Former Bush administration official to discuss new book, time in office during upcoming visit
By Daniel C. Houston
Former United States secretary of state and national security adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice will join Baylor President Ken Starr at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Waco Hall to talk about her new book and discuss her time working in President George W. Bush’s administration.
Rice, author of “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years In Washington,” will be the featured guest for the event “On Topic with President Ken Starr,” a discussion series the president’s office introduced in March. The conversation will allow Rice to offer her perspective on a number of public-policy issues during her time in the White House.
Michelle Parrozzo, Baylor’s director of strategic partnerships, was instrumental in bringing Rice to Baylor. She and Kathy Wright, vice president of strategic partnerships, worked in the Bush White House and targeted Rice as a potential campus speaker.
“I think [Rice’s appearance] speaks highly for Baylor and what we’re doing here,” Parrozzo said. “I think it shows that Baylor is a campus that can bring in speakers of this level and notoriety.”
Parrozzo said Rice’s experience as secretary of state, as well as her background as a black woman in government, will provide attendees with an intriguing look into the nation’s highest political office.
“I think she brings an incredibly unique perspective,” Parrozzo said. “She was seated in a very powerful position during some of our nation’s most crucial times. … I think she offers a lot for leadership development for young students.”
Isabel Borberg, a senior from Caracas, Venezuela, worked to compile a list of student honor societies, political organizations and leadership programs from Baylor, McLennan Community College and various Waco high schools in order to publicize the event to local students. She said it was an honor to help organize and attract attention to an event with such a prominent speaker.
“I’m not an American,” Borberg said, “but I think she made such a difference during the Bush administration and her views can influence others and inspire success for others. She can be an inspiration to anyone who attends the event.”
Borberg said she hopes the Baylor community, and Baylor students in particular, will respond in large numbers to advertising for the free event.
“I would like for there to be a great student turnout,” Borberg said. “With student and community turnout, I hope we will be able to fill Waco Hall and welcome Ms. Rice [to Baylor].”
Starr praised Rice’s record of public service in a Thursday press release, hinting at some of the topics he might discuss next Wednesday with the former White House official.
“As a member of the Bush Administration, Dr. Rice was one of the President’s closest confidantes, administering U.S. foreign policy during one of the most challenging periods in contemporary American history,” Starr said. “Dr. Rice served our nation with great resolve and intelligence during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, events she recounts with great candor in her new memoire. We look forward to a fascinating evening of conversation with this outstanding public servant, distinguished academic, award-winning teacher and expert commentator on U.S. and international affairs.”
Interested parties can pre-order an autographed copy of Rice’s new book from the Baylor Bookstore. Copies will be available for pickup Wednesday starting at 5:30 p.m.