From classical music to sports, Condoleezza Rice is a woman with many interests and accomplishments.
The 50-year-old Ms. Rice was born in Alabama at a time when that state still gave blacks second-class treatment in education and civil rights.
One of her schoolmates was killed in the bombing of an African-American church by white supremacists in September 1963.
Ms. Rice enrolled in the University of Denver when she was only 15, and received a bachelor's degree in political science. She later earned a doctorate in international studies there.
She has been a member of the faculty of Stanford University since 1981. From 1993 to 1999, she served as Stanford's provost, or chief budget and academic officer.
She served under the first President Bush from 1989 to 1991 as a specialist on Soviet affairs. She got to know the current President Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign, when she briefed him on international affairs.
Ms. Rice has been a vocal supporter of the war on Iraq. In late 2002, when Iraq denied having weapons of mass destruction, she wrote an opinion piece titled, "Why We Know Iraq Is Lying."
Ms. Rice speaks four languages and is an accomplished classical music pianist who performed with acclaimed cellist Yo Yo Ma in 2002.
She is close to the Bush family, often watching football with President Bush on weekends at Camp David, or at the president's ranch in Texas. An avid sports fan, Ms. Rice has openly expressed a desire to become commissioner of the National Football League.