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The Education of Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice began piano lessons at the age of three. She could already read fluidly by the age of five because her mother and father took a deep and abiding interest in her education. She began the Second grade in 1961 at a local grammar school in Titusville, Alabama - a town near Birmingham.

When she moved to Denver in 1968 she attended St. Mary's, a private Catholic school. She excelled, and completed enough classes to graduate by the time she was fifteen. However, she wanted to continue and graduate with her class. Her parents wanted her to go directly to Denver University. They compromised and Condoleeza found herself with a very busy schedule, getting up early in the morning to skate, attending college in the morning, high school in the afternoon and piano practice in the evening. She graduated from high-school in 1971 fourth in her class.

While at Denver University she gave up her youthful ambition to be a concert pianist. She was a very competent pianist, but she decided that she could not be the very best in this pursuit. She cast about for a new major in college. At first she tried English Literature, but found she did not like it. Then she tried government administration. She found this boring. Then she met professor Josef Korbel who taught her a course on International Politics. He inspired in her a love for the ins and outs of international relations. She would go on to specialize in the Soviet Union. She graduated from the university of Denver in 1974. She was just 19 years old.

Condoleezza went on to Notre Dame where she earned a master's degree in international relations and economics in 1975. While there she expanded her social life and dated the school football team fullback, Wayne Bullock. After Notre Dame she moved back to Denver and lived with her parents. At this time she dated Rick Upchurch a punt returner for the Denver Broncos. She taught piano as she waited for a response for applications to law schools. She became engaged to Upchurch but the relationship ended before the nuptuals.

Before she could go to Law School, Josef Korbel talked her into continuing her education to become a professor of political science. She returned to Denver University and learned Soviet Relations under Korbel where she recieved her doctorate. She received a pre-doc fellowship from the Ford Foundation. She was brought to Stanford University. There she wrote her doctoral dissertation on the relationship between the Soviet and Czech militaries.

She was hired to be an assistant professor at Stanford in the fall season of 1981.

Next Page: The Early Career of Condoleezza Rice


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