Come to UA: A letter to Condoleezza RiceBy Chisolm Allenlundy | 01/11/2015 10:35pm
Dear Dr. Rice,
You may have recently become aware of the fact that the current president of The University of Alabama, Dr. Judy Bonner, will be stepping down from her position after this academic year. You may also be aware that your own name has been mentioned more than a few times as a potential heir to this storied and important role.
I hope it comes as no surprise to you that you are considered one of the great children of the state of Alabama. Indeed, though you only lived here for a little more than a decade, no list of history’s most influential Alabamians would be complete without your name. Perhaps you do not identify yourself with this state so much as it does with you, but please understand that it is purely out of respect and admiration that we do so.
While I claim no special ability to read the mind of such an illustrious diplomat and scholar, I suspect the position mentioned above never affixed itself to your future aspirations with much zeal. Perhaps it is, in fact, a mighty long shot. If that is the case, then call me one for long shots.
Alabama, both the state and its flagship university, is in a time of great change. The ancient power structures that have kept a stranglehold on the state’s politics, preventing us from transcending our many economic, cultural and racial barriers, are steadily giving way to a fresh milieu of tolerance, diversity and progress. But alas, such a transformation cannot fully succeed without the guidance of a strong, proven leader. Fortunately, the presidency of The University of Alabama is the perfect station for such a leader to come forth.
Dr. Rice, you are that leader. You’ve demonstrated your ability to carry those who follow you to new heights. As Secretary of State, you helped hold the world together as it was coming apart at the seams. As Stanford’s Provost, you saved the school from a budget deficit that threatened its place atop the list of America’s best colleges and universities. You have shown us all that you excel when steering the masses through an intimidating unknown.
It is for these reasons and many more that cannot fit here, Dr. Rice, that I implore you to consider leading The University of Alabama through this dynamic period as its president. Your reputation is unquestioned and your experience unmatched. If there were ever a perfectly qualified candidate to direct this great institution in this time of seismic change, it would be you.
As you once said, “Life is full of surprises and serendipity.” Dr. Rice, be this university’s serendipity. Rest assured, you will not regret it.
Chisolm Allenlundy is a junior majoring in philosophy and economics. His column runs weekly.