Press Releases

NDU iCollege and DoD CIO Terri Takai Honor 279 Graduates

UNRELEASED | May 09, 2011

On Friday, April 29, 2011, 279 NDU iCollege students were honored with graduate certificates in information technology disciplines, Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and the Advanced Management Program (AMP) in a formal ceremony held at the NDU iCollege, located at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. Colonel Angelo “Tony” Riddick, NDU iCollege Professor, greeted guests as the Master of Ceremonies and gave the Invocation. He introduced the Chancellor of the NDU iCollege, Dr. Robert D. Childs, and announced the arrival of graduates and the official party. After the National Anthem played and the ceremonial Parade of Colors was presented by the Armed Forces Color Guard of the Military District of Washington, Dr. Childs gave welcome remarks and introduced Vice Admiral Ann Rondeau, President of the National Defense University, who congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments.

As Dr. Childs took the stage, he explained to the audience the importance of the education equation; having a team focus, understanding the political framework, and embracing technology to create and nourish a winning combination. He congratulated the students and thanked the families for their sacrifices. He also praised the NDU iCollege faculty and staff for providing the assistance to the students on achieving their educational goals.

Vice Admiral Ann Rondeau told the audience that “learning never stops.” She conveyed to the graduates, their families, and to the audience, that the “payback” of what they learned at NDU -- is the ability to “expand” upon their education to lead the nation and realize their organizations’ missions. She underscored that those that supported the students’ educational efforts -- their organizations and their countries-- are depending on the graduates as they re-enter their workplaces and begin to implement what they have learned.

Special guest commencement speaker, Teresa “Terri” M. Takai, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration/DoD Chief Information Officer, congratulated the NDU iCollege leadership, faculty and staff for creating programs that inspire the information technology community in a continually changing world. As she spoke to the graduates, she underlined “three lenses” for them to remember as they return to their positions and put into practice the new IT tools and techniques they learned at the NDU iCollege: 1) How do their ideas fit mission effectiveness, 2) Does the idea deliver value for the organization, and 3) Will the idea/ project keep information secure? Ms. Takai maintained that the mission to support the Warfighter and the populace depends on “persistence, passion and believing in your convictions.” She urged the students to keep up with technology and the tides of change, to be flexible, and to build trust and understanding as they move forward as leaders and in collaboration with colleagues.

During the ceremony, 28 AMP diplomas, 119 CIO certificates, 12 CFO certificates, 24 Enterprise Architecture Certificates, 219 Information Assurance Certificates, 27 Chief Information Security Officer Certificates, 12 Government Strategic Leader Certificates, 31 IT Project Management Certificates, and five Organization Transformation Certificates were awarded.

Graduates represented the military, federal agencies, industry and international defense ministries from: The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of State, Defense Information Systems Agency, Department of Defense (Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, and Army and Air National Guard), Organization of the Joint Chief of Staff, Financial Management Service, General Services Administration, Department of Transportation, U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Energy Information Administration, Federal Trade Commission, Office of Personnel Management, Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, United States House of Representatives, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Defense University, Lockheed Martin Corporation, the Israeli Army, the Bulgarian Army, the Armenian Army, the Pakistan Army and Czech Republic Intelligence.

Also a tradition of the certificate graduation ceremony, several of the NDU iCollege’s private sector partners presented honorary awards to distinguished graduates as follows: Two distinguished graduates were recognized for educational excellence in the AMP program and the CIO program. Mr. Rich Haver of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s (AFCEA) presented the awards to Mr. Brian Robert Kessel and Colonel James P. Gfrerer. Mr. Zal Azmi, Sr. Vice President of CACI, presented an award on behalf of CACI to Mr. Jeffrey A. Naus for educational excellence in the Cyber Security Program (the NDU iCollege accepted the award on Mr. Naus’s behalf since he was unable to attend in person). Dr. Mark McGibbon, visiting NDU iCollege faculty chair from Lockheed Martin Corporation, presented an award on behalf of his company to Mr. Binny Thomas for educational excellence in the Enterprise Architecture Program. The IT Project Management distinguished graduate, Colonel Mark S. Kross, was recognized with the Robbins-Gioia Award by Brigadier General Robert Floyd, U.S. Army (RET.), Chief Strategy Officer, Government Services, Robbins- Gioia, LLC. The NDU iCollege accepted the award for Colonel Kross in his absence. The Advanced Management Program class 42 plaque was presented to Dr. Childs by Mr. Alan Balutis of CISCO on behalf of the Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). After the ceremony, graduates, faculty/staff and special guests celebrated with a luncheon reception sponsored by the NDU Foundation. More than 300 people attended the graduation including special guests: Susan Swart, CIO, and the U.S. Department of State; Lieutenant General Carroll Pollett, Director, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); and Rear Admiral Douglas McAneny, Commandant, National War College.

The NDU iCollege will also have its first Master’s Degree graduates that will be recognized in the National Defense University graduation ceremony on June 9, 2011.