On April 11, our student body and campus faculty were given an amazing opportunity to attend a talk given by the Dr. Condoleezza Rice as part of a national conference titled ‘Rethinking Success’.
The conference was designed to examine issues related to the relevance and value of a liberal arts education in today’s work world. In other words, is higher education fulfilling its role to intentionally prepare students for life after college?
Dr. Rice, as most already know, was the former US Secretary of State under the second Bush administration, and is currently a professor and Senior Fellow at Stanford University. The Wake Forest population crowded into Wait Chapel to listen to the wise words of the woman who is arguably one of the most influential and admirable public figures in our society today.
Dr. Rice began her talk by discussing the role of higher education in the U.S., and its impact on the rest of the world. She called our higher education system one of the most powerful, and often overlooked, even citing it as “the golden standard internationally.”
All around the world, elites want to send their children to American colleges and universities. We have a reputation for greater excellence. We have a great breadth of options when it comes to institutions for education, and we have what Dr. Rice called “idea tanks,” which foster an endless supply of creativity and innovation. Our system of higher education is also a principle form of social mobility. It embodies the true American Dream, or in Dr. Rice’s words: “…it doesn’t matter where you came from; it matters where you’re going.”