Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer presided over the Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) change of charge and investiture ceremony, Jan. 29, where retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau relieved retired Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route to become the 49th president of the university.
“The Naval Postgraduate School is a pre-eminent education and research institution. But to meet our strategic needs, it must continue to grow and evolve to meet the ever changing demand signal of a changing world.” said Spencer. “If the Navy Marine Corps Team is to continue its migration to a true continual learning enterprise, NPS must lead that migration as the primary educational and research based enterprise for partnering with the private sector, government and academia.”
During the ceremony, Spencer thanked Route for his strong and steady leadership and for setting the foundation for the next phase of growth for NPS.
“Under Admiral Route’s leadership, we’ve expanded our view and reach,” said Spencer. “We’re becoming more open to those organizations, both public and private, who want to come to NPS to build, innovate, develop, test and improve ideas, products and solutions with us. From the moment he set foot on campus as President, Admiral Route has been a major driving force in the evolution of the Naval Postgraduate School as an educational and research enterprise.”
As Route departs the university following his five-year term, he expressed a deep appreciation for the institution and its faculty, staff and students, past and present. Their efforts on behalf of the university, he said, provide exceptional value to the Navy and Marine Corps team, and the broader DOD as well.
“I have held this institution in the highest regard ever since I was a student here in the operations research program years ago,” Route said proudly.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of a team that fosters unique, transformational experiences for our students through education and research,” Route continued. “Education is so pivotal in our profession of arms. Thanks to all of you, NPS faculty and staff, our graduates are propelled to think creatively and critically, to innovate, and to be the agents of change our Navy and the Department of Defense need.”
While Route says he will regret not having the daily opportunities to work side by side with the NPS team, he looks forward to seeing the university continue to evolve and excel in its unique mission of graduate education and research.
“The Naval Postgraduate School is ready for Admiral Rondeau’s leadership, and for her to extend the impact of this prestigious institution across all of DOD,” Route said. “I look forward to seeing NPS continue to employ the highest standards of education and research, to innovate and partner, and above all, to produce the best graduates.”
Following Route’s remarks, Spencer presided over an honored academic tradition known as the investiture, formally transferring the authority of the school’s president from Route to Rondeau. With esteemed tradition and fanfare, he then proudly announced the university next president to the packed auditorium.
“In her 38 years in the Navy, she served her country at sea, in the air, on land, in the halls of NATO, and right up to the situation room at the White House, but it is as an educator that she has made her most enduring contribution,” said Spencer. “Admiral Rondeau brings with her an unparalleled record of leadership and achievement as a University President, change agent, officer and leader. I am confident she is the right person to take this institution and the Naval enterprise it serves to the next level.”
Rondeau comes to NPS with a broad range of leadership experience that will position her to excel as the institution’s next president, Spencer noted. A 38-year Navy veteran, Dr. Rondeau most recently served as president of the College of DuPage, a two-year community college network serving more than 28,000 students in Illinois, and previously served as president of National Defense University.
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to President Route for his resolute commitment to steadfast leadership,” said Rondeau. “He has firmly established the Naval Postgraduate School as an intellectual epicenter for innovation.
“The opportunity to help lead NPS is a true privilege,” she continued. “This is an exceptional institution, with a resident faculty expertise that remains unmatched across the DOD. These gifted faculty, endowed with a sense of service to this university’s calling, lead to an educational experience for our students that has no equal.”
Rondeau is a prior member of the university’s Board of Advisors, and just recently completed service on Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s Education for Seapower committee, providing her with a deep understanding of the Navy’s educational needs, and NPS’ responsibilities to them. Add to this a clear and concise vision from SECNAV, she adds, and her charge forward is clear.
“Secretary Spencer’s strategic vision and guidance for NPS is strong and clear,” Rondeau said. “With the clear support of Secretary Spencer, and the Chief of Naval Operations and Commandant of the Marine Corps, we will proudly move forward and take this university to the next level of effect.”
The Naval Postgraduate School provides relevant and unique advanced education and research programs to increase the combat effectiveness of commissioned officers of the naval service to enhance the security of the United States. In support of the foregoing and to sustain academic excellence, NPS will foster a program of relevant and meritorious thesis and research experiences for NPS students that informs the curricula, supports the needs of Navy and Department of Defense, and builds the intellectual capital of NPS faculty. To support the core Navy mission, NPS’ programs are inherently joint, inter-agency, and international.