Bob and Joyce Rice
On May 25, 2022, Joyce and Bob Rice, longtime philanthropic leaders at Summa Health and throughout Northeast Ohio, were honored with the prestigious Summa Health Boniface DeRoo Award for Philanthropy.
The award, named for the unassuming Akron blacksmith who bequeathed his entire estate 130 years ago to create what is now Summa Health, is the highest honor given to Summa Health benefactors.
Cliff Deveny, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Summa Health, announced the award Wednesday night during Summa Society Celebration — the health system’s annual donor recognition dinner — at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.
“As devoted friends of Summa Health for many years, Joyce and Bob Rice have made a meaningful difference for our patients and families through a family legacy marked by transformational generosity, visionary leadership, and lifelong care and concern for the health and well-being of our community,” said Dr. Deveny.
Over 50 years ago, Bob Rice’s father, Robert Rice, an Akron businessman, suffered the first of three heart attacks and was rushed to Summa Akron City Hospital. Robert survived and credited his physicians and nurses for saving his life and helping him make a recovery. That experience started a lifetime connection for Joyce and Bob Rice to Summa Health.
Robert, and his wife, Hanna, donated funds to purchase cardiac monitoring equipment, providing a much-needed resource for the community. Hanna, along with Joyce and Bob, established an award in orthopedics in honor of the orthopedic surgeon who replaced Hanna’s hip and restored her quality of life.
The Rices have had a tremendous impact on cardiology care and education by helping to establish the first cardiology fellowship at Summa Health. Training the next generation of healthcare providers is a passion shared by Joyce Rice. As a skilled and compassionate clinical nurse educator, she helped train and inspire many physicians at Summa Health for more than 20 years.
Joyce and Bob participate today as volunteer leaders on the Summa Health Cardiovascular Leadership Council, leadership service that complements their remarkable generosity to the Summa Health Heart and Vascular Institute.
Other areas of patient care generously supported by the Rices include behavioral health, the chaplaincy program, stroke care and palliative care. They also provided meals for front-line caregivers serving in the COVID-19 vaccine clinics and labs on the Akron Campus.
The Rices join a distinguished group of past honorees including Pamela S. and Dr. Gary B. Williams (2021), the Women’s Board of St. Thomas Hospital (2019), the Women’s Board of Summa Health (2019), Yvonne and the late Richard M. Hamlin (2018), Vincent A. and the late Nancy S. DiGirolamo (2015), and Ann and the late David Brennan (2014).