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Hon. Walter Rice

Adjunct Professor of Law


School of Law


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Judge Rice was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, receiving a B.A. degree in 1958. He attended the Columbia University School of Law and received a Juris Doctorate degree in 1962. He also attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Business Administration and received a Master of Business Administration Degree in 1962. He received an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, from the University of Dayton, in 1991 and an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from the Wright State University in 2000.

Judge Rice began his law career as an Assistant County Prosecutor for Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1964. He left that position in June, 1966, and became an associate with the law firm of Gallon & Miller. In June, 1969, Judge Rice returned to the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office as its First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in charge of the Criminal Prosecution Division. He was elected Judge of the Dayton Municipal Court in November, 1969, and served in that position until July, 1971, when he was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County, Ohio. He was re-elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 1972 and in 1978.

On June 4, 1980, Judge Rice was sworn in as Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, at Dayton, having been appointed to that position by President Carter. Judge Rice served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio from October 13, 1996, to October 12, 2003.


B.A. Northwestern University, 1958
J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 1962
M.B.A., Columbia University Graduate School of Business Administration, 1962
Hon. LL.D., University of Dayton, 1991
Hon. L.H.D., Wright State University, 2000

Professional Affiliations

Founding Trustee, Aviation Heritage Foundation, Inc.
Trustee, Wright Dunbar, Inc.
Co-Chair and Member of Steering Committee of Dayton Dialogue on Race Relations
Co-Chairman, Montgomery County Ex-Offender Reentry Policy Board
Founding and Current Member, Board of Trustees, Montgomery County Volunteer Lawyers Project
Former and current member, Board of Directors, "Building Bridges"
Board member and Vice Chair, ISUS, Inc. (2004 to date)
Member of Homeless Solutions Policy Board
Co-Chair of Increasing Income and Connection to Services Committee of the Homeless Solutions Policy Board
Member of Economic Self-Sufficiency Outcome Team, Family and Children First Council
Board member, Wright Image Group
Board member, National Underground Railroad Museum, Freedom Center
Board member, American Cancer Society
Member, University of Dayton Law School Board of Advisors (1976 to date)
Dayton Urban Young Life, Board member
Restored Citizens Summit, Co-Founder & Board member


Supreme Court of Ohio Award for Outstanding Judicial Service, 1973, 1974 and 1976
Supreme Court of Ohio Award for Excellent Judicial Service, 1976 and 1977
Distinguished Service Awards Council Award as "Citizen of the Year" - 1977
University of Dayton School of Law Honorary Alumnus Award, 1982
Outstanding Jurist in Ohio Award by Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1986
"304" Big Brothers-Big Sisters Award, 1992
Public Official of Year Award, National Association of Social Workers, Ohio Region, 1992
Humanitarian Award from National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1993 (nka National Conference for Community and Justice)
Leadership Dayton Award for Leadership in Dayton Community, 1993
Carl D. Kessler Inn of Court Award of Merit, 1993
Dayton City Manager's Community Service Award - Top Volunteer, 1994
Thurgood Marshall Law Society, Distinguished Service Award, 1994
Paul Laurence Dunbar Humanitarian Award, 1996
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), President's Award, 1996
Greater Dayton Peace Bridge (Civil Rights) Hall of Fame
National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Mark of Excellence Award, 2001
Department of the Interior, Conservation Service Award, 2002
Dayton Area Board of Realtors, Marie Kendrick Fair Housing Award, 2003
Celebration of Diversity Award, College Hill Community Church, 2003
Wilberforce University, Tom Joyner Hardest Working Civil Rights Activist Award, 2003
Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, Presidential Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Delivery of Pro Bono Legal Services in Ohio, 2005
National Aviation Heritage Area, Ivonette Wright Miller Award, 2004
Kids Voting Champion of Democracy Award, 2005
Wright Dunbar Walk of Fame, 2007
The Rosa Parks Award presented by The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 2009
The American Board of Trial Advocates, Ohio Chapter, Professionalism Award, 2009
Miami Valley Trial Lawyers Association, Distinguished Jurist Award, 2004 and Lifetime Service Award, 2010
Dayton Urban League Diamond Award, 2009
Presidents Club of Dayton, Citizen Legion of Honor Award, 2011
Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame Community Service Award, 2011
Access to Justice Award, Distinguished Service Award, 2012
Mercy Manor, Sister Jean Foppe Visionary Award, 2013
Thomas J. Moyer Award for Judicial Excellence, 2014
Brother Raymond L. Fitz Award, 2019

Professional Memberships

Dayton Bar Association
Federal Judges Association