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Condoleezza Rice Profile - Biography of Condolezza Rice, US Secretary of State


Condoleezza Rice Profile - Biography of Condolezza Rice, US Secretary of State

Courtesy U.S. Department of State

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Dr. Condoleezza Rice


66th U.S. Secretary of State under President George W. Bush


November 14, 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama


High School: St. Mary's Academy (single-sex Catholic school), Cherry Hills Village, CO. Graduated 1970.
Undergraduate: University of Denver, B.A. in political science, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. Graduated 1974.
Graduate: University of Notre Dame, M.A. in political science. Graduated 1975.
Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver, Ph.D. in political science. Graduated 1981.

Notable Achievement:

Rice is the first African American woman to hold the position of U. S. Secretary of State. She is the second woman to do so (Madeleine Albright was the first) and the second African American (behind her predecessor Colin Powell.)


Despite growing up in Birmingham, AL, the South's most segregated city, Condoleezza Rice was enriched by a family of three generations of college-educated members. The only child of John Rice, a Presbyterian minister and educator, and Angelena, a teacher, she was named after "con dolcezza," the Italian musical notation meaning "with sweetness". She lived in Titusville, a black middle-class neighborhood, where her cultured parents sheltered her from Jim Crow laws and helped her understand the larger world beyond Birmingham. Offered a job at the University of Denver in 1969, her father moved the family to Colorado.


Homeschooled until age 6, Rice was gifted musically and gave her first piano recital at 4. Living in a hotbed of unrest, she lost a young friend in the bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church.

The move to Denver brought the benefits of integrated education. At 15, she entered college where her life changed in a class taught by Josef Korbel. A former Czech diplomat whose daughter Madeleine Albright would become the first female Secretary of State, he became Rice's mentor and taught her to explain complex policies with clarity - an essential skill in the Bush Administration.

Previous positions:

Stanford University
Assistant Professor in Political Science 1981-1987.
Associate Professor 1987-1993
Provost 1993-1999
Professor 1993-present.

International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations
Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1986

George H.W. Bush Administration
Senior Director of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council
Special Assistant to the President for National Security 1989-1991

George W. Bush Administration
National Security Advisor 2001-2005
Secretary of State 2005-2008

Bush Administration role:

A trusted Bush family friend and the most academic of Bush's advisors, Rice's influence has been significant.

She is a skilled negotiator, leading the Russian negotiations over missile defense; convincing European diplomats not to lift an arms embargo over China; and working with Latin American countries to determine who would lead the Organization of American States. She provided steady support to Bush as he moved troops into Afghanistan and Iraq. Her discretion and success as National Security Advisor led to her appointment as Secretary of State.

Many see her as the most powerful Secretary of State in decades.

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