Emphasizing the power of collaboration and embracing the inevitable flux of change, the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) celebrated its 2023 Summer Quarter graduates on Sept. 22 during a ceremony at King Hall Auditorium.
U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Roberta L. Shea, Legislative Assistant to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, served as the keynote speaker for the 210 graduates, including 20 international students from 10 countries.
During her remarks, Shea challenged graduates to “race towards the future,” reminding them that today’s ever-changing global environment requires a new generation of leaders who aren’t afraid to think outside the box.
“We need leaders who are comfortable with uncertainty, who can sift through the noise, prioritize what information is relative, what's a fact, what's a hypothesis, what's a rumor, what's an urban legend?” Shea said. “We need bold thinkers who can drive change when necessary – even though the environment in which they operate embraces and even clings to the old ways, even when there's increasing evidence that what made you successful last year will not make you successful tomorrow.”
Shea expressed her belief that NPS is ideally suited to producing these future leaders.
“This is why I think the Naval Postgraduate School is so critical to our naval services and to our international partners,” she said. “While you've been here, you've rolled up your sleeves and gotten to the very business of our most vexing challenges as warfighters who understand the consequences of failing.”
Retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau, president of NPS, acknowledged the importance NPS graduates will have in advising decision-makers on important issues. She used legendary alumni such as Arleigh Burke, Wayne Meyer and Michael Mullen as examples.
“All of those leaders had NPS graduates on their staffs advising them how to make the decisions they had to make,” added Rondeau. “That’s who we are – we are those who can make a difference by what we bring to the problem.”
Rondeau also reminded the graduates that national security and global security are team efforts, requiring strong international partnerships and alliances. She spoke of the recently concluded NPS Regional Alumni Symposium in Singapore, which brought together NPS graduates from throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
“We need to realize that in the world today, it is the coalition of partners. It is allies. It is people who share a common value about the dignity and the prosperity of our countries in order to pursue a prosperous future that is open,” Rondeau stated. “We have that kind of richness here with us for international students. It is clear to me that the bonds made with each other here are really important.
“Our world is connected by oceans and our collective advantage at sea depends upon the strength of those alliances,” Rondeau added. “By design, we are an interservice, interagency, international institution, so we need to take advantage of that and learn from each other.”
Shea pointed out to the graduates that not only have they learned from each other, their research at NPS has made a significant impact on the fleet and force. In closing, Shea urged the new alumni to never stop learning, and to continue their ongoing education with the same determination they exhibited while in Monterey.
“Challenge assumptions, scrutinize the status quo, and do it with the same science-based, factual approach you took here at NPS,” Shea said. “Find people who are unlike you and who are willing to tell you that no matter how confident you are in your conclusions, that you might be wrong, and encourage those people to come here to NPS.”
For more information about this latest class, visit the NPS Graduation website at https://nps.edu/graduation.