Forum 2017: "An Unwavering Commitment to Opportunity"
Forum 2017: "An Unwavering Commitment to Opportunity"Maria Alcon-Heraux, Director, Communications
Not many people can say they affected the lives of 70 million students, but Lois Dickson Rice did. At this year’s College Board Forum opening plenary in New York City, Ambassador Susan Rice and John Rice accepted the College Board Medal of Distinction Award on behalf of their mother Lois Dickson Rice, who was known to many as the “mother of the Pell Grant.”
Ms. Rice spent several decades at the College Board and served as vice president of the Washington Office, where she played a critical role in the development, passage, and implementation of the Pell Grant Program in 1965, as well as other efforts to clear the path to higher education for underrepresented students.
“For me and for Johnny, my mom was the ultimate source of strength, of motivation, of inspiration, of clarity and compassion,” said Ambassador Rice. “The work you do is more important today than ever before, and I know my mom would be extraordinarily proud of the College Board today, of your leadership, and of the extraordinary work that you all continue to do.”
College Board President and CEO David Coleman promised to continue Ms. Rice’s incredible work. “For an African American woman at that time in our nation’s history, to have such an outsized force in the fate of this country, took a level of personal courage and tenacity,” said Coleman. “Since she has passed, it is even more incumbent on us to strengthen her vision.”
The panel during the opening plenary session, led by Steve Bumbaugh, senior vice president, College and Career Access at the College Board, also focused on three people that embody an unwavering commitment to opportunity: John B. King, Jr., former Secretary of Education and President and CEO of The Education Trust; Herbert Claiborne 'Clay' Pell IV, Practitioner in Residence at Brown University Swearer Center for Public Service and grandchild of U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island; and John Rice, CEO, Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT).
Mr. Rice, who leads an organization that equips African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans with the skills, coaching, and connections they need to lead, talked about his mother as his inspiration to leave the corporate world to help others.
“The College Board seeded for her the importance of focusing one’s passion and life’s work around impact,” said Mr. Rice about his mother’s career. “I want to thank the College Board because it put me on this path and it put my mother on this path.”