Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at Notre Dame

Author: Dennis Brown

Condoleezza Rice Feature 2

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Condoleezza Rice

“A Conversation With: Condoleezza Rice,” hosted by University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and featuring the 66th U.S. Secretary of State and Notre Dame alumna discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, women’s leadership, the 50th anniversary of women undergraduates at Notre Dame and collegiate athletics, will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday (April 28) in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business.

The event is free and open to the campus and broader communities on a first-come-first-served basis. It will be live-streamed at

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 by President George W. Bush. She served in that role for four years before becoming secretary of state in 2005. She was the first Black woman to serve as the nation’s top diplomat and remained in that position throughout President Bush’s second term.

An expert on Soviet/Russian and Eastern European affairs, Rice has spoken forcefully in recent weeks on Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“It’s disastrous for the liberal world order,” she told NPR shortly after the war began. “It's disastrous for Europe. It’s disastrous for all the values that we hold dear. And that’s why we can’t let Ukraine lose. Ukraine is the last defensible territory between the Russian military and our (NATO) Article 5 (security) commitments to the Baltic states and Poland and Romania, and so I think we have to throw everything at it that we can that the (Biden) administration believes will not widen the war, do it as quickly as we can.”

Rice earned her master’s degree from Notre Dame in government and international studies in 1975. Prior to her service on the University’s Board, she was a member of the advisory council for Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. She received an honorary doctor of laws degree and was the principal speaker at Notre Dame’s 1995 University Commencement Ceremony, and she joined President Bush on the platform during the May 2001 Commencement, when the president received an honorary degree and delivered the principal address.

Rice was a featured speaker at the tribute to the late Notre Dame President, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., following his funeral Mass on March 4, 2015. She also spoke at the unveiling in 2017 of a U.S. Postal Service stamp in honor of Father Hesburgh, and in 2019 in a newsmaker conversation with John Kerry, secretary of state in the Obama administration. She is the recipient of an honorary Notre Dame monogram.

Father Jenkins served from 2017 to 2018 on the Commission on College Basketball, a 14-member body chaired by Rice that examined all aspects of Division I men’s basketball in the wake of FBI investigations into the sport.

Rice earned her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Denver. She is a member of the Stanford University political science faculty and served as the university’s provost for six years in the 1990s. She is now the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on April 26, 2022.