BETHANY, W.Va. – Retired Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, former Chief of Naval Operations, will be the keynote speaker at Bethany College’s 2016 Commencement Ceremony in the Pennington Quadrangle May 14.
“Admiral Greenert has served our nation with valor for the last 40 years,” said Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg, President of the College. “We are honored that he will join us on campus to address the members of the class of 2016. As they prepare to go out into the world, his distinguished military career provides an excellent example of the importance of service and leadership for our students.”
Prior to retiring from the Navy after a 40 year career in October 2015, Greenert served as Chief of Naval Operations for four years. The CNO is the most senior uniformed officer in the Department of the Navy (unless the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is a Navy officer) and functions as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a military adviser to the Secretary of the Navy, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, the Secretary of Defense and the President.
Greenert, a native of Butler, Pennsylvania, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975 with a B.S. in Ocean Engineering and completed studies in nuclear power for service as a submarine officer. Upon graduation he was commissioned as an Ensign and went on to serve aboard the USS Flying Fish, the USS Tautog, and as executive officer of the USS Michigan.
Greenert’s first command came aboard the USS Honolulu and was followed by commands including service as commander of Submarine Squadron 11 at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, California; chief of staff for the commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, in Yokosuka, Japan; and commander, U.S. Pacific Command, representative to Micronesia/commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas.
After serving as director of the Operations Division in the Navy Comptroller Office, Greenert served as deputy and chief of staff of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Honolulu, Hawaii, and as commander of the Seventh Fleet, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet.
In 2006 Greenert returned to the Pentagon to serve for a year as deputy chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources and then as commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command before serving a two year assignment as vice chief of Naval Operations. On September 23, 2011, Greenert became the 30th Chief of Naval Operations.
He is a recipient of various personal and campaign awards including the Distinguished Service Medal (6 awards), Defense Superior Service Medal and Legion of Merit (4 awards) and in 1992 he was awarded the Vice Admiral Stockdale Award for inspirational leadership.
Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.