Birmingham native Condoleezza Rice was born during the height of segregation in the south. She credits her childhood during that time for teaching her about determination over adversity.
She has become the first African-American woman to be U.S. secretary of state.
"She will stand as an example all over the world for women," said Dr. Mark Griffith, a professor of political science at the University of West Alabama in Livingston. "She is an example of the great diversity of our country. She is an example of the future leadership of the world."
Her past experience on the National Security Council under the elder President Bush and her role as National Security Advisor for the past four years under the current administration can be viewed as a major advantage for the White House.
Her position might have changed, but White House policies concerning Iraq and the War on Terror will most likely stay the same for another four years, according to experts.
"At least the policy of the U.S. won't undergo some radical shift, making both our friends and foes uncertain of what our goals are going to be," said UWA history professor, Dr. Richard Schellhammer.
Rice's confirmation for secretary of state at 85-13 may have seemed one-sided, but it was the largest vote against a secretary of state nominee since 1825.
Twelve Democrats and one independent voted against Rice, arguing that, as a main architect of U.S. policy in Iraq, she shares the blame for alleged mistakes made there.