|An official portrait of Condoleezza Rice. Contrast enhanced from State department version to compensate for slight light overexposure|
Condoleezza Rice (pron.: //; born November 14, 1954) is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush. Rice was the first female African-American secretary of state, as well as the second African American (after Colin Powell), and the second woman (after Madeleine Albright). Rice was President Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term, making her the first woman to serve in that position. Before joining the Bush administration, she was a professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999. Rice also served on theNational Security Council as the Soviet and Eastern Europe Affairs Advisor to President George H.W. Bush during the dissolution of the Soviet Unionand German reunification.
Following her confirmation as Secretary of State, Rice pioneered the policy of Transformational Diplomacy, with a focus on democracy in the Greater Middle East. Her emphasis on supporting democratically elected governments faced challenges as Hamas captured a popular majority in Palestinianelections, and influential countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt maintained authoritarian systems with U.S. support. While Secretary of State, she chaired the Millennium Challenge Corporation‘s board of directors.
In March 2009, Rice returned to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. In September 2010, Rice became a faculty member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a director of its Global Center for Business and the Economy.
Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the only child of Angelena (née Ray) Rice, a high school science, music, and oratory teacher, and John Wesley Rice, Jr., a high school guidance counselor and Presbyterian minister. Her name, Condoleezza, derives from the music-related term, con dolcezza, which in Italian means, “with sweetness”. Rice has roots in the American South going back to the pre-Civil War era, and some of her ancestors worked as sharecroppers for a time after emancipation. Rice discovered on the PBS series Finding Your Roots that she is of 51% African, 40% European and 9% Asian or Native American genetic descent, while her mtDNA is traced back to the Tikar people of Cameroon. Rice grew up in the Titusvilleneighborhood at a time when the South was racially segregated.
Rice began to learn French, music, figure skating and ballet at the age of three. At the age of fifteen, she began piano classes with the goal of becoming a concert pianist. While Rice ultimately did not become a professional pianist, she still practices often and plays with a chamber music group. She accompanied cellist Yo-Yo Ma playing Brahms’s Violin Sonata in D Minor at Constitution Hall in April 2002 for the National Medal of ArtsAwards.
High school and university education
In 1967, the family moved to Denver, Colorado. She attended St. Mary’s Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, graduating at the age of 16 in 1971. After studying piano at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Rice enrolled at the University of Denver, where her father was then serving as an assistant dean.
Rice’s initial college major was piano, but after realizing she did not have the talent to play professionally, she began to consider an alternative major. She attended an international politics course taught by Josef Korbel, which sparked her interest in the Soviet Union and international relations. Rice later described Korbel (who was the father of Madeleine Albright, a future U.S. Secretary of State), as a central figure in her life.
In 1974, at age 19, Rice was inducted into the honor society Phi Beta Kappa, and was awarded a B.A., cum laude, in political science by the University of Denver. While at the University of Denver she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Gamma Delta chapter. She obtained a master’s degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1975. She first worked in theState Department in 1977, during the Carter administration, as an intern in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She would also study Russian at Moscow State University in the summer of 1979, and intern with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. In 1981, at the age of 26, she received her Ph.D. in political science from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Her dissertation centered on military policy and politics in what was then the communist state of Czechoslovakia.
From 1980-1981, she was a fellow at Stanford University‘s Arms Control and Disarmament Program, having won a Duel Expertise Fellowship in Soviet Studies and International Security. Her fellowship at Stanford began her academic affiliation with the University and time in Northern California.
Early political views
Rice was a Democrat until 1982, when she changed her political affiliation to Republican, in part because she disagreed with the foreign policy of Democratic President Jimmy Carter, and because of the influence of her father, who was Republican. As she told the 2000 Republican National Convention, “My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did.”
Rice was hired by Stanford University as an assistant professor of political science (1981–1987). She was promoted to associate professor in 1987, a post she held until 1993. She was a specialist on the Soviet Union and gave lectures on the subject for the Berkeley-Stanford joint program led by UC Berkeley Professor George Breslauer in the mid-1980s.
At a 1985 meeting of arms control experts at Stanford, Rice’s performance drew the attention of Brent Scowcroft, who had served as National Security Advisorunder Gerald Ford. With the election of George H. W. Bush, Scowcroft returned to the White House as National Security Adviser in 1989, and he asked Rice to become his Soviet expert on the United States National Security Council. According to R. Nicholas Burns, President Bush was “captivated” by Rice, and relied heavily on her advice in his dealings with Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.
Because she would have been ineligible for tenure at Stanford if she had been absent for more than two years, she returned there in 1991. She was taken under the wing of George P. Shultz (Ronald Reagan‘s Secretary of State from 1982–1989), who was a fellow at the Hoover Institution. Shultz included Rice in a “luncheon club” of intellectuals who met every few weeks to discuss foreign affairs. In 1992, Shultz, who was a board member of Chevron Corporation, recommended Rice for a spot on the Chevron board. Chevron was pursuing a $10 billion development project in Kazakhstan and, as a Soviet specialist, Rice knew the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. She traveled to Kazakhstan on Chevron’s behalf and, in honor of her work, in 1993, Chevron named a 129,000-ton supertanker SS Condoleezza Rice. During this period, Rice was also appointed to the boards of Transamerica Corporation (1991) and Hewlett-Packard (1992).
At Stanford, in 1992, Rice volunteered to serve on the search committee to replace outgoing president Donald Kennedy. The committee ultimately recommendedGerhard Casper, the Provost of the University of Chicago. Casper met Rice during this search, and was so impressed that in 1993, he appointed her as Stanford’s Provost, the chief budget and academic officer of the university in 1993 and she also was granted tenure and became full professor. Rice was the first female, first minority, and youngest Provost in Stanford history. She was also named a senior fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a senior fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution.
Former Stanford President Gerhard Casper said the university was “most fortunate in persuading someone of Professor Rice’s exceptional talents and proven ability in critical situations to take on this task. Everything she has done, she has done well; I have every confidence that she will continue that record as provost.” Acknowledging Rice’s unique character, Casper told the New Yorker in 2002 that it “would be disingenuous for me to say that the fact that she was a woman, the fact that she was black and the fact that she was young weren’t in my mind.”
Balancing school budget
As Stanford’s Provost, Rice was responsible for managing the university’s multi-billion dollar budget. The school at that time was running a deficit of $20 million. When Rice took office, she promised that the budget deficit would be balanced within “two years.” Coit Blacker, Stanford’s deputy director of the Institute for International Studies, said there “was a sort of conventional wisdom that said it couldn’t be done… that [the deficit] was structural, that we just had to live with it.” Two years later, Rice announced that the deficit had been eliminated and the university was holding a record surplus of over $14.5 million.
Special interest issues
Rice drew protests when, as Provost, she departed from the practice of applying affirmative action to tenure decisions and unsuccessfully sought to consolidate the university’s ethnic community centers.
Return to Stanford
During a farewell interview in early December 2008, Rice indicated she would return to Stanford and the Hoover Institution, “back west of the Mississippi where I belong,” but beyond writing and teaching did not specify what her role would be. Rice’s plans for a return to campus were elaborated in an interview with the Stanford Report in January 2009. She returned to Stanford as a political science professor and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution on March 1, 2009. As of 2012 she is on the Political Science faculty as a professor of political science and on the faculty of the Graduate School of Business as the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy, in addition to being the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.