William Rice

Full name

William Craig Rice

Presence at Shimer


Presence on Earth



Waukegan period faculty, Waukegan period staff

William Craig Rice (born 1955), often simply Bill Rice, was the president of Shimer College from 2004 to 2007, and arranged for the school's move from Waukegan to Chicago.

Rice was born in 1955 in Washington, DC. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Virginia, where his studies focused on English and American literature. He later earned a M.F.A. and doctorate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he won the Hopwood Writing Award and the Brubacher Prize in the History of Education. His publications include: Public Discourse & Academic Inquiry, a study in the sociology of knowledge; Characteristics of Exemplary Schools; a special edited volume of Harvard Review commemorating Seamus Heaney’s Nobel Prize; and more than fifty articles, reviews, essays, stories, and poems in such periodicals as The New Criterion, Policy Review, Sewanee, The Washington Post, and The Common Review: The Magazine of the Great Books Foundation. He has also worked as a mechanic for Alfa Romeo, warden at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, and manager of an antiques shop.

After his studies at the University of Virginia, he taught at the Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, at Temple University, and at the University of Pennsylvania, then undertook graduate studies at the University of Michigan. From 1992 to 2001, he taught expository writing on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he also edited non-fiction for the Harvard Review. While at Harvard he became involved in education reform as a consultant to the Massachusetts Board of Education, helping reshape the state's curriculum frameworks and assessment in English Language Arts. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and the American Enterprise Institute, an Ella Baker Fellow at Antioch New England Graduate School, a consultant to the John Templeton Foundation, and from 2001-2004 a staff member at the American Academy for Liberal Education, where he created new K-12 programs. He has been a consultant to the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, which offers an alternative route into the K-12 classroom for liberal arts college graduates and career-switching professionals, and to Achieve, which has launched the American Diploma Project to raise academic expectations in American high schools.

In 2004 he was appointed President of Shimer College, one of four accredited Great Books colleges in the United States, where he also served as Professor of English, Education, and Humanities. Amid controversy, on January 19, 2006, the Shimer College Board of Trustees announced that at his urging it had accepted an invitation to move the school to the Illinois Institute of Technology campus on the south side of Chicago. The move he engineered was completed August 19, 2006. Following a 25% decrease in enrollment and an increase in operational expenses, Rice abruptly left Shimer notifying the Board two weeks prior to a general staff announcement[1] to become instead head of the Division of Education Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities.

According to a press release issued shortly thereafter by the college, Ronald O. Champagne, a prominent Chicago leader in higher education, was named Interim President in Rice's wake. Chris Nelson, President of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, and Acting Chair of the Board of Shimer College, characterized this interim appointment as a fortunate choice, and in referring to Rice's replacement stated "We are incredibly fortunate to have a person of this caliber for our president, while we undertake the process of searching for a permanent president." [2]


External linksEdit

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