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Admiral Michelle Howard to Address American Public University System Class of 2015 Commencement

Admiral Michelle HowardCharles Town, W. Va., April 24, 2015 -- American Public University System (APUS) today announced that Adm. Michelle Howard will present the keynote remarks at its 2015 undergraduate commencement ceremony, June 13 at 3:00 p.m. at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, Md.  Adm. Howard, who currently serves as the 38th Vice Chief of Naval Operations, is the first African-American woman to achieve three- and four-star rank in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“It is a distinct honor and privilege to have Admiral Howard address our graduating class of 2015,” said Dr. Wallace E. Boston, APUS president and CEO. “Her accomplishments are truly a testament to human endeavor and set an exemplary standard for our students aspiring to advance their careers in either military or public service.” 

In addition to being the first African-American woman to achieve the rank of 4-star Admiral in the Navy, Adm. Howard has also achieved many other historical firsts throughout her naval career. She was the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, USS Rushmore (LSD 47).  She was also selected for the rank of rear admiral (lower half) in 2006, the first admiral selected from the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1982 and the first female Academy graduate selected for flag rank.

While serving on board USS Lexington (AVT 16), Adm. Howard received the Secretary of the Navy/Navy League Captain Winifred Collins award in May 1987 for outstanding leadership. She reported to USS Mount Hood (AE 29) as Chief Engineer in 1990 and served in the Persian Gulf War during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In January 1996, she became the Executive Officer of USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and deployed to the Adriatic in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, a peacekeeping effort in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. In addition, while deployed with Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 5, she supported tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia and maritime security operations in the North Persian Gulf.

Adm. Howard's shore assignments include: Action Officer and Navy’s liaison to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Military Services (DACOWITS) in the Bureau of Personnel; Action Officer J-3, Global Operations, Readiness on the Joint Staff from 2001–2003; Executive Assistant to the Joint Staff Director of Operations from February 2003 to February 2004; and Deputy Director N3 on the OPNAV Staff from December 2005 to July 2006.

Adm. Howard was Deputy Director, Expeditionary Warfare Division, OPNAV staff from July to December 2006, and senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy from January 2007 to January 2009. In April 2009, she assumed command of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 and Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), the flagship for CTF 151, a multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean. She served as chief of staff to the director for Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, Joint Staff from August 2010 until July 2012. From August 2012 to July 2013 then-Vice Adm. Howard served as Deputy Commander U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.

In addition to being a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Adm. Howard received a Masters in Military Arts and Sciences from the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998.

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About American Public University System
American Public University System, winner of the Online Learning Consortium's (OLC) Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and four-time recipient of the OLC's Effective Practice Award, offers more than 90 online degree programs through American Military University and American Public University. More than 100,000 students, and 50,000-plus alumni worldwide, have benefitted from APUS's relevant curriculum, affordability and flexibility in pursuing and earning degrees in a diverse variety of subjects.  For further information, visit

Brian Muys


American Public University System, recipient of the Online Learning Consortium's (OLC) Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and four-time recipient of the OLC's Effective Practice Award, offers more than 90 online degree programs through American Military University and American Public University. More than 50,000 alumni worldwide have benefited from APUS's relevant curriculum, affordability, and flexibility in pursuing and earning degrees in such areas as business, information technology, and security and global studies. For further information,