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NPS Foundation Director Honored at Celebration of Life Service
U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya

NPS Foundation Director Honored at Celebration of Life Service

By Javier Chagoya

NPS Foundation Executive Director Suzanne Fortune was remembered during a Celebration of Life memorial on the Herrmann Hall Quarterdeck, Oct. 14. Fortune passed away Sept. 17 in Carmel, Calif., with her husband Michael Fortune by her side. A gathering of family, friends and NPS faculty and staff, listened to Fortune, pictured above, recall moments in his wife’s career and life.

“When Suzy went to Vietnam as a Red Cross volunteer nurse, she was also preparing to take her law school admissions test. When the day came to take the test, a fire-fight broke out at the bridge that led to where the examination was to be administered. And she could absolutely not miss the appointment time,” recalled Fortune. “Undeterred, Suzy directed her driver to go to a helicopter landing strip where she knew one of the pilots. Luckily, he was there and willing to fly her over the river just in time to take her test.”

This was just one of the many anecdotal stories that was emblematic of Suzanne Fortune’s determination in service of her country. Although accepted by Stanford and Berkeley law schools, she chose to attend the Air Force Officer Training School in 1973. A notable 24-year career as an Air Force officer followed, retiring as a full Colonel in 1997.

Upon retirement, Fortune worked for NPS’ Center for Civil-Military Relations. She also became an NPS Foundation trustee and eventually took on the job as executive director. And although her tenure in that position was brief, she left an indelible legacy and personal touch on the Foundation and its staff.

“Working with Suzanne every day was a privilege and honor. She led her team with wisdom, humor and tenacity,” said Foundation Director of Development and Major Gifts Tracy Cullinan. “She led by example, and during her tenure as Executive Director, she was instrumental in implementing and leading an innovative program which grants start-up funding to cutting-edge research projects at NPS. Through her efforts, 27 new and vital research projects were funded in 2016.

“To say Suzanne ‘did good’ as the executive director of the NPS Foundation is an understatement. She is greatly missed by the students, faculty and staff that she served,” said Cullinan
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October 2016

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