13 August 2014

Navy Admiral McRaven is Going Back to School


Last spring, Navy Admiral William McRaven, commander of U.S. special operations, took the stage at the University of Texas commencement and gave the keynote address to the Class of 2014. In his speech, he described ten valuable life lessons learned from his time in the Navy, especially with the Navy SEALs. They ranged from making your bed every morning in order to build habits of discipline to measuring a person’s character by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers. 

McRaven gained national attention for his insightful speech, even inspiring conversation here on RallyPoint. Clearly, he is a leader who is respected in his profession as well as in civilian life. This respect was honored when the committee in charge of the UT system elected to have McRaven take control of the university system. 

Although he has no experience in higher education, the University of Texas’ board of directors believe McRaven’s leadership skills will carry the day. Board Chairman Paul Foster said, “This job is a huge administration job that requires administration and leadership skills. We felt that [McRaven’s] role was more one of management than academia.” 

McRaven is retiring from the military in August and he will begin his tenure as chancellor in January of 2015. McRaven said he is excited to return to his alma mater, from which he graduated in 1977 with a journalism major.

McRaven is a shining example of a service member who found a way to channel his experiences in the military into a fruitful and productive role as a civilian. Obviously, a soldier of his rank and experience is highly sought after in a myriad of roles because of his leadership skills, but lessons can still be learned from his path. He applied his sharpest skills to the transition process, leading a hierarchical institution which parallels the military in some ways. He will still be able to mould those beneath him to become strong leaders and influencers in their own right, and he will have great influence in a state with robust ROTC programs and deep military history. 

What are your thoughts on Admiral McRaven and his transition to chancellor of the University of Texas? Have you had a chance listen to the Admiral’s speech

Weigh in on the discussion here and connect within the military community.

Image Copyright: University of Texas

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