After leading police during the Cedar Fest riots and regulating campus parking, MSU police Assistant Chief Mike Rice is leaving his beloved department to pursue his other passion: financial advising.
Rice, an MSU alumnus, enjoyed a retirement party with a group of about 100 friends, family and fellow officers Thursday at Kellogg Center after 43 years, four months and seven days with the MSU Police Department. Rice will begin part-time financial advising Monday.
“Walking away from this career is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Rice told a crowded room as his voice cracked and he fought back tears.
The party included two presentations by the MSU Police Honor Guard and framed letters of gratitude from Gov. Rick Snyder and the state of Michigan.
Family and fellow officers, such as Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth and MSU police Chief Jim Dunlap, praised his cool demeanor in tense situations.
“It’s very tough shoes to fill,” MSU police Lt. Matt Merony said. “Mike is just always there when you need him (and) his door is always open.”
Dunlap said Rice’s departure feels like a member of the family is leaving.
“A lot of people can make one big case, one big arrest,” Dunlap said. “Mike was there everyday.”
Dunlap said the position of assistant chief will not be filled to save resources for the department.
Rice’s previous duties will be split between two deputy chiefs.
Fred Poston, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and former vice president of finance and operations, said he will miss Rice’s dry humor the most, but will remember him for all of his hard work for the department and the university.
Poston and other attendees said Rice has been a constant worker, a mentor, a financial guru and a calm mediator.
Rice gave a note of advice as he said his final goodbye to the department.
“It’s important to understand the university doesn’t happen by magic,” he said. “Anyone that goes to this school is very fortunate.”