The College of William and Mary announced March 3 that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will speak at the 2015 Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16 in William and Mary Hall. Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States from 2005 – 2009 and currently teaches at Stanford University in California.
“It will be grand to have Secretary Condoleezza Rice speak to the Class of 2015 at Commencement,” President Taylor Reveley said in a statement. “Condoleezza Rice broke barriers of gender and race while serving at the most senior levels of our national government. She has also had a very distinguished career in the academy as a teacher, scholar and administrator. Few equal her experience in both public affairs and higher education.”
Current Chancellor of the College and former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates ’65, a former colleague of Condoleezza Rice from her days in the Cabinet, will also speak at the event. Since 2009, Condoleezza Rice and Gates have continued to work together as founding partners at Condoleezza RiceHadleyGates, LLC, an international strategic consulting firm founded with former National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley, which seeks to advise companies in emerging international markets.
“Secretary Condoleezza Rice has been my friend and colleague, in and out of government, for more than 25 years,” Gates said. “Her career as an educator at Stanford and in public service is inspiring. We worked closely together in the Cabinet and I know she cares deeply about the future of our country. That future begins with the next generation of leaders from William & Mary. I look forward to her message to the graduates.”
Although most notably known as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, Rice also served on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council staff from 1989 to 1991. In addition to her years in the Washington, Condoleezza Rice has been a faculty member at Stanford University since 1981. Initially a political science professor, she served as Provost from 1991 to 1993, and currently serves as the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The College also announced Tuesday that the 2015 Commencement Ceremony will be held Saturday this year rather than Sunday. In addition, this year, departmental graduation ceremonies will take place Sunday in order to ease the pains of scheduling issues.
“Several departments had outgrown their regularly scheduled spaces or rain locations, making scheduling difficult,” Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88, Ph.D. ’06 said. “The new schedule not only helps solve our space issue, but also provides an opportunity to enhance some signature weekend events. For example, the Alumni Induction Ceremony will now take place after the graduation ceremony, which allows us to form a new tradition around that event. Graduation is a significant accomplishment, and we look forward to celebrating with our students, their families and the William & Mary community.”
Additionally, the Candlelight Ceremony has been moved to the night of Friday, May 15 at night to accommodate these schedule changes.