Congratulations to Donald Rice ’98, our 2021 recipient of the Alumni Service Award and newest member of the Crusader Service Hall of Fame!
Donald Rice ’98 is an attorney, but his true vocation is service. After graduating from Florida State University in 2002, Donald continued his education by earning his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2005. He began his law career as an Assistant District Attorney in Gaston, North Carolina in 2006 After witnessing numerous young offenders go through the criminal justice system, Donald began volunteering with the Gaston County Teen Court Program, helping to divert young first-time offenders. In addition, Donald helped train law enforcement officers to understand the legal issues that arise from their interactions with the public. And Donald also is an instructor for the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, providing continuing legal education for all Assistant District Attorneys in the state.
Donald joined his local Rotary Club in 2014 when they posted on Facebook about plans to develop a community garden. He has been seen as a strong member of the organization ever since and has been recognized for his contributions in several of their online and printed materials.
In 2015, Donald was elected as a commissioner for the Town of Cramerton. He serves as the Board of Commissioners’ liaison to the Community Committee, which fosters civic engagement, oversees the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, and recognizes residents with two community service awards: The Lifetime Citizen Award, and the Citizen of the Year Award. On November 3, 2020, Donald was elected as a North Carolina District Court Judge for District 27A, an election he won by a nearly 2:1 margin. This recent accomplishment further solidified his commitment to public service for the greater good.
Donald’s work in both local government and the community exemplifies the spirit of the En Christe Award, particularly in his service to youth and promoting education to strengthen the public good. It strongly follows in Christ’s footsteps, and his work is rooted in his faith. He is a parishioner at Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church in Belmont, N.C., and has two sons whom he is raising in the Catholic faith. When asked about the correlation between his faith and his work, he said “Faith has shaped my service. I have always had a mind for serving others (like Jesus). There has to be a shift from money-seeking to service, and this leads to spiritual growth. I often ask myself, ‘Am I making my community a better and stronger place?’ I can’t put my head on my pillow knowing without knowing I have done that.”