Stanford’s New Provost Is First Woman, Black to Hold Position

A political science professor who was a White House special assistant to President Bush on Soviet affairs has been named second in command of Stanford University. Condoleezza Rice, 38, will become provost at Stanford on Sept. 1.

Her appointment by Stanford President Gerhard Casper marks the first time that a woman, an African-American or someone so young will hold such a high position at the prestigious 13,900-student campus, a Stanford spokesman said Wednesday.

On the Stanford faculty since 1981, Rice took a leave from February, 1989, through March, 1991, to serve in the White House and as senior director for Soviet affairs for the National Security Council. That was the period of tumultuous changes leading to the breakup of the Soviet Union and the emergence of new democracies in Eastern Europe.

“Just as I was fortunate to be given a chance to help shape America’s response to the extraordinary events that ended the Cold War, I am honored that President Casper has placed faith in my judgment and ability to meet Stanford’s challenges,” Rice said in a prepared statement. She pledged commitment to “the freedom of thought, exploration and expression that the academy allows.”


Casper, formerly provost at the University of Chicago, became Stanford president last fall. He has been assembling a new team of assistants who will seek to move the university out of the crisis connected to alleged abuses of federal research funds.

Casper reportedly first met Rice last year when she interviewed him in Chicago as part of a committee searching for a new Stanford president.

Rice succeeds Provost Gerald J. Lieberman, who will return to being a professor of operations research and statistics.