U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients Honored

Mar 22, 2011, 14:01 ET from United States Naval Academy Alumni Association

ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a special ceremony before the entire Brigade of Midshipmen, the Superintendent, Vice Admiral Michael Miller '74, USN, and Admiral Steve Abbot '66 USN, (Ret.), chairman of the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, will recognize and honor four Naval Academy graduates for lifelong achievement with the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Award on Friday, March 25 at 4:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall at the Naval Academy. Each recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Graduate Award has demonstrated commitment to a lifetime of service and has made significant contributions to the Navy/Marine Corps and the nation.

The Naval Academy Alumni Association has proudly announced the 2011 recipients as: Rear Admiral Robert H. Shumaker '56, USN (Ret.); Dr. Bradford W. Parkinson '57; Lieutenant General Matthew T. Cooper '58, USMC (Ret.); and Mr. Corbin A. McNeill Jr. '62.

"Our 2011 Distinguished Graduates join an elite group of leaders who serve as a true example to today's midshipmen," said Byron Marchant '78, president of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association. "They have lived lives true to the Naval Academy mission and represent a range of achievement and service to the Naval Academy community and the country."

Rear Admiral Robert H. Shumaker, Class of 1956

After graduation from the Naval Academy, Shumaker attended flight school. While serving in Vietnam in 1965, he was shot down and taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese. For eight years, he was a Prisoner of War (POW) at the "Hanoi Hilton." He and ten of his fellow POW leaders, known as the "Alcatraz Eleven," spent three of those years in solitary confinement and in leg irons, enduring inhumane treatment and torture. Following his release, he was awarded two Silver Stars and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal with Combat "V." He then became a major project manager for precision-guided munitions at Naval Air Systems Command, and helped develop the High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM), Hellfire and the Maverick air-to-ground missile.

Dr. Bradford W. Parkinson, Class of 1957

Parkinson entered the Air Force as a second lieutenant and served for two decades. He earned a master of science in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. During his final assignment on active duty, he directed the effort to develop the Global Positioning System (GPS) and led the fight to gain Department of Defense (DOD) approval. For his efforts, he received the Defense Department Superior Performance Award as the best program director in the Air Force. He continues his work with GPS in the private sector, and today GPS is used by more than two billion people worldwide.

Lieutenant General Matthew T. Cooper, Class of 1958

Cooper entered the Marine Corps following graduation from the Naval Academy. During the course of his 35-year career, he served for 20 years in various command billets, including two Vietnam tours and as commander, Marine Corps Ground Reserve in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Following retirement from active duty, Cooper became president and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, which provides underprivileged children the opportunity to enjoy Christmas. Under his leadership, this once struggling organization is now a $200 million a year enterprise.

Mr. Corbin A. McNeill, Jr., Class of 1962

McNeill entered the submarine service after graduation from the Naval Academy, where he served for 20 years. He launched his civilian career with New York Power Authority and later served in senior executive positions at the Power Authority and Public Service Electric & Gas Co. McNeill went on to join PECO Energy, advancing to the position of chairman and CEO. Under his leadership, PECO was recognized as "Utility of the Year." McNeill led PECO in a merger with Unicom Corporation, forming Exelon Corporation, of which he served as chairman and Co-CEO until retirement.

The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association is a non-profit, independent, self-supporting corporation with more than 55,000 members. For more information on the program, this year's event and the 2011 honorees, please visit www.usna.com.

SOURCE United States Naval Academy Alumni Association