Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Professor Tom Rice retired after many years as a faculty member and leader within the University of Iowa. 

Tom Rice has played an important role in our department, the university, and the state of Iowa during his career as a faculty member. He is one of only a few people who have been a faculty member at all three Iowa Regents universities (ISU 96-99; UNI 99-04; UI 04-retirement).

Tom served as chair of the department in the late 2000’s and was ahead of his time. He created the Department of Political Science Alumni Advisory Board and helped the department develop online courses, making us a leader in both areas today. Tom also served in the Provost’s office after being our chair and went on to be the Faculty Director of the University of Iowa’s John and Mary Pappajohn Educational Center in Des Moines.

When Tom returned to the department, he played an important role in our classroom to careers initiative, creating and teaching our careers course, engaging alumni, organizing career workshops, and helping students think about their career interests.

“Tom has been one of my role models as chair. He always saw solutions when faced with problems, identified new possibilities, and connected it back to the people that he led.” – Brian Lai

“We often think of him as a dapper, hardworking academic, administrator, and colleague. But he also has a range of quirky and fun hobbies and interests. In grad school Tom was an avid birder and ace darts player. Later, he got into collecting antique travel posters and brochures, along with “rice” canisters/containers of every conceivable variety. We miss his friendly smile and insightful observations in the hallways of Schaeffer Hall but hope to see him whenever he ventures back to Iowa City in the future.” – Ron McMullen 

“As a student, Tom came to the department via politics (having been an aide to Jimmy Carter) and fashion (having been a salesman in a men’s store). We immediately hit the research trail, and have co-authored eight peer-reviewed scholarly articles, beginning with “Presidential Popularity and Presidential Vote,” appearing in Public Opinion Quarterly in 1982. Our efforts culminated in a book, Forecasting Elections, published by Congressional Quarterly Press, 1992. That tome continues to be relevant, as underlined by my citing it yesterday, in another co-author paper. We accomplished much.”– Michael Lewis-Beck

Tom shares, Not many people get to go back, teach, and be the chair of the department where they received their PhD. When I first arrived there were still several professors who I had in graduate school, including my dissertation chair, Mike Lewis-Beck. Being able to serve alongside Mike in the department was a joy. One interesting fact, I did not have nearly good enough undergraduate grades to get into the Iowa PhD program. Nevertheless, I made an appointment to see Mike Lewis-Beck, then grad director, in December of 1979. He took a chance on me, and I’ve always been deeply grateful.”

We wish Tom the best in his new adventures as he retires from the University of Iowa!

Tome Rice Retires