From 2005 to 2009, Condoleezza Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the U.S. A member of the Republican Party, Rice was the first African-American to hold this post. As the nation's top diplomat, Rice dedicated her department to "transformational diplomacy," placing American diplomats throughout the Middle East — especially in areas of major turmoil. No stranger to the history books, Rice was also the first woman to ever serve as National Security Advisor, a tenure which lasted from 2001 until 2005. After her years of public service, Rice returned to Stanford University, where she'd already enjoyed a long and successful teaching career. She has published several books, including two autobiographies. Currently, Rice works as the Denning Professor in Global Business and Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She also serves on the boards of several companies and non-profits, including the Boys and Girls Club. In addition, Rice is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded eleven honorary doctorates, among her many notable recognitions.

In 1974 Rice enrolled in a graduate program at Notre Dame, which had one of the top international studies programs in the country. As an undergraduate, she focused on music but wanted to pivot towards global politics in her graduate studies. At Notre Dame, Rice's focus quickly became military strategy with an emphasis on the Soviet Union. Her advisor was George Brinkley, the head of the school’s government department and a leading scholar in the field of Soviet military. Rice's year of study at Notre Dame culminated in a research paper and a Master of Arts degree in government in 1975. Although she received all A’s, and much encouragement from the Notre Dame faculty, Rice decided not to pursue a doctorate degree at that time.

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

In 2017 Notre Dame lured Rice back to campus by awarding her an honorary monogram in recognition of her support of the university over the years. Previously, Rice was a member of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2001, before stepping down when she was appointed national security adviser. Prior to that, she was a member of the advisory council for Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. In 1995 Rice also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and was the principal speaker at Notre Dame’s University commencement ceremony. In 2001 she returned to campus again, this time joining President Bush on the platform during that year's commencement. As one of the institution's most accomplished alumni, her legacy continues to reflect the greatness of the Fighting Irish.