Congressman Tom Rice and long-time university employee Rannie Gamble will receive honorary degrees at Francis Marion University’s fall commencement on Saturday, Dec. 19.

Rice will also be the commencement speaker.

FMU expects to confer degrees to more than 300 graduates at the commencement. It begins at 10 a.m. in the Smith University Center on the FMU campus.

Congressman Rice was elected to serve the newly formed 7th Congressional District of South Carolina in 2012. He won re-election in 2014. The 7th District, which was formed after South Carolina gained an additional congressional seat following the 2010 Census, includes Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marlboro and Marion counties.

Rice, a Republican, sits on the House Committee on the House Ways and Means Committee and on the Oversight, Social Security and Human Resources subcommittees.

Prior to winning a congressional seat, Rice served as chair of the Horry County Commission.

Rice was born in Charleston, and grew up in Myrtle Beach. He earned his master’s degree in accounting and his juris doctor from the University of South Carolina. Rice began his professional career with Deloitte & Touche’s Charlotte office. In 1985, Rice returned to Myrtle Beach to practice tax law with the Van Osdell Law Firm, and in 1997 he established his own practice, the Rice & MacDonald Law Firm. From 1994 until 2009, he was certified by the Supreme Court of South Carolina as a specialist in Tax Law, Estate Planning, and Probate Law. He’s been included in Best Lawyers in America since 2006.

Gamble, the administrative manager/senior administrative associate for the FMU Provost’s Office, has been a fixture at Francis Marion University. She has served the university for more than 32 years. Gamble manages the general operations of the Provost’s Office, working very closely with department chairs, deans, faculty and students. She also oversees preparations for commencement exercises, distinguished faculty recognitions and other annual campus events. She is retiring in December.

Gamble earned the John J. Kispert Leadership Award in 2014 and the Outstanding Staff Service Award in 2000 from FMU. She attended Florence-Darlington Technical College and FMU.

South Carolina Congressman Tom Rice who represents the Grand Strand and most of the Pee Dee in Congress has been appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Ways and Means Committee is the chief tax writing committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to a post on the congressman's Facebook page:

"Today, I was named to the Committee on Ways and Means by the Republican Steering Committee.

I am honored to receive the appointment to this prestigious Committee. Serving on the Committee will allow me a larger role in advancing bold solutions to some of the most pressing issues our country is facing.

My focus in Congress has always been on jobs and American Competitiveness. Ways and Means plays a key role in increasing opportunity, creating jobs, and growing our economy.

With my experience as a tax attorney, CPA, and businessman for over 25 years, I believe I will be an effective advocate for the Seventh District, South Carolina, and the country on the issues Ways and Means oversees. I understand the challenges Americans are facing in relation to our tax code and am eager to work with Chairman Brady and my other colleagues to enact serious tax reform and restore America's competitiveness with the rest of the world."

Congressman Tom Rice spent Monday in Andrews visiting flooded-out homes and talking with victims and volunteers.

“It’s going to take time to recover,” stated Rice. ” It’s going to take time to even figure out the extent of the damages.”

Rice said he met people who’ve suffered great loss, but maintain a positive outlook.

The words, faith, love and hope are all that remain on the walls inside Thomas Allford’s home. Most of his belongings sit in trash bags or in a pile across the street.

” I tell you what, it’s hurting, it’s hurtful, but it’s reality,” said Alford.

Alford says he woke up the October 4 to water rushing inside his home.

“You’re scared, you’re just trying to get out as fast as you could get out,” he described.

After grabbing a few pieces of clothing, Allford and his wife Loretta left the home they had lived in for 39 years.

“We stepped off the steps, the water came up to the chest,” he said.

Alford says he’ll never forget that moment,  but the support from volunteers is even more overwhelming.

“We’ll figure out a way to thank them some how. every one of them,” he explained.

News 13 requested a copy of Congressman Rices’ schedule during the past two weeks. It lists him in Myrtle Beach October 2-4, which is when all of the flooding started. On October 5, he visited Conway and Georgetown to survey the damage. October 6- 9, Rice returned to Washington to vote on Crude oil market conditions, Native American Energy Act and Homebuyers Assistance Act. Voting records show Congressman Jim Clyburn and Congressman Mark Sanford did not vote.

Rice says he’s had members of his staff on the ground in South Carolina assisting with recovery.

Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07) will have his district staff in Johnsonville on Thursday to again assist constituents with flood-related needs.

During this meeting, Congressman Rice’s staff will be available to provide information and answer questions regarding FEMA's Disaster Declaration, how to apply for FEMA and SBA funding, types of resources available from FEMA and SBA disaster programs, and other resources for individuals and businesses following the flood.

The district staff will also be available to assist in replacing Social Security cards, passports, and other federal documents that may have been damaged or lost in the flooding.

For information, call the Pee Dee District Office at 843-679-9781.

The Johnsonville Mobile Office will be open from 10 a.m. until noon in the Johnsonville Public Library at 242 South Georgetown Highway.

Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07) announced today that his district staff will have mobile office hours over the next week to assist constituents with flood-related needs.

During these meetings his staff will be available to provide information and answer questions regarding FEMA Disaster Declaration, how to apply for FEMA and SBA funding, types of resources available from FEMA and SBA disaster programs, and other resources for individuals and businesses following the flood.

The district staff will also be available to assist in replacing Social Security Cards, Passports, and other Federal documents that may have been damaged or lost in the flooding. Those unable to attend can call or stop by either district office for assistance Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For directions and additional details, contact the Pee Dee District Office at (843) 679-9781.

OCT. 8: Georgetown Mobile Office, 9 -11 a.m., Georgetown Library, 405 Cleland Street

Conway, SC 29526

OCT. 9: Johnsonville Mobile Office, 10–noon, Johnsonville Library, 242 South Georgetown Highway

Congressman Rice’s Pee Dee District Office: 2–4 p.m., 1831 West Evans Street, Suite 300, Florence

OCT. 13: Marion Mobile Office, 2–4 p.m., Marion Fire Station, 107 East Bond Street, Marion