What’s Next for Condoleezza Rice?

In less than two weeks Condoleezza Rice will turn over the leadership of the State Department to Hillary Clinton. Rice is the second African American and the second woman to be secretary of state. Unlike many members of the Bush administration, Rice remains highly regarded in foreign policy circles. Although she has shown no inclination to run for political office, many observers believe she would be a formidable candidate for president or vice president in the future. Only 54 years old, Rice will be considered for a high-ranking position in any future GOP administration.

The question is, What will Rice do now? After leaving the State Department, Rice will return to her tenured position at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In an interview with a French newspaper, Rice said, “When I’m done, I’ll go home to California and teach students about this experience. I’m an academic at heart.” In the 1990s, Rice was provost at Stanford. Her performance there met with uneven appraisals. She lost considerable support because of her lukewarm attitude toward affirmative action.

The Hoover Institution is a conservative think tank on public policy issues. It is supported by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals. It has an endowment of more than $200 million and an annual budget of $25 million. About 100 academics and 80 researchers are affiliated with the Hoover Institution.

Rice plans to write two books. One book will be on American foreign policy in the post-9/11 era. She also wants to write a book about her parents, who were both educators.

Rice has always maintained that her dream job would be commissioner of the National Football League. Undoubtedly, she will be asked to serve as president of a major foundation or a major research university. She will probably serve on a number of corporate boards of directors, as she did before joining the Bush administration. As a director of Chevron in the mid-1990s, the oil company named a large tanker after her.

It is safe to say that we have not heard the last of Condoleezza Rice.