Derica Rice, former Executive Vice President of Global Services and Chief Financial Officer at Eli Lilly and Co., was born and raised in Decatur. An advocate for education, Rice gave the Foundation a $250,000 scholarship endowment to benefit two Austin High School students. When asked about growing up here, Rice responds, “It’s who I am.” Rice went to Somerville Road Elementary through 5th grade, and then to Brookhaven and Austin High School, where he finished in 1983. “No matter where I travel, it’s who I am,” Rice says. “Home is always in my heart.”
Rice credits much of his success to educators who continued to nudge him throughout his early years to not give up and “be who you are.” He says several of his teachers had high expectations of him and said he was not allowed to fail, even after losing his dad at a young age. After much success in the business world, Rice wants to provide that "nudge" to other students and help them reach their potential.
Regarding the annual scholarships, Rice says he doesn’t expect it to change anyone’s life. But he does hope it becomes that one more nudge along the way, combined with other nudges, that helps make a difference.
“That would be very similar to what I was able to glean from growing up in Decatur,” Rice says. “I would just like to be one of those small pushes along the way. My goal is to nudge as many as I can. This scholarship is just a start.”
To learn more about The Rice Scholarship, please contact Austin High Guidance Counselor Catrena Jackson at (256) 552-3071 ext. 6424.
Austin High School