DECEMBER 10, 2012
The 48th Annual Benefit Dinner at Freed-Hardeman University featuring former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raised $1,480, 265.00 Friday night, Dec. 7, according to the FHU advancement office. It is the second-highest total in the dinner’s history, surpassed only by the 2010 dinner with former President George W. Bush.
“It is good to be in an environment where faith and reason are not enemies of one another,” Rice said concerning her appearance at Freed-Hardeman.
Rice discussed global political and economic changes that have affected the United States most in recent years. She listed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Great Recession and the growing unrest in the Middle East as “concussive events rocking America.” “The verities we had when we were younger have faded away,” she said.
Frequently mentioned as a potential Republican presidential candidate, Rice declared her lack of interest in running for the office. “I like policy, not politics,” she said. She described herself as happy with her life as a university professor as she talked about the importance education has held with her family.
“Education,” Rice said, “isn’t about getting job skills, but about creating a whole new person.” To the donors present for the event, she said, “I want to thank you tonight for being a part of this institution and being a part of that transformation of education.”
Rice was the second woman and the first African-American woman to be named secretary of state. Prior to that appointment, she had served as President George W. Bush’s national security adviser, the first woman to hold that position. She had also served on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council staff.
Currently, Rice is the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Graduate School of Business; the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution; and a professor of Political Science at Stanford University. She is also a founding partner of Rice Hadley Gates, a business advisory firm that works with companies seeking to expand into emerging markets.
She has authored and co-authored a number of books including “Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family,” a 2010 best-seller. Her most recent book, “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington,” was released last year.
Funds raised by the event are designated for scholarships. “When you are investing in a young person at Freed-Hardeman,” FHU President Joe Wiley said, “you are investing in something eternal.”
Prior to the speech by Rice, the Secret Sisters, a duo from Muscle Shoals, Ala., presented a program of traditional country music. “We are very big fans of music that was around before we were,” Laura Rogers, an FHU alumna, said.
In 2010, the duo released the self-titled album “The Secret Sisters,” featuring a cover of “Why Baby Why” and the original “Tennessee Me.” Classic recording equipment was used to capture the sisters’ pure sound; the vintage microphones and recording techniques were the same as production teams used fifty years ago. The Secret Sisters’ song “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder” appears on the much-hyped 2012 “Hunger Games” movie soundtrack, entitled “The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond.” Their second album is scheduled to be released in the spring.
Prior to the evening’s main address, Rice participated in a question and answer session with approximately 50 FHU students.