Norm Rice, ’72, ’74, settles into Seattle mayor’s office

Norm Rice

Town and gown merge in the office of Seattle’s new mayor, Norm Rice, who holds a UW bachelor’s degree in communications (1972) and a master’s degree in public administration (1974).

Born and reared in a middle­class family in Denver, Rice failed in his less-than-serious attempt to earn a degree at the University of Colorado. He moved to Tacoma in 1968 where, 26 years old and lacking a sense of direction in life, he enrolled at Highline Community College. A year later, despite an excellent record at Highline, the UW turned down his application for admission. Fortunately, the Equal Opportunity Program gave him another chance.

“There’s an old joke, ‘Lord help me over this fence and I’ll jump the rest,'” Rice said in a 1986 interview. “The EOP gave me that boost and I didn’t need anything else.”

Rice worked for the Urban League, the Puget Sound Council of Governments and Rainier Bank before being elected to the Seattle City Council in 1978, a post he held until becoming mayor last January. His wife, Constance, is also a Husky, having received a Master of Public Administration degree in 1970 and a Ph.D. in education in 1974.