Article By: Kenneth A. Stewart
Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, the Honorable Juan M. Garcia III, traveled to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) campus to serve as guest speaker for the investiture of university President retired Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route during a traditional academic ceremony in King Auditorium, April 23.
“Today is a significant step in NPS history,” said Garcia. “It is a pleasure to be here at one of the Navy’s crown jewels … the intellectual center of our Navy’s defense strategy.”
Speaking prior to the investiture ceremony, Garcia, who counts a visit to NPS’ Herrmann Hall at his father’s side as one of his earliest childhood memories, spoke of the care that was taken in the selection of Route as the institution’s president.
“We were looking for an experienced flag officer with both academic and operational experience and who, preferably, was an NPS alumnus. We also hoped to find someone with previous IG [Inspector General] experience; Adm. Route met all of those criteria,” said Garcia.
“Adm. Route also brings a level of diplomacy to NPS that we thought would be valuable to the institution … if you were to draw out the ideal NPS president on paper, it would look a lot like Ron Route,” Garcia continued.
Members of the NPS Board of Advisors, Congressmen Sam Farr as well as local, civic, academic and retired military leaders attended the investiture ceremony.
“We are grateful to be a part of this community. You honor us with your presence,” Route noted as he began his own remarks.
Route was quick to emphasize that the ceremony, an academic tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages, was a celebration of the institution as a whole, an honor he took very seriously.
|Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan M. Garcia III, NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route and university Provost Dr. Douglas Hensler, pictured above from left, prepare for the ceremony honoring the investiture of NPS President Route in King Auditorium, April 23.|
“This ceremony is not about me. This is about NPS – our students, our faculty and our staff – and our future together,” Route said.
“Together, we have this great convergence of experienced and operationally savvy students, of a world-class faculty focused on graduate education and relevant research, and a first-rate staff of military and civilian professionals; all of whom truly enable our mission here at NPS,” he continued. “This convergence is unique – there is truly nothing like it anywhere else in the world.”
Route concluded his remarks by graciously thanking the large contingent of university faculty in attendance.
Garcia’s visit to the university campus concluded with a town hall meeting with NPS students, faculty and staff in the Barbara McNitt Ballroom. Garcia reflected on the transition that NPS has undergone over the last year, noting that if there was one “shining truth that has emerged,” it is the broad recognition of NPS as “a uniquely precious resource for our nation’s security.”
He stressed how today’s investiture ceremony “at least symbolically” closes a chapter and begins a new era at the Navy’s premiere graduate institution.
“This school takes Sailors, gets them academically up to speed and prepares them for the future, that's what makes this place special,” continued Garcia. “I think we have the mission right, as the CNO [Chief Naval Officer] likes to say, ‘NPS is where we grow our jedis.’”
Garcia also engaged in a candid discussion about the value of an NPS education, referencing the importance of remaining on the competitive edge and conducting research to the benefit of both NPS students and their faculty. He stressed the accuracy of the institution’s mission as outlined in Navy instruction, and its core primary functions have changed since they were outlined in Federal law in 1947.
During remarks made earlier in the day, he spoke specifically about the institution’s recent research requirements fair hosted by the Naval Studies Program, an initiative that brought together NPS students and Navy stakeholders in an effort to match student theses objectives with Navy requirements.
“Sometime people from outside the organization ask why we do not send our officers to civilian institutions like Stanford, which is just up the road … [the Navy Studies Program] is indicative of why NPS is the best place to bring them.”
NPS gives our officers a chance to leave the operational environment and come here to receive an education that makes them better officers and serves the Navy in the process, Garcia stressed.
Posted April 25, 2014