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Luther Rice Edit Profile

Treasurer , Baptist minister , Baptist missionary

Luther Rice , was a Baptist minister who, after a thwarted mission to India, returned to America where he spent the remainder of his career raising funds for missions and advocating for the formation of a unified Baptist missionary-sending body, which culminated in establishment of the Southern Baptist Convention.


Rice, Luther was born on March 25, 1783 in Northboro, Massachusetts, United States. Son of Captain Amos and Sarah (Graves) Rice.


Graduate Williams College, 1810.


He also raised funds to establish The Columbian College (now The George Washington University) in Washington, DC. He sailed to Calcutta, India on 18 February 1812 with Adoniram Judson as a Congregationalist missionary and met with English Baptist missionary William Carey. Also in 1814, Rice was awarded an honorary doctorate by then Baptist-dominated Brown University in partial recognition for his contributions to missionary work undertaken through his Baptist denomination. He spent the rest of his life garnering support for missionaries and Baptist work, traveling across America by horseback to raise funds and awareness for Baptist missions.

Rice also founded Columbian College in 1821, the original unit of The George Washington University (GW) in Washington, D.C. He served as the treasurer of Columbian College from 1826 until his death. The main administration building at GW, Luther Rice Hall, is named in his honor. He died September 25, 1836 at Edgefield, South Carolina while traveling through the Southern United States raising funds for the missions and seminaries that he founded.

He was interred at Pine Pleasant Cemetery, Saluda County, South Carolina. Although his life was not without controversy, Rice's contribution to the support of missionary work was invaluable in the early years of the Triennial Convention. During Rice's lifetime, the Triennial Convention's membership grew from 8,000 to 600,000, and the convention supported 25 missions and 112 missionaries.

By the time of his death, 15 Baptist universities and colleges had been formed. Luther Rice University originally founded in 1962 and located in Lithonia, Georgia, USA, was named after Luther Rice in recognition of his work in the Baptist missions and seminary education. Luther Rice was a direct descendant of Edmund Rice, an English immigrant to Massachusetts Bay Colony, as follows:\r\nLuther Rice, son of\r\nAmos Rice (1743 – 1827), son of\r\nJacob Rice (1707 – 1788), son of\r\nJacob Rice (1660 – 1746), son of\r\nEdward Rice (1622 – 1712), son of\r\nEdmund Rice (1594 – 1663).


Captain Amos Rice

Sarah (Graves) Rice