Gary Rice’s career in professional journalism began when he got his first paycheck for $15 on his 15th birthday. Before he got out of high school, he published more than 10,000 column inches of stories and photos in the local newspaper and then landed a fulltime job at the age of 16 at the largest newspaper in Kansas.
Over the next 22 years Gary was a reporter and editor at big city dailies in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Florida, covering everything from prison riots and rattlesnake hunts to shady politicians and crooked oilmen. He managed rock’n’roll bands on the side while serving as a night city editor in Austin, Texas, and conceived a musical project called “Trash, Twang and Thunder: Big Guitars From Texas” that led to a Grammy nomination. During this wild and wonderful time, he often worked with beginning reporters, developing a passion for teaching that led him to earn a Ph.D. in history at the University of Texas.
He has spent more than 20 years teaching college level journalism and history and in 2000, received the Society of Professional Journalists’ top national teaching award. During the 14 years he has taught at Fresno State University, his students have published professionally more than 2,700 stories before they graduated, and won eight awards for public service and investigative journalism while competing against pros. He was a Fulbright Professor for two years in China, won the California Newspaper Publishers Association lifetime journalism teaching award and created the Central California War Veterans Oral History Project. He has traveled to 41 countries.
He loves mountain hiking, and has summited more than 100 times over 14,000 feet in the U.S. and South America. He plays his rock’n’roll real loud while driving to the trailheads.