NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert delivered the keynote address to graduating U.S. and international students and their guests at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC), June 21.
"Be bold in thought, be confident in your actions, and be accountable and committed to the institution," said Greenert.
In an event that was live-streamed to a worldwide audience, Greenert told students that they are the current and future leaders of their respected nations.
"You are here because your nation, your service, believes in you, and believes that you have potential and you will be a leader," said Greenert.
With leaders from five services, 17 agencies and 75 nations making up this year's graduating class, students in residence and through NWC's distance education programs were exposed to unique cultures and different ways of doing things. It was these differences that Greenert asked students to build upon.
"You've studied history, you've learned new skills, and you've made friends," said Greenert. "If I leave you one thing, it's the friends piece. Never underestimate the friends you make in these international fora that you have here today."
These sentiments were echoed by NWC President Rear Adm. John N. Christenson.
"You depart with greater trust and confidence in your fellow services, and in your international partners," said Christenson. "You are ready now to begin the rest of your careers and the rest of your lives ... ready to think and ready to lead."
For students, that's exactly what makes the NWC experience invaluable - the international and interagency friendships and bonds that are created during their studies.
"It's a testament to the awesome classmates I met here that has made this the best experience of my career," said graduating resident student Adrienne Galanek, a foreign service officer with the Department of State. "I learned so much from them and was impressed by them every single day."
Lt. de vaisseau Abdoul Aziz Sy, an international student with the Senegalese navy, agrees.
"This was a wonderful experience. I learned a lot and I think it will be the best training I've done in my career," said Sy. "I will miss friends I met here, but who knows, maybe we will meet again someplace, somewhere."
In addition to the 310 U.S. and 130 international resident graduates, 1,105 students completed their coursework through the College of Distance Education (CDE). The CDE program includes the NWC Monterey Program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., from the 20 fleet center locations that comprise the Fleet Seminar Program, and the web-enabled, CD-ROM and correspondence programs.
U.S. students receive either a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies, accredited by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges, or an NWC diploma. Military graduates also earn Joint Professional Military Education credit.
After the presentation of diplomas, Christenson left students with one final "charge."
"To whom much is given, much is expected," said Christenson. "From you, we now expect the best."
Photos and video from Friday's ceremony can be found at http://www.usnwc.edu/graduation2013.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Naval War College, visit www.navy.mil/local/nwc/.