Our People: Jimmy Rice

Jimmy Rice

For campus landscape supervisor Jimmy Rice, the reward of working with Mississippi State's lush grass and other natural scenery is the satisfaction of seeing a job well done. "It's just really good when you do your job, and it looks good. People come by and compliment it, and it makes you feel good," Rice said. The veteran master crew member has more than 28 years of experience carefully managing and maintaining even manicuring, one might say the acres of pure green grass that canvas the university from one end to the other like a natural soft carpet. Rice said he's seen a lot of changes to MSU's landscape during his career. The current landscape calls for a host of bedding plants, giving variety for every season and for every perspective of campus. Irrigation, equipment, and a host of other tools, such as fertilizers, are all part of a methodical effort to get the just-right results that mark the MSU environment. Rice manages a cycle of work to ensure that the north half of campus is mowed and otherwise properly maintained year-round. But he will be the first to point out a larger group effort among a team of dedicated employees. "You've got to have guys that really take pride in their work to make a campus look as good as this one. We have guys that really take pride in what they do," Rice said. Rice says he puts some of his professional knowledge to use in his own yard. A family man, Rice has been married to Starkville native Shavell Rice for 29 years, and they are parents of five children. He also happens to be an older brother to retired NFL star Jerry Rice. He says his career has allowed him the right balance of time between work, family, and his other career which he describes as more of a calling. He pastors Fourth Street M.B. Church in Columbus. Rice said the nature of landscape work allows him to multi-task in some ways. "I can be doing my job and meditating at the same time, reflecting on what I've already read," Rice said. "That's when I do my best work really."