AUBURN – General Richard B. Myers, retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a graduate of Auburn Montgomery, will deliver the commencement address to Auburn University graduates at spring ceremonies May 10.
AU will award an estimated 2,687 degrees during two spring commencement ceremonies in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. A live video stream of the events will be available on the university’s Web site (www.auburn.edu/graduationlive).
A 10 a.m. ceremony will include the colleges and schools of Engineering; Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; Liberal Arts; and Sciences and Mathematics. During the morning ceremony, AU will also award an honorary doctor of science degree to C. Harry Knowles, a 1951 AU physics graduate. A 2 p.m. ceremony will be held for the colleges and schools of Agriculture; Architecture, Design and Construction; Business; Education; Human Sciences; and Nursing. AU’s professional schools, the School of Pharmacy and the College of Veterinary Medicine, hold separate ceremonies for their graduates.
Myers is the university’s first featured commencement speaker following a resolution passed by AU’s student government association in November as well as an initiative of AU President Jay Gogue to regularly bring nationally recognized and distinguished speakers to present the keynote address to AU graduates during commencement.
Myers retired as the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Oct. 1, 2005, after serving more than 40 years in the U.S. Air Force. During his term as Chairman, he served as principal military adviser to the President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council.
Myers led the U.S. Armed Forces during a time of great threat to the nation’s security. He began his term just a few weeks after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and was instrumental in guiding the U.S. strategy for the War on Terrorism. During his tenure as Chairman, the U.S. led international efforts to topple the Taliban and deny Al Qaeda safe haven in Afghanistan, and to defeat the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. He also oversaw the U.S. military’s role in relief efforts for the tsunami that struck the Pacific in December 2004, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Myers is a native of Kansas City, Kan., and a 1965 graduate of Kansas State University. He received a master of business administration from AUM in 1977. He attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala.; the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania; and the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Myers serves on several public and nonprofit boards and currently lectures nationally on national security issues and leadership. He is Foundation Professor of Military History and Leadership at Kansas State University and holds the Colin Powell Chair of Leadership, Ethics, and Character at National Defense University.
He served as Vice Chairman and Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has held command positions at every level, including Commander of U.S. Space Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Forces Japan and two fighter wings. A fighter pilot with over 4,100 hours, Myers logged more than 600 combat hours during the Vietnam conflict.
His legacy can be found throughout the U.S. Armed Forces and throughout the world: in the 50 million newly-freed people working to bring democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq, in countless lives saved from natural disasters and in a transformed military better prepared to protect the homeland and meet future threats.
He lives in the Washington, D.C., area with his wife, Mary Jo. He has two daughters and a son and, to his great joy, a growing number of grandchildren.