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Lieutenant General (USAF-Retired) and NBA Senior Vice President Michelle D. Johnson to Address American Public University System Class of 2019 Commencement

Charles Town, W. Va., April 1, 2019American Public University System (APUS) today announced that Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson (USAF-ret), senior vice president and head of referee operations for the National Basketball Association, will present the keynote address at its 2019 commencement. The graduate and undergraduate ceremonies are scheduled for May 11 at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., respectively, at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, MD.

In her current role, Lt. Gen. Johnson directs the NBA’s officiating program with responsibility for the recruitment, training, development and evaluation of all referees. She joined the NBA in October 2017 after serving with distinction in various Air Force assignments, most recently for four years as the Air Force Academy’s 19th superintendent. She was the first woman to hold the position, equivalent to college president, and upon her retirement, she received the Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service to the government in a duty of great responsibility.

“We’re honored that Lt. Gen. Johnson will be present at this year’s ceremonies to help recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our diverse, global student body of servicemembers, veterans and public servants,” said APUS Provost Dr. Vernon Smith. “Her own accomplishments in both service to our country and in athletics are truly an inspiration to adult learners everywhere seeking to realize their full professional and personal potential.” A command pilot with more than 3,600 flight hours, Lt. Gen. Johnson was the Air Force aide to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton from 1992-94. She also served as the Air Force’s director of public affairs from 2005-07, deputy director for information and cyberspace policy on the Joint Staff from 2007-09 and NATO’s deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence from 2011-13, among other positions.

Previously, she was the Air Force’s first female cadet wing commander, first female Rhodes Scholar and first female inductee into the College Sports Information Directors of America’s Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 2007.

Lt. Gen. Johnson is a distinguished 1981 graduate of the Air Force Academy, where she was a three-time basketball team captain, second leading scorer in school history and the first woman inducted into the Air Force Sports Hall of Fame in its inaugural class of 2007.

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About American Public University System

American Public University System, recipient of the Online Learning Consortium's (OLC) Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and five-time recipient of OLC's Effective Practice Award, offers more than 200 online degree and certificate programs through American Military University and American Public University.  More than 80,000 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, visit