DMACC community mourns loss of Professor Lauren Rice

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Professor Lauren Rice, longtime member of the DMACC English Department and coordinator of the DMACC London Study Abroad Program, was killed Sunday morning by a hit-and-run driver in the Beaverdale area of Des Moines. Photo courtesy DMACC

DMACC English Professor and London Study Abroad Program Coordinator Lauren Rice (front row, far left) led the group together with DMACC Carroll Campus English and History Associate Professor Bethany Sweeney (front row, second from left). Students in the group were (pictured front row, third from left to right) Rachel Geyer, Newton (Newton Campus), Eric Spenceri, Des Moines (Ankeny Campus); Josie Coates, Indianola (West Campus); Bhattarai Bidhya, Des Moines (Urban Campus); Zoey Chumbley, Grimes (Ankeny Campus); Parker Walden, Nevada (Ames Hunziker Center); Rebekah Johnson, Carlisle (Ankeny Campus); Talissa Vegas, Des Moines (Ankeny Campus); and (back row, left to right) Grace Carlson, Urbandale (Ankeny Campus), Olivia Rowling, Des Moines (Ankeny Campus), Carlos Valle, Carroll (Carroll Campus), Ethan Jorgensen, Urbandale (West Campus), Spencer Swanson, Bondurant (Ankeny Campus), Aspen Winey, Carroll (Carroll Campus); Seth Franklin, Altoona (Ankeny Campus); Aubree Klug, Grimes (Ankeny Campus); Dakota Egenes, Hawarden (Boone Campus); Jeff Helgren, Dallas Center (Ankeny Campus); Nathan Dittmer, Grimes (Ankeny Campus); Aniyah Loftus, Vancouver, BC (Boone Campus); Cheyenne Wray, Waukee (West Campus); and Maddy Buys, Prairie City (Ankeny Campus). Not pictured was Samira Sayeed, Des Moines (Ankeny Campus). Photo courtesy DMACC

ANKENY, Iowa — The DMACC community is mourning the loss of Professor Lauren R. Rice, 38, a longtime member of the DMACC English Department and coordinator of the DMACC London Study Abroad Program. Rice was killed along with her dog, Holiday, when they were struck Sunday morning by a hit-and-run driver 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 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.

“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,” said DMACC President Rob Denson. “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.”

DMACC Newton Campus Provost Dr. Joe DeHart said Rice was an exceptional teacher with “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.”

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