Condoleezza Rice at BYU: Improved education should be among top priorities for U.S.

Published: Thursday, Jan. 13 2011 3:58 p.m. MST

"As educated people you have a responsibility to be optimistic," she said. "If you can't be optimistic given all the opportunities you have, then who can be?"

Rice spoke to a packed Marriott Center, some students arriving as early as 9:20 a.m. for the 11:05 a.m. lecture.

"She's just very articulate about explaining what's going on," said Britt Chapman, a graduate student in the MBA program whose early arrival earned him a front-row seat. "You feel like someone who is really intelligent (was) leading."

Rice's visit was met with about 15 protesters, who said they were demonstrating against her policies, which they said led to an immoral and illegal war with Iraq.

"Iraq posed no threat to us, and so we feel like her war was criminal," said the group's leader, William Van Wagenen. "I saw the misery and the suffering that resulted from this war and experienced some of that misery myself.  I've had friends who have been killed and a lot of Americans don't know the misery and destruction this war has caused."

But overall, those who heard the speech said they were impressed with Rice.

On Friday, Rice, a classically-trained pianist, is scheduled to perform with the Muir Quartet at Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City to benefit the Deer Valley Music Festival.

E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com

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