Dr. Condoleezza Rice visited Alabama last week as part of the state’s Bicentennial events on December 13 and 14 in Montgomery. Dr. Rice also was a guest of the Westminster Presbyterian Church USA and the Alabama School of Fine Arts at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater in Birmingham on December 12.
Dr. Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States to President George W. Bush (R).
Rice is the granddaughter of Rev. John Wesley Rice, Sr., the church’s first pastor. Dr. Rice grew up in the church’s manse during her formative years while her father, Rev. John W. Rice, Jr., who was assistant pastor, assumed the role of pastor after his father.
Dr. Rice was the first African American woman to serve as Secretary of State. Prior to that she served as President George W. Bush’s National Security Advisor, the first woman to serve in that position.
Economic developer and historian Dr. Nicole Jones attended both events.
“On Thursday 12 December, Condoleeza Rice visited Birmingham to speak on her experiences growing up in Westminster Presbyterian Church and serving as US Secretary of State and as national security advisor,” Dr. Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter. “Dr. Rice emphasized the importance of education as a bridge for economic opportunity and advancement. Condoleeza Rice expressed how she greatly enjoys teaching others once again as a professor at Stanford University.”
Dr. Jones said that, “The event, held to commemorate Westminster Presbyterian Church’s 75th year, was a wonderful opportunity to learn from an expert in foreign policy and diplomacy.”
Rice was an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, and also served as special assistant to the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rice had previously served on the National Security Council as the senior director of Soviet and Eastern Europe Affairs and Advisor to President George H. W. Bush (R) during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification from 1989 to 1991.
Dr. Rice was appointed to the College Football Playoff Committee (formerly the Bowl Championship Series) in 2013. She is an accomplished classical pianist, and has played with internationally renowned cellist, Yo Yo Ma, on several occasions, most recently at the Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC, as part of the 2017 Kennedy Center Arts Summit. Rice is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Rice served as a professor and provost at Stanford University until 1999. After her public service with Pres. George W. Bush’s administration Rice returned to Stanford University in 2009 as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, a position she currently holds. Dr. Rice also currently serves as the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a professor of political science at Stanford University.
During Rice’s childhood, Birmingham was a segregated city. Rice was eight years old when the Ku Klux Klan bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four little girls, including 11 year old Denise McNair, whom Rice often played dolls with.
Birmingham celebrated its 148th anniversary as a city on Thursday, December 19.
Dr. Rice is a favorite daughter of Westminster Presbyterian Church and was featured during the church’s 65th Anniversary celebration and the church’s 75th anniversary as well.
Westminster Presbyterian Church is part of the Presbyterian Church USA and the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley. The church is located at 20 Sixth Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35211. Rev. Jerome Bell is the Interim Pastor.