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Nov 09, 2013 10:59 AM EST

Penn State President Search Committee Was Turned Down by Condoleezza Rice

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Condoleezza Rice could have been the next permanent president of the Pennsylvania State University had she wanted to, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Confirmed by her chief of staff, Rice turned down attempts from Penn State officials to entice her to take the job. Rice served as provost of Stanford University from 1993 to 1999, where she is still a professor of political science.

After that, she became the United States National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005. She then became the first African-American female Secretary of the State, serving under President George W. Bush.

"We received a request about this position through a search firm," Georgia Godfrey, Rice's chief of staff, told the Inquirer Friday. "Our office declined on her behalf, since she intends to remain at Stanford. Penn State is a fine institution, and Dr. Rice wishes the search committee the very best."

Rumors swirled Penn State's Board of Trustees were ready to announce and introduce the school's next permanent president last Friday, but instead had to delay the search. There is no indication to suggest Rice turning down her offer caused the delay. School officials said they will not reveal the identity of the candidate who fell through.

Lisa Powers, a spokeswoman for Penn State, declined to comment in detail.

"It's a confidential process," she said, adding the search firm "is reaching out pretty broadly."

Rodney Erickson is currently serving as president of Penn State in wake of Graham Spanier's resignation. Spanier was left with no choice but to resign after the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal broke because evidence strongly suggests the former president was one of numerous administrators who knew of the allegations and did nothing at the time.

Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz are all set to stand trial for an alleged organized cover-up of Sandusky's crimes.

Rice, on the other hand, reportedly turned down the offer in part so she could stay on Stanford's staff. She has also been confirmed as a member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. A professed Crimson Tide diehard, Rice will be part of a group tasked with choosing four teams to play for the BCS National Championship. The committee will begin work in 2014.

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