Rice House is named after Edmund Rice, the founder of the Christian Brothers. The Christian Brothers transformed orchards in Forest Hill into a school and called it St. Thomas More College. This school operated from 1968–1979, and is now the site of Emmaus College (Vermont South).
Edmund Rice was born in 1762 in county Kilkenny, Ireland. Following his early education he moved to Waterford where he was apprenticed to his uncle, Michael, who supplied the numerous shops located near the port. Edmund eventually succeeded his uncle and became a prosperous businessman. He married in 1785 and a daughter was born to the marriage but soon after his wife died in 1789. Edmund cared for his daughter with the support of his step–sister, Joan.
Rice devoted his life to prayer and charitable work, particularly with the poor and marginalised. Edmund viewed education as a priority. After much discernment and seeing the lack of Christian education among the boys of Waterford, Edmund commenced his great work of Christian education. Two religious congregations, the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers, developed from the foundation which he laid in 1802. Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers schools around the world continue to follow the system of education and traditions established by Edmund Rice.
Edmund led the Brothers for many years before dying in Waterford in 1844. Edmund Rice had a spirituality that was strong and practical; he was forever caring of the poor. In 1996, he was declared “Blessed” by the Church – the first step in the Catholic Church towards sainthood.