Charles M. Rice, who last week became the first Nobel Prize winner to graduate from Rio Americano, is not the only famous alumnus of the Sacramento high school.
In fact, during his four years at Rio, Rice (’70), now a professor of virology at Rockefeller University in New York and winner of the 2020 prize for Medicine or Physiology, would have at least passed in the hallways three Olympic gold medal swimmers, a future U.S. Representative and a future Playboy playmate and girlfriend of Hugh Hefner.
This despite the fact that when Rice arrived as a freshman the school was only three years old, fields were mostly mud pits and some buildings were still under construction.
Here is a partial list of other notable alumni of Rio, compiled from Wikipedia:
Barbi Benton (1968) – Former Playboy Playmate and girlfriend of Hugh Hefner
John Bowker (2001) – outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Channing Dungey (1986) – American television executive and producer, First African-American to serve as president of ABC Entertainment Group.
Patty Fendick (1983) – professional tennis player
Mike Flanagan (1991) – former center for the Houston Texans and the Green Bay Packers
John Ferris (1967) – member of the 1968 Summer Olympics United States Swimming Team.
Jason Kamras (1991) – National Teacher of the Year, 2005
Goodwin Liu (1987) – Supreme Court of California Associate Justice and former UC Berkeley Law Professor
Linsey Marr (1992) – Environmental Engineering professor at Virginia Tech whose expertise on aerosols and virus transmission made her a frequently cited authority who appeared in major media news programs and columns during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trevor Matich (1979) – 12-year NFL lineman.
Debbie Meyer (1970) – three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
Doug Ose (1973) – Former Congressman who represented California’s 3rd congressional district from 1998 to 2004.
Jane Sibbett (1980) – actress best known for playing Carol Willick on Friends
Adrian Tomine – Cartoonist
James Leighman Williams (2003) – Olympic Silver Medalist – Fencing
John Daversa Renowned jazz trumpet player and three time Grammy Award Winner in 2019.