Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was honored Monday at West Point with the U.S. Military Academy’s annual Thayer Award, given to a U.S. citizen for outstanding service in the national interest that illustrates the academy’s motto of “Duty, Honor, Country.”
“For more than three decades and during some of America’s more trying times, she has participated in shaping our Nation’s development and implementation of foreign policy and national security strategies,” according to Rice’s award citation. “Interspersed with government service, Dr. Rice’s contributions within America’s academic, corporate, and social spheres have been far-reaching and, at times, groundbreaking.”
Rice, 59, received the Thayer Award during a dinner ceremony hosted by the academy’s Association of Graduates after cadets conducted ceremonial parade in her honor on the Plain, a grassy field at the center of the campus. The award is named for Col. Sylvanus Thayer, West Point’s fifth superintendent and known as the “Father of the Military Academy.”
Last year’s honoree also was a former secretary of state: Madeleine Albright, who served during President Bill Clinton’s second term. Other past recipients include Sandra Day O’Connor, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry Kissinger, Barbara Jordon, Walter Cronkite, Colin Powell and Bob Hope.
Rice is currently a professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. She was President George W. Bush’s secretary of state from 2005 to 2009 – the first African-American woman in that position.