Pennsylvania State University apparently was hunting for some star power in its new president.
The university-hired search firm tried to lure former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but was turned down.
Rice, who served under President George W. Bush and was the first female African American secretary of state, is a political science professor at Stanford University and a senior fellow on public policy at the Hoover Institution.
Rice's office confirmed the overture Friday.
"We received a request about this position through a search firm," said Georgia Godfrey, Rice's chief of staff. "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."