer, and as a powerful and dynamic speaker at events like the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Assembly. A charismatic presence in any room, Charles was known above all as an encourager—his great passion and warmth were larger than life, still shining brightly today in the many lives he touched. “Everything he did was out of love,” Tonya shared with me recently.
Charles went by many names, colleague, teacher, pastor, mentor, friend, and advocate. He had a rich history of positive public impact. He went to New York City public schools and is a 1979 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He received a Master of Divinity degree in Historical Theology from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School at Crozer Theological Seminary in Rochester, N.Y., and did his doctoral studies at Syracuse University. Charles worked tirelessly as the chaplain as well as an assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. Charles left a path of love and dedication as he held ministerial and teaching positions at Colgate University and Suffolk University. He also served as interim pastor at the Memorial Congregational Church in North Quincy, Mass., as well as pastor of the United Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass. He served on the National Council on Adoptable Children and the National Photo Listing of Children Waiting for Adoption. In addition, he worked with 100 Concerned Black Men as well as the Children’s Defense Funds’ Good Schools Initiative. Charles was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Wissahickon Charter School in Philadelphia, the Charlestown Playschool and the Board of Directors of the Phoenixville Area Positive Alternatives Group in Phoenixville, Pa.
Many students and colleagues at Ursinus College, where he served as chaplain starting in 1997, credited him with helping them find their life path and with greatly impacting their spiritual development. Charles was a magnetizing force in both school communities. He was passionate about education, specifically Waldorf education and helping to make it more accessible. It was clear that Charles made the most of his bold and passionate life in a way that few dare.
“Like Socrates, he was a gadfly in the best sense of the word, always challenging Ursinus to be its best morally, and always challenging students to be their best selves – intellectually rigorous, honest, and kind,” said Christian Rice, no relation, a former student who is now on the faculty.
The Charles Rice Fund
In response to the sudden loss of Revered Charles Rice in April of 2017, KWS established the Revered Charles William Rice Scholarship for diversity in his memory. The Scholarship, a needs-based fund to foster diversity, was established in May of 2017. During the live auction portion of the May event, attendees were given the opportunity to make a pledge and our caring community’s contributions that evening totaled $24,000. Since then, the scholarship has continued to be an important source of funding to further the cause of diversity at KWS.
“We continue to be moved by the generous support for the Rev. Charles Rice Scholarship,” says Editha Tendencia, Director of Development. “This fund continues to indicate what a positive impact Charles had on our community.”
“We have something special at KWS and this was yet another reminder of the incredibly supportive community which encircles our students and enriches all of our lives,” said Bill Wiedmann, a father of four children who attend KWS in addition to being the chair of the Board of Trustees at KWS.
If you would like more information or to make a contribution to this scholarship, please contact us at email@example.com