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The very private former U.S. Secretary of State reflects about her life while talking about “Extraordinary, Ordinary People,” her strikingly-revealing memoir about her childhood.

Kam Williams | 11/16/2010, 10:49 a.m.

The very private former U.S. Secretary of State reflects about her life while talking about “Extraordinary, Ordinary People,” her strikingly-revealing memoir about her childhood.

Condoleezza Rice was born in Birmingham, Ala. on Nov. 14, 1954, the only child of John and Angelena Rice. In spite of the considerable disadvantages she encountered just by virtue of growing up black in the South during the days of Jim Crow, she somehow managed to overachieve, first academically, and then career-wise.      

In terms of credentials, she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974; her master’s from the University of Notre Dame in 1975; and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981.

Rice is now a professor of business and political science at Stanford University and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. From January 2005 to 2009, she served as the 66th secretary of state of the United States. Before serving as America’s chief diplomat, she served as assistant to the president for national security affairs (national security advisor) from January 2001 to 2005.

She joined the Stanford University faculty as a professor of political science in 1981 and served as Stanford University’s provost from 1993 to 1999. She was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution from 1991 to 1993 and returned to the Hoover Institution after serving as provost until 2001. As a professor, Rice won two of the highest teaching honors: the 1984 Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1993 School of Humanities and Sciences Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

She has authored and co-authored several books, including “Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft” (1995), with Philip Zelikow; “The Gorbachev Era” (1986), with Alexander Dallin, “Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army” (1984) and “Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family” (October 2010).

Rice served as a member of the boards of directors for the Chevron, Charles Schwab and Transamerica corporations. She was a founding board member of the Center for a New Generation, an educational support fund for schools in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, Calif., and was vice president of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. She now serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of America.

She has been involved in a number of humanitarian pursuits, most notably with The President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) and in creating and serving on the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Both endeavors increased aid to developing countries and the world’s poorest, most disadvantaged populations. PEPFAR was the largest commitment of funds from any single nation to combat a single disease at any time in history and the Millennium Challenge Corporation promotes sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

She also serves as a member of the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, she is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Here, the very private Rice reflects about her life while talking about “Extraordinary, Ordinary People,” her strikingly-revealing memoir about her childhood.