Condoleezza Rice, one of the most influential women in the world, was born on November 14, 1954, in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the first black woman to serve as the United States’ National Security Adviser, as well as the first black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State from 2005-2009. Rice was born to John Wesley Rice Jr. and Angelena. John Wesley was a football coach and high school counselor at one of Birmingham’s black public school whereas Angelena was a teacher and church organist. Condoleezza was named after an Italian word, con dolcezza, which mean ‘to play with sweetness.”
Rice attended St. Mary’s Academy, which was an all-girls catholic high school in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. She began playing the piano at the age of three and at the age of fifteen she began taking piano lessons in hopes of becoming a professional pianist. Along with the piano lessons, she also took French and Spanish lesson after school and later became a competitive figure skater. She attended the University of Denver in 1974 and earned a bachelors’ degree in Political Science. She got her master’s degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1975. She earned her doctorate in Political Science from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981. Rice was a fellow at Stanford in 1981, through which began her academic affiliation with the University. She was hired as an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University. Later in 1987, she was promoted to the job of associate professor.
During the time she was promoted as the associate professor, Rice spent a period in Washington D.C., working as an international affairs fellow attached to the Joint Chief of Staff. Brent Scowcoft who was the National Security Advisor was impressed by Rice and asked her to become his Soviet expert on the United States Security Council, in 1989. Rice returned to Stanford in 1991 and from 1993 until 1999 she served as Stanford’s Provost. In 1992-1993, Rice was on the board of Chevron, Transamerica (1991) and Hewlett – Packard (1992). Rice’s responsibility as Stanford’s Provost was to manage the university’s budget which at that time was running on a deficit of $20 million. Upon her promotion, Rice promised that within two years’ time the budget will be balanced. And two years later, Rice announced that the University was not running a deficit instead it was holding a record surplus of $14.5 million.
In 2000, Rice became the National Security Advisor, she was the first woman to occupy such a post and earned the nickname “Warrior Princess”. At that time she stepped down from her position at Stanford. She was appointed the National Security Advisor by President George W. Bush. Later, she became the nation’s first African America woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, the 66th in 2004. After becoming the Secretary of State, Rice expanded the democratic government and brought forward the idea of “Transformational Diplomacy”. The work of this “Transformational Diplomacy” was to distribute U.S. diplomats to areas of severe social and political trouble.
Rice’s Secretariat term ended in January 2009, after which she decided to write a book about her diplomatic career. Currently, Rice lives in an apartment complex in Washington known as Watergate and is known to be close to the ex-president Bush and his wife Laura.