By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kiona Miller, Naval District Washington Public Affairs
May 20, 2013

Hundreds of Naval War College students, professors and alumni gathered at the Washington Navy Yard’s Catering and Conference Center, to celebrate the end of an academic year during the annual Naval War College Dinner, May 9.

According to Dr. James Hickey, College of Distance Learning Director, the first dinner was held in 1987 as an opportunity for the students in the DC area to get together socially.

“It’s always an excellent opportunity to hear what more experienced officers have to say and listen to their experiences and learn,” said Lt. Abby Mennerich, Naval War College distance education student.

“It’s always exciting to finish a class after a very long year of hard work and studies and it’s nice to socialize with everyone outside of the classroom because it also develops that camaraderie that’s important for students and professors alike.”

The College of Distance Education began more than 25 years ago through the hands of Adm. Stansfield Turner. With only thirty students taking ‘off campus’ seminars, the program was just the beginning of extending the Naval War College beyond its home of Newport, Rhode Island. Today the program has enrolled more than 1,200 students at twenty different satellite campuses around the U.S.

“There is only a limited number of people that can go to the Naval War College because it can only accommodate a certain number of students,” said Charles Chadbourn, Professor of Strategy, Naval War College. “Adm. Turner’s genius is that he recognized that and realized that it had to be expanded into the field.”

Every year the college hosts a guest speaker to present a lecture in honor of Phillip A. Crowl, one of the college’s most esteemed senior professors.

“What I hope the students take away from the guest speaker is that the fundamentals that they are learning in their classes, whether it be joint military operations, theater security decision making or strategies of war, [the topics] are designed to teach them to think critically and to ask the kinds of hard questions that these senior policy makers have to ask,” said Hickey.

This year’s guest speaker was the Honorable Dr. Richard J. Danzig former Chairman Board of Directors, Center for a New American Security and the 71st Secretary of the Navy.

“We are trying to build the habit of mind that will serve them well if they rise to the level or work for people who are at the level of Dr. Danzig,” added Hickey.

Ellen Crowl, the daughter of Professor Crowl, also attended the dinner to honor her father’s legacy. She last attended the dinner in 2011 and expressed her father’s love for life and education.

“It’s outstanding, my father was born in 1914 and he died in 1991 and it’s always amazing that someone that would be 100 years old is still being honored,” said Crowl. “I enjoyed very much seeing my father’s name printed around; my father would be very pleased.”

Posted by Daniel S. Marciniak

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