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First U.S. Female Fighter Pilot to Deliver Keynote at University of the Rockies 2013 Commencement Ceremony
Decorated military leader, visionary and gender equality pioneer to deliver keynote
University of the Rockies’ newest graduates will converge in a commencement ceremony on Sunday, October 27 at 2:00pm at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. This year’s graduating class will comprise 486 students with 219 graduates expected to walk at the ceremony.
Col. Martha E. McSally, retired United States Air Force colonel, United States Air Force Academy Distinguished Graduate, and prominent pioneer for gender equality in the military, will deliver the keynote address.
McSally, the first woman in U.S. history to command a Fighter Squadron in combat, earned national recognition for successfully overturning a military policy requiring all U.S. servicewomen to wear a Muslim Abaya and headscarf when off base in Saudi Arabia.
McSally is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and holds two Masters Degrees – one in Public Policy from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University, and one in Strategic Studies from the Air War College, where she graduated number one in her class of 261 senior military leaders. McSally was a Rhodes Scholarship regional finalist and White House Fellowship National Finalist.
She was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from Rhode Island College and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Center on Women in Policing. The Freedom Forum named McSally as one of three national winners of the 2002 Al Neuharth Free Spirit Award.
“Retired Col. McSally exemplifies extraordinary perseverance, determination and leadership,” Dr. Charlita Shelton, president of the University of the Rockies, said. “She truly personifies University of the Rockies’ core values of integrity, service, excellence and diversity.”
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