Condoleezza Rice, early years and career bio


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Condoleezza Rice



November 14, 1954 Birmingham, Alabama to Reverend John Wesley Rice, Jr., a Presbyterian minister, and to mother Angelena, a high school teacher.

Condoleezza Rice in the Early Years

From the age of 15, she wanted to be a concert pianist. Like many creative people, however, she later realized that would not pay the rent so she would need a day job. That led to her getting a PhD in political science from the University of Denver in 1981. Presto -- Stanford University campusinstant day job -- she was hired that same year by Stanford University as an assistant professor. 

Most people don't realize that up until this time Condoleezza was still a registered Democrat. She finally  became a Republican in 1982, but even then she served as foreign policy advisor to Gary Hart two years later during the presidential primaries. A bit confusing. Anyway, by 1989 she was on the National Security Council of President Bush the elder, serving as an expert on the Soviets. Echoing her piano experience, this job had a fairly short life. The Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, and that same year she was back teaching classes at Stanford.

Condoleezza Rice in Recent Years

After four years as National Security Advisor to President Bush the younger, she became Secretary of State in 2004. This was a big job at a difficult time. Like most people, I expected another of the poor performances prevalent in Washington that had gotten us bogged down in the Middle East and elsewhere. She turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

There was one time Condoleezza was doing a flyby in Israel, a process which -- like many people's trips before and after -- was going nowhere. For whatever reason, the gates into and out of Gaza were locked again, causing hardships for families on both sides of the fence. She unexpectedly announced a halt to her public schedule, and instead worked to reach a resolution for the problem. OK, so that issue has resurfaced many times since then. Yet the thing that was so surprising about her trip was that a person in politics gave up photo opportunities to do some actual work which might help people. Who would have thought?

Now retired from the State Department, she is getting a well deserved rest back at Stanford. Thank goodness for that day job.

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