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 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.
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.
Judge Rice was the recipient of the Thomas J. Moyer award for judicial excellence in 2014.