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By Ensign Jill Ryan, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Nov. 19, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. – Eighty-seven students from the College of Naval Warfare (CNW) and College of Naval Command and Staff (CNCS) graduated Friday, Nov. 16, during a joint ceremony held at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC).

Professor Marc Genest, the keynote speaker and the Forrest Sherman Chair of Public Diplomacy in the Strategy and Policy Department and co-director of the Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Group here at the NWC, thanked the graduates for making him a better teacher and scholar.

“My respect and admiration for the sacrifices that you and your families make in serving your country deepens each day that I work here,” said Genest. “You and all of the students whom came before you whose selfless dedication to a cause greater than yourself is truly breathtaking to behold.”

Genest encouraged students to augment their practical experiences with their study of history, politics and culture.

“I hope you have taken full advantage of the opportunity to study these subjects here at the War College.

“As you leave these gates and return to your lives … I am confident that you will be in a position to take what you learned here and apply it to the complex and wide array of challenges that you will face in the rest of your careers.”

Capt. Raymond Keledei, dean of students, followed the keynote address with the introduction and award of the distinguished honor graduates – Lt. Cmdr. Danielle Lukich, from the CNCS, and Cmdr. John Buser , from the CNW.

“I have to admit, when I started at the War College I was primarily interested in getting a break,” said Lukich. “But what I didn’t quite understand last October when we started this course of study, was the amount of reflection that we would get while we were here and the tools the War College would provide. So thank you War College for both the rest and time to reflect.”

Buser followed up with some reflection of his own, citing what a former Air Force general once told him, but never really understood, while serving on The Joints Staff at the Pentagon.

“My experience here [at the NWC] connected those dots. I now know how spot on the general’s advice really was – Think strategically. Be creative. Build relationships of trust.”

Genest joined NWC president, Rear Adm. John Christenson, in presenting diplomas to the 87 graduates. In keeping with the tradition of NWC graduation ceremonies, Christenson gave graduates a final “charge” or challenge as they leave the college for higher leadership assignments.

“You are returning to harm’s way,” said Christenson. “You go back there and discharge those duties always with ethics and character at the forefront of how you discharge your leadership. You are teaching all the time by your actions.”

The November graduating class included 78 U.S. Navy, seven U.S. Army, one U.S. Air Force and one U.S. Marine Corps graduates.

Graduation photos are available at

Edited and posted by Dan Marciniak