Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is pleased to welcome retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Frances Presley Rice as a new member of the Mote Board of Trustees.

LTC Rice grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and served in the Army for 20 years, retiring as a lawyer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Subsequently, she worked for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation as a government contract advisor on the law of space exploration.

“A visit to Mote’s aquarium and learning about their dedication to preserving the oceans through research sparked my keen interest in Mote when my husband, Peter, and I relocated to Sarasota over two decades ago after he retired from the U.S. Department of State,” said LTC Rice. “Peter and I are delighted to be part of the Mote family to contribute to their continuously growing research and outreach efforts.”

Mote’s Board of Trustees supports the Lab in its mission of advancing marine science, education and outreach. This support includes guiding strategic Lab-wide initiatives and serving as a pillar to the creation of the new Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA). LTC Rice added, “The new Mote SEA will ensure access to marine science and STEM learning for students of all ages, including cultivating young African American leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

“With her impressive professional experience and accomplishments at the highest levels in a diverse matrix of government, military, non-profit community engagement and scholarly research, as well as her personal character blend of dedication to service, positive energy, gracious charm and giving spirit, we are fortunate to have LTC Rice as our newest Trustee and member of our Mote family,” said Mote President & CEO Dr. Michael P. Crosby. “Prior to joining our Board, LTC Rice had already embraced our innovative science education mission and vision of Oceans for All, especially with her actions to help us expand upon on our nationally-recognized initiatives for increasing diversity in the marine science, technology and engineering workforce.”

LTC Rice is also an author, screenwriter and co-founder of the non-profit Yocum African American History Association which has built a legacy of educational resources about black history, providing historical milestones that prove that black history is American history. In recognition of her accomplishments, the Governor and First Lady of the State of Florida recently invited her to attend a reception in honor of Florida’s 2022 Black History Celebration at The Governor’s Mansion.