William W. Siebens

American Heritage Lecture

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William W. Siebens

American Heritage Lecture

Condoleezza Rice Speaks at Buena Vista University

Condoleezza Rice Speaks at Buena Vista University

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated, “Always assume that people desire the same dignity and same rights that you do,” during her student panel question-and-answer session at Buena Vista University Saturday afternoon.

“My parents were extraordinary in their view of education. They taught me the value of education,” said Dr. Rice. “Education was not just important but a necessity. They taught me the value of faith. They taught me that family really matters and to love this great country. My parents were my inspiration for everything.”

Dr. Rice, who served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States from January 2005 to 2009, was on the Buena Vista University campus as the laureate for the 21st William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecture Series. During the afternoon, Dr. Rice participated in a question-and-answer program with a panel of Buena Vista University students that was attended by nearly 800 students, faculty and staff.

The student panel included Michael Boyle, a senior Marketing and Corporate Mathematics major from Perry, Iowa; Kirsten Bielen, a senior Education major from Redwood Falls, Minn.; Jonathan Ehrlich, a senior Biology major from Creston, Iowa; Tesia Posekany, a senior Biology major from Woodburn, Iowa; Hannah Puderbaugh, a junior English major from Peru, Iowa; Irma “Mariana” Ramirez Villa, a senior History and English major from Schaller, Iowa; alternate Meghan Harmening, a sophomore Finance and Accounting major from Marshall, Minn; and alternate Andrew Schanbacher, a senior Biology major from Newhall, Iowa.

The student panelists worked with Buena Vista University faculty mentors to develop questions for Dr. Rice that she would not see or be able to prepare for before the session. Faculty mentors included Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya, associate professor of philosophy and religion; Dr. Thomas Bonagura, assistant professor of biology; Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl, assistant professor of economics; and session moderator, Professor Jamii Claiborne, associate professor of Digital Media.

“This event is an ongoing and amazing opportunity for our students to engage an important figure in the global world around us right here on our campus,” said Jennifer Felton, director of marketing and communications for Buena Vista University. “Each event and set of student panelists bring a new perspective to the conversation, and often result in questions that really challenge the speaker and make this afternoon event a must-attend for everyone involved with Buena Vista University, including students, faculty, staff and key supporters.”

Dr. Rice answered 12 questions during the hour-long student panel session in a relaxed and conversational manner, including observations and lessons learned throughout her career, from her time as provost of Stanford University, to being National Security Advisor and her time as Secretary of State.

There were a variety of question topics, including Dr. Rice’s parents and their contribution to her success; various issues in the Middle East including the Israeli-Palestinian problem, working with Iran and Transformational Diplomacy in Afghanistan; and advice for Buena Vista University students who may endeavor to be diplomats in the future.

In response to one student’s question regarding a reformed immigration visa program, Dr. Rice stated, “Let’s not forget, this country has been greatly served by immigrants. We come from every place on the face of the earth and that is our great strength. People have come here to enrich us, make us young again and drive economic progress.” She then went on to discuss ways to structure immigration while still protecting the laws, including securing the border and recognizing the economic benefits around immigration.

Following the afternoon panel session, there was an evening celebration of the successful conclusion of the largest capital campaign in the university’s history, See Tomorrow: The Campaign for Buena Vista University, where Dr. Rice addressed an audience of close to 400 people with prepared remarks and answered additional questions submitted by event attendees in advance.

The William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecture Series was endowed by the late Dr. Harold Walter Siebens, an Iowa-born entrepreneur and philanthropist, and named in honor of his son. This series was established in 1989 to provide the Buena Vista University campus community, Iowa and the Midwest with access to prominent world figures discussing current issues underlying American freedoms.

Video courtesy of BVU's University Cable Network.


Student Panel Selected for Dialogue with Condoleezza Rice
BVU American Heritage student panelists and alternates, from left: Tesia Posekany, Andrew Schanbacher, Hannah Puderbaugh, Mariana Ramirez, Meghan Harmening, Jonathan Ehrlich, and Kirsten Bielen (Michael Boyle is studying abroad and was not present).

Student Panel Selected for Dialogue with Condoleezza Rice

Six Buena Vista University students will get the chance of a lifetime - to interact in person with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her appearance on campus this fall.

Rice, who was the U.S. Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009, will be the guest laureate for the 21st William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecture on Oct. 12. Her activities that day will include an afternoon discussion with the panelists before an audience of BVU faculty, staff and students. That evening, she will present a formal lecture to invited guests in the fields of business, law, politics, education and religion.

