Nuclear pharmaceutical expert, champion of academic excellence, and devoted friend of the University
Dr. Rodney Ice, a trustee emeritus and devoted friend of the University whose endowment continues to fund student scholarships and faculty salaries, died Thursday, October 6, 2016, at age 79 after a long illness.
Dr. Ice, who held a pharmacy degree from the University of Washington and MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University, was nationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of radioactive drugs and a leader in nuclear pharmaceutical education. His academic career led him to faculty and research positions at universities in four states, but even as he spearheaded life-saving research across the US, he remained committed to Cairn and its efforts to make a biblical education affordable for students of all backgrounds. His major gifts supported student scholarships, faculty salaries, and other critical university needs.
“Rod Ice was a source of personal and professional encouragement to me as a young dean in the 1990s,” says Cairn President Todd J. Williams. “Having served in a similar capacity himself during his career, he understood the challenges I faced and was able to help me help the school as a relatively untested academic leader. He has long been instrumental in ensuring that the University marries a commitment to academic excellence with biblical integration. Rod had been a strong supporter, advocate, and advisor for the development of new programs, as well as as for ensuring the high quality of faculty. He is an example to us all of giving of his time, talents, and resources to further the mission at Cairn University.”
A native of Olympia, WA, Dr. Ice began his career after graduating from University of Washington in 1959, opening a community pharmacy in a suburb of his hometown. Within a few years, he pursued graduate education at Purdue University, where he earned MS and PhD degrees in 1965 and ’67 respectively. During his first professorship at Temple University, Dr. Ice attended church with Dr. Clarence Mason, who encouraged Dr. Ice and his wife to take evening classes at Cairn. Immediately impressed with the University’s biblical worldview approach to education, Dr. Ice maintained that enthusiasm for Cairn throughout his life and showed a deep commitment to expanding the University’s offerings of degrees and majors and never failing to press forward toward greater academic excellence.
In subsequent positions at universities nationwide, Dr. Ice’s research led to numerous advances in radioactive medicine, widely impacting nuclear pharmaceutical practice through more than 100 scientific or professional articles, over 160 papers presented at scientific meetings, 11 chapters co-authored for various scientific reference and textbooks, and a published book. He was also an influential educator, mentoring over 40 graduate students pursuing advanced degrees. In 2004, the American Pharmaceutical Association presented Ice with the William H. Briner Award in recognition of his significant contributions to pharmaceutical care within nuclear pharmacy practice.
For Dr. Ice, science and faith went hand-in-hand. “[He] always believ[ed] that the hand of God was self-evident in the study of science and medicine,” shares his family in his obituary in The Oklahoman. In addition to his professional influence, Ice also served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher for many years, as well as an active member of Gideons International. He and his wife have a long history of generosity to Christian causes across the US, reflecting their love of Christ and loyalty to the spread of the gospel.
Dr. Ice was a member of the University’s Board of Trustees from 1971 to 1980 and from 1994 to 2008 and served as a trustee emeritus until his death. He served as chairman of the board from 1996 to 1997.
“Dr. Ice’s contribution to Cairn’s Board of Trustees cannot be underestimated,” says Dr. Sherrill Babb, chancellor and former president of Cairn University. “Dr. Ice was a man of few words, but when he spoke, his board colleagues listened intently to his wisdom and counsel. Dr. Ice strongly supported the decision to add graduate education to the University’s offerings. Later, in 1999, he was a significant trustee leader to press for achieving university status with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. We fondly remember his godly character, his insistence on striving for excellence, and his goal to accomplish all for the glory of God.”
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