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Dr. Condoleezza Rice receives 2009 TD White Award

Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael C. Gould presents Dr. Condoleezza Rice with the 2009 Thomas D. White Award there Aug. 26, 2010, for her contributions to national security and defense during her career as a professor, presidential adviser, diplomat, author and national security expert. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bill Evans)

Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael C. Gould presents Dr. Condoleezza Rice with the 2009 Thomas D. White Award there Aug. 26, 2010, for her contributions to national security and defense during her career as a professor, presidential adviser, diplomat, author and national security expert. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bill Evans)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS) --
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received the 2009 Thomas D. White National Defense Award during a visit here Aug. 26.

Dr. Rice, currently a professor at Stanford University, received the award for contributions to the defense and security of the U.S. during her career as a professor, presidential adviser, diplomat, author and national security expert, according to the award citation.

The award is presented annually to a U.S. citizen who has contributed significantly to national defense and security in any field of endeavor.

"Dr. Rice certainly fits that mold," Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael C. Gould said during the tapping ceremony. "This is our biggest award, and Dr. Rice, we're glad you could make it out here."

Dr. Rice said she was humbled to enter the company of previous award recipients, who include Sen. John Glenn, Gens. Carl Spaatz, Curtis LeMay and Bernard Schriever and Army Gen. Colin Powell.

The Cadet Wing held its noon parade, which included a C-130 Hercules flyover, in her honor, and cadets cheered loudly upon her introduction.

"I cannot tell you how great it is to be here again, and that's for a couple of reasons," said Dr. Rice, who visited the Academy on occasion to attend concerts and football games while she was growing up in Denver.

One of the reasons she listed was because of what the Air Force did for her while she was secretary of state.

"I traveled 1 million miles ... to some 65 countries, and the Air Force was there with me every step of the way, whether it was to Libya or to Baghdad and to Europe," she said. "The service into which you are entering has been very, very good to me, and I'd like to acknowledge that on behalf of all secretaries of state."

Dr. Rice was confirmed by the Senate in 2005 as President George W. Bush began his second term in office. She served as the president's principal adviser in determining foreign policy and coordinated interdepartmental activities overseas, according to the award citation. Among her accomplishments were a negotiated agreement with North Korea in 2007 to dismantle its nuclear reactors and a summit in Annapolis, Md., to try to broker a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Dr. Rice received an invitation from the Academy to teach a course for a week as a visiting professor. It's something she said she would love to do.

"I'm always going to be a Stanford faculty member, but it would be great to come out for a short period of time," she said.

Dr. Rice thanked cadets for serving their country.

"Thank you for believing in this great country," she said. "Thank you for being a fine exemplar of the continuing line of young men and women who are willing to make those sacrifices on behalf of all of us. Thank you for coming here today to greet me and for that fantastic parade, which was one of the great experiences of my life."

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