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 Speaker Admiral McRaven

Admiral McRaven

Four-Star Admiral and Chancellor of the University of Texas

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About Admiral McRaven: 

Bill McRaven recently retired as a Four-Star Admiral after 37 years as a Navy SEAL.  His last assignment was as the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command during which time he led a force of 69,000 men and women with an annual budget of over ten billion dollars.

The U.S. Special Operations Command was responsible for conducting Counter Terrorism operations worldwide as well as building reliable military partners through programs that stressed the rule of law, universal rights, civil liberties and military professionalism.

In 2011, McRaven was the first runner-up for TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” and was subsequently selected by the Dallas Morning News as the “2011 Texan of the Year” for his leadership of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

McRaven is also a recognized authority on U.S. foreign policy.  During McRaven’s career he served two years on the National Security Council Staff under President George W. Bush.  As a three and four-star Admiral, he was routinely involved in national policy decisions during both the Bush and Obama administrations.

In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named McRaven one of the nation’s Top 10 foreign policy experts and later he was selected as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2014, Politico magazine also named McRaven one of the Politico 50 citing his leadership as instrumental in cutting though Washington bureaucracy. Forbes magazine additionally named McRaven to their list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in 2015.0

As the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, McRaven routinely engaged with the U.S. Congress.  While other elements of the Department of Defense were reduced during sequestration, by working closely with Congress, McRaven was actually able to grow the size of the special operations force.

McRaven graduated from the University of Texas in 1977 with a degree in Journalism and received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in 1991.  While at Monterey, he developed a military theory for why special operations succeed against seemingly impossible odds.  This theory was the basis for his graduate thesis which was subsequently published by Random House in 1995 under the title, SPEC OPSSPEC OPS continues to be one of the most widely read books on special operations in the military.

McRaven has lectured and given speeches all around the world.  Most recently his 2014 University of Texas at Austin Commencement Address received great acclaim and has been viewed more than 2.5 million times on YouTube.

McRaven is a 2012 University of Texas Distinguished Alumnus and has also been honored with The Union League of Philadelphia’s “Lincoln Award”, the National Defense University’s “American Patriot Award”, the USO’s “Man of the Year for 2013”, the Business Executives for National Security’s “Eisenhower Award”, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs’ “Distinguished Service Award”, the OSS Society’s “Donovan Award”, the Federal Law Enforcement’s Association’s “National Award”, the “National Intelligence Award” and the Republic of France’s “Legion d’Honneur”. He is also a member of the council on Foreign Relations.

McRaven is married to Georgeann Brady McRaven of Dallas, Texas.  They have three grown children; Bill, a major in the Air Force, Dr. John McRaven, a data engineer in a Palo Alto tech firm, and Kelly, a graduate student at Georgetown University.

McRaven has been chosen to succeed Francisco Cigarroa, M.D. as the Chancellor of The University of Texas System.

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