Rutgers Hires Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as 2014 Commencement Speaker

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Condoleezza Rice, the former National Security Advisor and US Secetary State, has been named one of the commencement speakers for the 248th graduation ceremony at Rutgers. 

The decision to hire Rice, who served as the first black female Secretary of State from 2005-2009, was made in a unanimous vote by the Rutgers University Board of Governors last week in Newark.

However, her appointment has raised many questions and concerns.  The Daily Targum, Rutgers' student newspaper, published an editorial describing her as a "questionable choice for speaker."

Rice left academia in 200o to work on George W. Bush's campaign for president, and was named Bush's first National Security Advisor shortly after a close election sent Bush to the White House.  During Bush's second term, Rice served as Secretary of State.

Rice's academic career dates back to 1981, when she was hired as an Assitant Professor at Stanford University.  She would later become provost at the prestigious school, and also served on the borads of directors for several companies including Chevron, the Carnegie Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, and the Rand Corporation.

For speaking at the commencement ceremony, Rice will be paid a $35,000 honorarium, a recent tradition for Rutgers graduation. Last year, retired state Supreme Court Justice Virginia Long was offered a similar amount.  

Rice will be receiving an honorary Doctorate of Law from the University, which according to the official commencement website, is "in recognition of her committment to public servic and diplomacy, and contributions to academia."

These other guests include Gerald C. Harvey, an outgoing Board of Governors member, and environmentalist Richard Leakey, both of whom will receive honorary degrees as well.

The University-wide graduation ceremony will take place on May 18 at the Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway.

Reporter at New Brunswick Today

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