Condoleezza Rice receives the Josef Korbel Outstanding Alumni Award from Denver University, School of International Studies
- Rice receives outstanding alumna award from DU school of international studies
Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state for President George W. Bush, talks Friday night with Ved Nanda, a teacher with whom she has kept in touch over the years, at the annual University of Denver Korbel Dinner. (Leah Millis, The Denver Post)
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a crowd gathered in her honor Friday night that the optimism of Josef Korbel can lead the world.
Rice, the alumna of the year for the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, spoke at the University of Denver's 13th annual Korbel Dinner. She recounted how her mother and father worked at DU, and how she enrolled as a music major, dreaming of a career as a concert pianist, but graduated with a passion for international relations.
"I found not just a major but a passion, and feel very, very fortunate to discover that passion at the hands of my teacher, Josef Korbel," Rice said of the former Czechoslovakian diplomat, who escaped Nazism and Stalinism.
Rice was introduced by Korbel's daughter — Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Albright said her father referred to Rice as "his favorite student."
"And this is why this wonderful black woman from Alabama was writing her dissertation on the Czechoslovakian army," said Albright.
Albright recalled when Rice told her she was a Republican.
"Condi, how could you?" Albright recounted. "We had the same father."
Rice moved to Denver as a 12-year-old in 1967, when her father became associate dean at DU, and her mother worked in the admissions office.
Rice received her bachelor's degree from DU in 1974 and doctorate from the Korbel school in 1981.
Rice, who served under President George W. Bush, made no mention of current international events such as the end of combat operations in Iraq or the road ahead in Afghanistan. She did not take questions from journalists or the audience.
The Korbel Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center drew a record crowd of more than 1,000 donors.
The gala honors alumni and community leaders who share Korbel's values of "humanitarian and scholarly ideals."
Albright, Rice attend DU awards dinner
FOX 31 KVDR.COM
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Tammy Vigil Reporter
August 28, 2010
DENVER - Two former U.S. secretaries of state with connections to the University of Denver came to Denver Friday night for an awards dinner.
Madeleine Albright presented DU's 2010 Josef Korbel Outstanding Alumi Award to Condoleezza Rice at the Grand Hyatt.
But not everybody was excited to have Rice in town.
"Be careful of this area. There is a war criminal speaking inside," said Debra Brown, a protester outside the hotel.
Three protestors criticized Rice and her push for the Iraq War outside the venue.
"We have not forgotten the role she played in making our country known for torture and dragging us into a war we had no business fighting," said Brown .
But inside the awards dinner, it was a love fest for the accomplished alumna who got both her BA and doctorate at DU.
"She had a degree in International Studies. She went on used it and the school has honored her as outstanding alum because of what she' accomplished through the years," says DU spokesman Jim Berscheidt.
She served as President Bush's national security advisor, then his secretary of state.
Her foreign policy interest sparked in a classroom with professor Korbel.
"He opened up a world to me that a little black girl from Birminham, Alabama, never should have been interested in. But I was," said Rice.
Korbel is the father of former Secretary of State Albright--who handed Rice her award.
"If my father were here he would be bursting with pride," said Albright.
Albright was the nation's first female secretary of state. Rice the second.
Both remembered for their pivotal roles in history.
Both share a connection to the same man and school.
"I owe so much to Josef Korbel and I owe so much to this school," said Rice.
Also honored were: MillerCoors CEO Leo Kiely and his wife Rev. Susan Kiely; and J. Landis Martin, founder of Platte River Ventures.
The money that was raised at the dinner funded scholarships for students in the international studies program.
Former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice greet each other at the 2010 Korbel Dinner on Aug. 27, 2010.
Two U.S. secretaries of state take the stage at 2010 Korbel Dinner
Only three women in U.S. history have served as secretary of state. Two of them spoke before a record crowd [...]
By: Jim Berscheidt
August 30, 2010
Only three women in U.S. history have served as secretary of state. Two of them spoke before a record crowd at DU’s annual Korbel Dinner on Friday.
Madeleine Albright, 64th U.S. secretary of state, and Condoleezza Rice (BA ’74, PhD ’81), 66th U.S. secretary of state, appeared together to discuss how Albright’s father, Josef Korbel, influenced their own lives and the lives of his students while dean of the University’s international studies school that now bears his name.
“I know if my father were here tonight he would be bursting with pride,” said Albright as she referred to Rice as her father’s favorite student. “She’s a person of great professionalism, patriotism, humor and intelligence, or to put the matter another way, she’s been extremely well taught.”
Rice delivered the keynote address at the dinner and received the Josef Korbel Outstanding Alumni Award.
Albright was introduced by another former government official, Christopher Hill, who most recently served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Hill joins the University of Denver this week as dean of the Korbel School following the recent retirement of longtime dean Tom Farer.
Following Albright’s introduction, Rice focused most of her talk on how Josef Korbel changed her life at a time when she was searching for a new major. After coming to DU to study music, Rice decided to look for another career path.
“And Madeleine, it was walking into your father’s course in international politics that I found not just a major, but a passion,” Rice said.
Rice touched briefly on current events by referring to the “crushing problems in the international system today.” But she said that such problems are not new in the world of diplomacy.
“History plays a trick on us,” Rice said. “Things that one day seem impossible after they’ve happened they just seem inevitable. And those who are optimists recognize that that is, indeed, the long arch of history and that’s why optimists can lead.”
Rice pointed to Korbel as an example of that optimism.
“After all, this Czech refugee [Korbel] who escaped first Nazism and then Stalinism had an irrepressible optimism about the human spirit and about what was possible,” Rice said. “And I just know that that optimism carries into the spirit of the school.”
Rice’s connection to DU goes beyond her two degrees from the University. Her father, John, was an assistant dean, and her mother, Angelena, worked in the Office of Admissions.
The Korbel Dinner honors individuals who have made a contribution to the local community or represented the school as outstanding alumni. Proceeds from the event fund scholarships in international studies.
Receiving the International Bridge Builders award were Leo Kiely, CEO of MillerCoors, and his wife, Susan Kiely. Leo was recognized for his leadership in spearheading the joint venture between Coors Brewing Company and Miller Brewing Company. Susan founded Women With A Cause, an international organization based in Denver that encourages self reliance and provides business skills to groups of vulnerable women throughout the world.
J. Landis Martin, founder and managing director of Platte River Ventures, chairman of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, vice chair of the Denver Art Museum and chairman emeritus of the Central City Opera House Association, was honored with the Josef Korbel Humanitarian Award for his many contributions to the community.
The Graduate School of International Studies became a reality largely due to the vision and efforts of Josef Korbel, who is now widely known as the father of Madeleine Albright, the 64th Secretary of State of the United States and the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.
A diplomat in Czechoslovakia, Korbel's Jewish heritage forced him to flee after the Nazi invasion in 1939. He served as an advisor to Edvard Benes, the exiled Czech president in London, until the Third Reich was defeated. He then returned to Czechoslovakia to serve as the country's ambassador to Yugoslavia but was forced to flee again during the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia in 1948.
After learning he had been tried and sentenced to death in absentia, Korbel was granted political asylum in the United States and was hired in 1949 to teach international politics at the University of Denver.
During his career in Denver as a scholar and teacher, Korbel decided to try to establish a professional school that would prepare talented and idealistic people for distinguished careers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Finally in 1964, with the support of Ben Cherrington, Korbel founded the Graduate School of International Studies and became its first dean. To house the school, the 30,300-square-foot Ben M. Cherrington Hall was built in 1965. After Korbel's death, the University of Denver established the Josef Korbel Humanitarian Award in 2000.
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