ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a special ceremony before the Brigade of Midshipmen, the Superintendent, Vice Admiral Michael Miller '74, USN; and Admiral Steve Abbot '66, USN, (Ret.), Board of Trustees chair of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association; will recognize and honor five Naval Academy graduates for lifelong achievement with the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Award on March 23 at 4:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall at the Naval Academy. Each recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Graduate Award has demonstrated commitment to a lifetime of service and has made significant contributions to the U.S. Naval Academy, Navy/Marine Corps and the nation.
The 2012 recipients are: Admiral Sylvester R. Foley Jr., '50, USN (Ret.); The Honorable Daniel L. Cooper '57; Captain Bruce McCandless II '58, USN (Ret.); Vice Admiral John R. Ryan '67, USN (Ret.); and Daniel F. Akerson '70.
"Our 2012 Distinguished Graduates join an elite group of leaders who serve as a true example to today's Brigade of Midshipmen," said Byron Marchant '78, president and CEO, U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation. "They are the embodiment of the Naval Academy mission and represent a range of achievement and service to the Naval Academy community and the country."
Admiral Sylvester R. Foley, Jr., class of 1950
Admiral Foley's three combat deployments to Southeast Asia included command of Attack Squadron 106 and Air Wing Eleven. He also commanded the USS CORONADO. Admiral Foley reported to the Pentagon as deputy director of Navy Strategic Planning following his leadership in the successful home porting of his ship, the USS MIDWAY, in Japan, a first for a U.S. carrier. After receiving three Distinguished Service Medals while serving as commander of Carrier Group Seven and the Seventh Fleet, Foley went back to the Pentagon as deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations before commanding the Pacific Fleet from 1982 until his retirement in 1985. Admiral Foley began a decade-long venture with Raytheon in 1991 which earned him Japan's highest honor, the Order of the Rising Sun.
The Honorable Daniel L. Cooper, class of 1957
The Honorable Cooper, who also served as assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Undersea Warfare, was commanding officer of the USS PUFFER as it successfully tested the new Mk 48 ADCAP torpedo. He also served as commander of the Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet and as a director for the Navy Federal Credit Union, president of the Naval Submarine League and on the advisory boards for the Applied Research Lab of Penn State University. In April 2002, Cooper was sworn in and earned the title of the Honorable Daniel L. Cooper while serving as undersecretary for benefits at the U.S. Department for Veterans Affairs. While serving as undersecretary, Cooper had direct oversight of the very successful Veterans Loan Guaranty Service, with foreclosure rates well below the national average; the improved and increased Servicemen's Group Life Insurance Program; and the modernization of the GI Education Bill.
Captain Bruce McCandless II, class of 1958
Captain McCandless, the first human to fly untethered in space, led the way to on-orbit servicing of satellites such as the Solar Maximum Mission, the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. He served in Fighter Squadron 102 from 1960 to 1964 in three deployments with the Sixth Fleet, including the Cuban Missile Crisis naval blockade, during which he flew night missions off Cuba to protect U.S. efforts to verify the presence of Soviet long-range missiles. His untethered solo flight while working as a mission specialist on Challenger STS 41-B in February 1984 earned him the Department of Defense Superior Service Medal and the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Award. Captain McCandless was inducted into the NASA Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2005. After a 32-year career with the Navy and NASA, he worked in the aerospace industry, retiring from Lockheed Martin in 2005.
Vice Admiral John R. Ryan, class of 1967
Admiral Ryan was designated as a naval aviator in 1968 and assigned to fly the P-3 Orion. Admiral Ryan went on to serve as commander of the Maritime Surveillance and Reconnaissance Force, U.S. Sixth Fleet; commander of Fleet Air Mediterranean; and commander of Maritime Air Forces, Mediterranean, headquartered in Naples, Italy. During his four-year tour as the 56th Superintendent, which began in 1998, Admiral Ryan developed a strategic plan that was used as the framework for the Academy's monumental $254 million Leaders to Serve the Nation campaign. He was also instrumental in the consolidation of several supporting entities into the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation. After his retirement from the Navy, Admiral Ryan joined the Naval Academy Foundation Board of Directors and in 2009 became chairman. Today Admiral Ryan is president and CEO of the Center for Creative Leadership, a nonprofit organization founded in 1970 and headquartered in Greensboro, NC.
Daniel F. Akerson, class of 1970
After serving aboard the destroyer USS DUPONT Akerson completed his service and earned a master's degree from the London School of Economics. Akerson later rose through the ranks of MCI Communications to become president and chief operating officer. As chairman and CEO of General Instrument Corporation, Akerson helped usher in the high-definition television era after the company won the U.S. standard for HDTV service. In 2003, Akerson joined the Carlyle Group where he became head of global buyout practices and managed more than $50 billion in assets and more than 200 portfolio companies with 600,000 employees around the world. The Treasury Department appointed Akerson to the General Motors board as it emerged from bankruptcy. As chairman and CEO, Akerson guided GM from bankruptcy to the largest initial public offering in history. A dedicated philanthropist, he received the 2010 McKenna Humanitarian of the Year Award from So Others Might Eat for his funding of Marguerite's Place, a Washington, D.C.-based community center named for his mother.
Established in 1999, the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association's Distinguished Graduate Award is presented by the Alumni Association to recognize living graduates of the Naval Academy who have provided a lifetime of distinguished service to the nation or armed forces, have made significant contributions to the nation via their public service, provided the Brigade of Midshipmen living role models for the Navy and Marine Corps core values and the value of a Naval Academy experience and have demonstrated a strong interest in supporting and advancing the Navy and/or Marine Corps and the United States Naval Academy.
The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association is a non-profit, independent, self-supporting corporation with more than 57,000 members, 75 active alumni classes, 100 chapters and 84 parent clubs around the world. For more information on the program, this year's event and the 2012 honorees, please visit www.usna.com.
Contact: Samantha Richer
U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association
SOURCE United States Naval Academy Alumni Association