According to Jamii Claiborne, associate professor of digital media and moderator for the student panel, the following students have been selected through a competitive process from a field of nearly 40 applicants:

  • Kirsten Bielen, a senior elementary education major from Redwood Falls, Minn.
  • Michael Boyle, a junior marketing and corporate mathematics double major from Perry
  • Jonathan Ehrlich, a junior biology major from Storm Lake
  • Tesia Posekany, a junior biology major from Woodburn
  • Hannah Puderbaugh, a junior English and communication studies double major from Peru
  • Mariana Ramirez, a junior history major from Schaller

Two alternates selected are:

  • Meghan Harmening, a sophomore corporate mathematics and finance/banking double major from Marshall, Minn.
  • Andrew Schanbacher, a junior biology major from Newhall

"To be honest, it was very difficult to choose just a few students from the rather large pool of applicants we had this year," says Claiborne. "We feel great about this group and how they will represent BVU on stage next fall."

"Being selected as a panelist is a rewarding and encouraging honor," says Michael. "I have been familiar with Dr. Condoleezza Rice from a young age, and to share the stage with her will be a great opportunity and experience for the other panelists and me."

In applying to be a panelist, students were asked to formulate questions they would like to ask Rice, and the reasons for their interest in being on the panel. "We had so many excellent candidates, many of whom put together really top quality applications," says Claiborne. "The committee was thrilled to see such interest and excitement about the lecture series, and about Dr. Rice."

Over the summer, the student panelists will read books by and about Rice, and discuss their research over social media. "When we all return in the fall, we'll get to work right away, meeting regularly to discuss ideas, develop and refine questions, and get ready for the October event," explains Claiborne.

The faculty coaches are: Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya, associate professor of philosophy and religion; Dr. Thom Bonagura, assistant professor of biology; and Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl, assistant professor of economics.


Condoleezza Rice Named 21st William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecturer

Condoleezza Rice Named 21st William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecturer

Buena Vista University has announced that Dr. Condoleezza Rice, who served as the U.S. Secretary of State from 2005-2009, will be the 21st William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecture laureate on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Rice joins a list of preeminent American Heritage lecturers that has included former world leaders, heads of state, and others who have reached the highest levels of accomplishment and recognition in their fields.

Rice will be the third former Secretary of State to lecture in the American Heritage series. Madeleine Albright, who served from 1997-2001, was the guest lecturer in 2001, and Gen. Colin Powell, who preceded Rice in the position, was lecturer in 2000, prior to being appointed to the office.

"This is a remarkable opportunity for our students to hear from a former cabinet member whose career had so much influence on U.S. foreign policy," says BVU President Fred Moore. "We look forward to hearing her valuable insight on the complex world events that are having an impact on our nation today and how they are likely to affect our future."

While on campus, Rice will participate in an afternoon question-and-answer program with a panel of students which will be followed by a formal evening lecture to invited regional leaders in the fields of business, law, politics, education and religion.

Since 1994, students have had the opportunity to pose questions to the American Heritage speakers, including President George H.W. Bush; Presidents F.W. de Klerk and Vicente Fox; Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Benazir Bhutto, and Tony Blair; Jehan Sadat, widow of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat; and Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

Students are selected for the panel in the spring through a competitive process. They work with a faculty moderator and faculty coaches to research the speaker and when they return to school in the fall develop a list of questions for the event.

Rice was the nation's 66th Secretary of State and the second woman and first African American woman to hold the position. She also served as President George W. Bush's Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor) from January 2001-2005, the first woman to hold the position.

As Secretary of State, she supported the expansion of democratic governments, and championed the idea of "Transformational Diplomacy," which sought to redistribute U.S. diplomats to areas of severe social and political trouble, address such issues as disease, drug smuggling and human trafficking, and reemphasize aid through the creation of the position of Director of Foreign Assistance.

Rice helped successfully negotiate several agreements in the Middle East, including Israeli withdrawal from and the opening of the Gaza border crossings in 2005 and the Aug. 14, 2006 ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. Rice organized the Annapolis Conference of Nov. 27, 2007, which focused on finding a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.

Rice also worked actively to improve human rights issues in Iran and supported the passage of a United Nations Security Council Resolution for sanctions against the country unless its uranium enrichment program was curtailed.

In October 2008, one of Rice's most successful negotiations came to fruition with the signing of the U.S.-India Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (123 Agreement), which would allow civil nuclear trade between the two countries.

Currently, Rice is the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Graduate School of Business; the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and a professor of political science at Stanford University. She is also a founding partner of RiceHadleyGates LLC and a CBS News Contributor. As a member of the Stanford faculty since 1981, she was awarded two of the university's highest teaching honors.

She has authored and co-authored numerous books, including two bestsellers, No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington (2011) and Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (2010).

The William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecture Series was endowed by the late Dr. Harold Walter Siebens, an Iowa-born entrepreneur and philanthropist, and named in honor of his son.

This series was established in 1989 to provide the BVU campus community, Iowa and the Midwest with access to prominent world figures discussing current issues underlying American freedoms.