John R. Kroger is the first ever Chief Learning Officer of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Kroger came to the Department of the Navy from Harvard University, where he served as Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, Hauser Leader in Residence at the Kennedy School of Government, and Research Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics.
Mr. Kroger began his professional career at age seventeen when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served from 1983 to 1986, primarily in the 1st Recon Battalion. His military service included deployments aboard the USS Peleliu and USS Blueback.
After his military service, Kroger attended Yale University, where he received both B.A. and M.A. degrees in philosophy after four years of study. He graduated magna cum laude with Distinction in Philosophy and was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar and National Endowment of the Humanities Younger Scholar. After graduation, Kroger worked as a legislative assistant to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and senior policy analyst at the U.S. Treasury.
Kroger received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1996. After a clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Kroger served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York. He was lead counsel in more than two hundred federal criminal cases involving mafia leaders, Enron executives, and drug kingpins. In September and October 2001, he worked on the emergency legal team responding to the 9/11 terror attack. In 2008, Kroger was elected Attorney General of Oregon after winning the nominations of both the Democratic and Republican parties. As Attorney General, Kroger argued two cases before the United States Supreme Court, testified twice before Congress, and created new units to prosecute environmental crimes and protect civil rights.
Mr. Kroger is an experienced teacher and higher education leader, having taught law, politics and philosophy at Harvard, Yale, and Lewis and Clark Law School. From 2012 to 2018, Kroger was President of Reed College, one of the nation’s most distinguished liberal arts colleges. During his tenure, Reed increased admission applications by over 100%, reformed the introductory humanities curriculum, received an A+ rating from Forbes for financial management, and added new majors in computer science, neuroscience, dance, comparative literature, and race and ethnic studies.
Kroger has received numerous awards and commendations for his law enforcement and education work. These include Harvard Law School’s Traphagen Distinguished Alumni award; Harvard’s Mark DeWolfe Howe Fellowship in Anglo-American Legal History; the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching; Lewis and Clark’s Levenson Award for Teaching Excellence (three time award winner); the U.S. Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney; ESGR’s Seven Seals Award for protecting veterans; and commendations from the FBI, DEA, and U.S. State Department. His book Convictions, about his work as a federal prosecutor, won the Oregon Book Award in 2008 and has been adopted at numerous law schools, including Harvard and Northwestern. Kroger is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.