BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Kelley School of Business alumni Derica Rice and Robin Nelson-Rice want to give more minority students the same opportunity they credit with helping launch their successful careers at Fortune 500 companies.
The couple, who met as MBA students at the Kelley School in Bloomington before graduating in 1990, have since offered exceptional leadership and service to the university and the state of Indiana. Robin and Derica Rice are making a gift of $1 million to support students who are MBA students at the Kelley School and fellows of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. Better known as The Consortium, the national organization co-founded by the Kelley School in 1966 enhances diversity in business education through merit-based support and mentoring for African American, Hispanic and Native American students.
"We are honored and grateful to Derica Rice and Robin Nelson-Rice for this generous gift that will provide invaluable opportunities to our students and help Indiana University in its mission to strengthen diversity and ensure IU is welcoming to all," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "The Rice family's long history of service to IU and the state is exceptional, and we will always be appreciative of their extraordinary support and commitment to IU."
The Rices' gift creates the Rice Consortium Fellows program to enhance diversity and inclusion at the Kelley School and help its Full-Time MBA Program continue to attract many of the best and brightest underrepresented students. Their generosity will support annual fellowships for two first-year Consortium students and two second-year Consortium students, who will be referred to as Rice Consortium Fellows. The couple credits their Consortium fellowships with opening critical doors for them, and they wish to do the same for other deserving minority students.
"The Consortium's 30 by 30 strategic initiative is the primary driver of our current strategy," Consortium Executive Director and CEO Peter J. Aranda III said. "The initiative calls for each member school to attain an underrepresented minority enrollment of 30 percent within their full-time MBA programs by the year 2030 -- a figure that is more consistent with U.S. population demographics. This generous gift from Derica Rice and Robin Nelson-Rice will assist the Kelley School and The Consortium with fulfilling this objective.
"At The Consortium, we are extremely grateful to the Rices for their long-term support of and demonstrated commitment to our mission."
The Kelley School will also continue to support The Consortium's annual Orientation Program and Career Forum in honor of Derica Rice and Robin Nelson-Rice.
"We are deeply grateful to Robin and Derica Rice for their generous support of this journey," said Idalene "Idie" Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. "Their gift is a wonderful example of 'paying it forward.' The opportunities their gift provides to future business leaders -- the gift of education -- produces benefits far, far greater than one program or school or university. It is the gift that benefits entire communities.
"We have long recognized the importance of raising awareness of the benefits of diverse learning environments and promoting an environment that is respectful and supportive of all. We recognize we have more work to do, yet at the same time, we are excited about our journey and hope these new scholarships stimulate others to join us in promoting greater diversity, equity and inclusion."
Since earning his MBA from Kelley, Rice has spent more than 30 years as a health care executive, including a 27-year career at Eli Lilly and Co. He most recently served as the executive vice president of CVS Health and president of CVS Caremark, the company's pharmacy benefits management business. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the Walt Disney Co., Target Corp. and Bristol Myers Squibb Co.
Rice was also a trustee of IU from 2007 to 2016. He serves as a founding member of the IU Black Philanthropy Circle, the university's first affinity-based giving circle that formulates programs and policies to enhance engagement and philanthropy in higher education to support Black alumni, faculty, staff, students, donors and allies.
Nelson-Rice, a native Hoosier, likewise has enjoyed a fulfilling career, including executive positions in marketing at Eli Lilly and AT&T. She is a philanthropist and volunteers on a variety of community boards and institutions, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Women's Fund of Central Indiana.
This gift counted toward the $3.9 billion campaign, For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.
In the mid-1960s, Kelley partnered with business schools at Washington University of St. Louis and the University of Wisconsin to establish The Consortium, with a goal of recruiting more African Americans into MBA programs. A 1963 report found that not one African American was then employed in a management position at a Fortune 500 company. Out of 12,000 students enrolled in MBA programs across the country that year, only about 50 were African Americans.
More than 900 Consortium students have earned MBA degrees from Kelley since the organization's inception. Several alumni, including the Rices, have advanced to top management roles at leading American firms, such as Nike, Starbucks and ConAgra. In the past decade, the Kelley School has successfully recruited more than 200 Consortium students. Nearly 600 students enroll annually in MBA programs at 20 other member universities.