Warden and Joanne Rice have huge hearts for the students in Warden’s home county of Webster. The Rices have made frequent trips from their Morgantown, West Virginia home to middle schools in Webster Springs, Cowen, and Diana to meet with secondary school students. Over the past seven years, those trips have been used to encourage students to complete high school and take sufficient college prep courses. As incentive they inform them of their $2,000 per year college scholarship program at Glenville State College and how they can apply.
The Warden and Joanne Rice Scholarship Loan Program is unique in many aspects. Foremost is the personal interest that the couple takes in each student. They meet personally with every middle school student in the county and the parents of the students are invited to attend a session once a year with the Rices so they can hear what the program has to offer their children.
Once students’ submit an application to be a Rice Scholar, Warden and Joanne schedule a visit to the students’ homes where they meet with their parents and siblings. “Some of the students will have a supportive environment at home that encourages college completion. Others may have a tougher road in front of them. We try to judge how much contact we will need to have with them over the four years to help in any way we can,” added Warden. In any case, the students will get regular phone calls from the Rices to check in on academic and social progress.
Importantly, the Rices have maintained the word ‘Loan’ in the program description because if a student fails to graduate from college, the $2,000 annual award is expected to be repaid into the fund so that future generations will have access to the money. The program also requires that the students stay on campus in college housing and hold a part time job to help pay for incidental expenses.
“We chose Glenville State College to administer this program, because Joanne and I both felt that a smaller, family type atmosphere would be much easier for Webster County students to adapt to,” said Warden. Though they had never been on campus, their research showed that Glenville State College’s location would make it easily accessible and its size would help the student adjust.
“Glenville State has so many programs that will give our students the opportunity to stay in central West Virginia and earn a good living wage,” said Joanne. She points to 2013 GSC Land Resources Department graduate, Scottie Elliott, who was immediately hired at Allegheny Surveys in nearby Birch River (Nicholas County) and directly placed in a team leadership role. “He is back home, making good money, and will raise his family here while contributing to the growth and success of the county,” added Joanne.
Warden is very clear on their goal for the program, “We want to make sure that any child in Webster County who wants to go to college should be able to. Joanne and I want to make sure that the financial help to make that happen will be there for generations to come.”
For more information about the Rice Scholarship Loan Program, contact Vice President for College Advancement and Executive Director of the GSC Foundation Denny Pounds at Dennis.Pounds@glenville.edu or (304) 462-6381.