Montana State University

Condoleezza Rice to speak at MSU 2012 Freshman Convocation set Sept. 5

March 30, 2012 -- MSU News Service

Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State who is also an educator, musician and author, will speak at Montana State University's 2012 Freshman Convocation, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5. A limited number of tickets will be made available to the public in August. Photo courtesy of Condoleezza Rice.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State who is also an educator, musician and author, will speak at Montana State University's 2012 Freshman Convocation, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5.

A limited number of tickets will be made available to the general public in August. More information, when it is available, will be announced on the MSU Convocation webpage.

In connection with her appearance at MSU, Rice's memoir, "Extraordinary, Ordinary People," has been selected as MSU's 2012 freshman summer reading book.

The book's selection means that it will be the featured summer reading for MSU's 2,400 incoming freshmen and will be discussed in classes and venues throughout the MSU campus next fall.

According to MSU Provost Martha Potvin, Rice's memoir is a testimony of the power of an education in advancing one's life as well as a first-hand account of a transformational period in America's history. She said Rice's presence on the MSU campus will motivate and inspire the university's incoming students.

"We are thrilled to have such a distinguished speaker whose life experience so vividly exemplifies the value of family support, education, and personal courage in cultivating a purposeful and accomplished life," Potvin said.

Potvin said that in addition to addressing MSU's incoming freshman class, Rice will also perform on the piano. An accomplished pianist, Rice has previously visited Bozeman, playing with the visiting Muir String Quartet and with Ilse-Mari Lee, a cellist who is also director of MSU's University Honors Program.

Rice served as the 66th U.S. Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009. She is currently a professor of political economy in the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She is also the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, based at Stanford and a professor of political science. She recently published a second memoir, "No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington," about her years as Secretary of State. An expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union, Rice has written four other books about diplomacy.

"Extraordinary, Ordinary People" is Rice's memoir about growing up in the segregated South as well as the influence, support and guidance she received from her parents and mentors.

Students and members of the community who are wishing to learn more about books and people who have inspired Rice may be interested in reading books that Rice recommends because she has found them to be motivational. Those books are:

*"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou.
*"Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand.
*"Night" by Elie Wiesel
*"Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" by Walter Isaacson.
*"Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow.
*"Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-53" by Taylor Branch

The Bozeman Public Library has chosen Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" for its One Book - One Bozeman 2012 selection, while also encouraging the community to read Rice's "Extraordinary, Ordinary People," according to Paula Beswick, director for the Bozeman Public Library Foundation and coordinator of One Book-One Bozeman activities. The university and the Bozeman Public Library Foundation are the sponsors of Rice's visit.

"The One Book partnership with MSU's Summer Reading program has been such a powerful connection for the campus and Bozeman community, that this year we wanted to benefit from not only Dr. Rice's remarkable memoir, but also a book that she has said inspired her life," Beswick said. "Our goal is to enrich the discussion, especially with the popularity of Dr. Angelou's recent visit to Bozeman. We are very excited to promote and embrace the talents of these two immensely influential women."

Beswick said the One Book-One Bozeman committee is developing programs throughout the month of September with a variety of community partners and businesses. Details will be posted as soon as they become available on the website and on the One Book Facebook page.

The September event will be MSU's sixth convocation. In 2011, Aron Ralston spoke. Ralston is author of "Between a Rock and a Hard Place," the inspiration for the film "127 Hours." In 2010, MSU graduate Kevin Connolly, who was born without legs, talked about his worldwide adventures and making the most of opportunities, the subject of his book, "Double Take." Other MSU convocation speakers and their books have included Steve Lopez, author of "The Soloist," and Stephen R. Covey, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change." The first MSU convocation featured Bozeman resident Greg Mortenson, co-author of "Three Cups of Tea."

ASMSU, the MSU Leadership Institute and the MSU Alumni Association have provided additional sponsorship for the event. For more information, go to or email

David Singel (406) 994-4371,