DMACC Mourns Loss of Professor Lauren Rice

Posted 4/6/2020

​​The DMACC community is mourning the loss of Professor Lauren Rice, a longtime member of the DMACC English Department and coordinator of the DMACC London Study Abroad Program. Rice was killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking her dog on the morning of Sunday, April 5, in the Beaverdale neighborhood in Des Moines.

Rice taught English and literature courses on the DMACC Newton Campus for the past 10 years, as well as on the College’s Ankeny Campus earlier in her career. She also helped lead the annual DMACC Celebration of Literary Arts Festival, hosting events with award-winning authors on the Newton Campus. Rice recently returned early from England, along with fellow DMACC instructor Bethany Sweeney and 23 DMACC students who were participating in the DMACC Spring 2020 London Study Abroad Program. Just last week, she had emerged from a self-quarantine at home following her return.

Statement from Rob Denson, DMACC President

“We are incredibly saddened by the tragic and senseless loss of Professor Lauren Rice, who was a beloved member of our DMACC community and who impacted the lives of many DMACC students throughout the years. I knew Lauren best for her service as a DMACC Group Leader for English, and I always enjoyed her participation because you always knew when Lauren was in the room. She was very smart, and fought for her students and quality instruction. Those meetings will not be the same. On behalf of the entire DMACC family, I extend our deep condolences to Lauren’s family, friends, students, colleagues and all who knew her. We are mourning with you.”

Statement from Dr. Joe DeHart, DMACC Newton Campus Provost

“Lauren was an exceptional teacher and had a great passion for her students. She worked hard to help students understand and appreciate the English language, and realized the value of literature and writing in helping students make connections with the world around them. Her interest and passion for learning was infectious. While in London, her students learned about British literature while visiting actual settings of novels and the authors’ birthplaces and hometowns. Studying in England brought English novels to life for her students, and she delighted in witnessing their experiences. Lauren was also a wonderful, energetic and collaborative leader on our Newton Campus and across our larger DMACC community. Most recently, she was mentoring and helping other faculty transition to online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She believed very strongly in creating an inclusive and diverse atmosphere that welcomed all students, and her impact on their lives was profound. Lauren loved language and so often had just the right words, but we are simply at a loss to express how much she will be missed.”​​


For more information, contact​: Dr. Joe DeHart​,

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