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Dr. Matthew Rice Named Director of Safety & Security

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Southwest Baptist University has announced that Dr. Matthew Rice will serve as the Director of Safety and Security, effective January 1, 2024.

Dr. Rice currently serves as an associate professor of Criminal Justice, and he will continue to teach and provide leadership to that program. He has previously served as an assistant district attorney in North Carolina and earned his juris doctorate (JD) from Regent University. He is licensed in both North Carolina and Missouri and still practices law on occasion.  

In his expanded role, Dr. Rice will explore ways to integrate the Criminal Justice program with the safety and security operations of SBU to expand learning opportunities for students. 

"As a student-first institution, the leadership at SBU is committed to providing our students with a safe and secure environment where they can focus on their studies and flourish in their relationships while on campus,” said Dr. Jonathon Woodyard, Vice President of Student Life. “At the same time, we want our faculty, staff, and guests to feel comfortable on campus and at various events. Our Safety and Security Office is critical to making this happen.”  

Dr. Woodyard also said that he was “thrilled to have Dr. Rice joining our team in this role and bringing his leadership experience, understanding of legal issues, and overall professionalism to the department. I'm excited to work with him to create an environment here at SBU that helps everyone succeed."  

Dr. Rice succeeds Mark Grabowski, who retired from SBU in the fall semester after more than 30 years with the university. Grabowski and Zeke Clawson, who also recently moved on from SBU after serving as assistant director, provided a safe and caring campus for thousands of Bearcats. The university is grateful for their service while looking forward to Dr. Rice’s leadership in continuing that tradition.