The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) honored its 2023 Winter Quarter graduates during a commencement ceremony held in King Hall Auditorium, March 24.
NPS alumnus Vice Adm. John Mustin, Chief of Navy Reserve, served as the keynote speaker for the event recognizing 218 graduates, including 19 international students from 15 countries.
“This is a momentous day for all of you, it’s a proud day,” said Mustin, who graduated from NPS in 1996 with a Master of Science degree in Operations Research. “You’ve worked hard and you’ve likely overcome many obstacles, not the least of which were academic. The fact you’re here today celebrating this moment is a remarkable achievement in itself.
“But make no mistake – your real work starts today.”
The president of NPS, retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau, opened the ceremony by reminding the audience of other prestigious graduates who also walked the halls of NPS – including Mustin.
“Graduates, this is your day,” Rondeau said. “This is about you – it’s also about the alumni whose spirits and whose legacies and whose performance came before you.”
In his remarks, Mustin acknowledged the challenges that will be faced by NPS’ newest graduates in today’s constantly evolving global climate.
“Let’s be clear – based on historical norms, today’s security environment is increasingly competitive, it’s faster paced, it’s more complex than even five short years ago,” Mustin said. “And the things you studied here are even more in demand, more important, and a more critical path to global stability than ever.
“As you rejoin your operational forces, the nation is depending on you to apply what you learned here to immediately contribute and deliver integrated all-domain military power, and to maintain a clear-eyed resolve to compete, deter, and decisively win today.”
Mustin, who also holds a Master of Business Administration from Babson College, also encouraged the graduates to continue their education after leaving Monterey.
“While this may be the last thing you want to hear on graduation day, I will offer that you must never stop learning,” he noted. “Commit yourself to applying what you learned in the classrooms and lecture halls of the Naval Postgraduate School, commit yourselves to mastering your tradecraft … but also commit yourselves to the relentless pursuit of lifelong learning.”
In addition to the commencement festivities, the ceremony also featured the induction of another NPS alumnus, Chilean Navy Vice Adm. Alberto Soto, as the 27th member of the NPS Hall of Fame.
Soto, who earned his Master of Science degree in Operations Research from NPS in 2000, most recently served as the Chilean Navy’s Commander of Naval Operations. Soto’s leadership helped guide the Chilean Navy’s participation in several fleet exercises, events and operations, demonstrating partnership and collaboration between Chile and the U.S. Navy.
Soto was presented with his NPS Hall of Fame honors by Rondeau and Rear Adm. James A. Aiken, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and Commander, U.S. Fourth Fleet.
"I don’t consider this award as my award,” said Soto. "This is an award for my country and especially for my navy. I humbly thank you for this great honor and responsibility.”
The NPS Hall of Fame was established in 2001 to honor NPS' most distinguished alumni and friends who, through the attainment of positions at the highest levels of public service, have made the greatest contributions to society, their nations and to the institution.