U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to Deliver LSU’s Commencement Address

04/02/2014 10:06 AM

BATON ROUGE – Ray Mabus, the 75th United States Secretary of the Navy and leader of America’s Navy and Marine Corps, will deliver the keynote address during LSU’s spring commencement exercises on Thursday, May 15, at 7 p.m. The ceremony will take place in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Individual diploma ceremonies for each college will be held at various times and locations on campus on Friday, May 16. Please visit www.lsu.edu/commencement for more information on the times and locations of the diploma ceremonies.

“We are excited to welcome Secretary Mabus to campus to speak at our spring commencement,” said LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander. “He brings a wealth of leadership knowledge and experience that will be beneficial for our graduating class to hear, and we look forward to his talk and the advice he gives to our students.”

As Secretary of the Navy, Mabus is responsible for conducting the affairs of the Department of the Navy, including recruiting, organizing, equipping, training and mobilizing.  Additionally, he oversees the construction and repair of naval ships, aircraft and facilities, and formulates and implements policies and programs consistent with the national security policies established by the president and the secretary of defense. Mabus is responsible for an annual budget in excess of $170 billion and leadership of almost 900,000 people.

Upon assumption of office and throughout his tenure, Mabus has prioritized improving the quality of life of sailors, marines and their families, decreasing the department’s dependence on fossil fuels, strengthening partnerships and revitalizing the Navy’s shipbuilding program.  

Leading the world’s only global Navy, Mabus has traveled more than 800,000 miles to more than 95 countries to maintain and develop relationships with national and international officials and visit with sailors and marines forward deployed or stationed around the world.  He has traveled to Afghanistan on 12 separate occasions, in recognition of the sacrifice and service of sailors and marines deployed in combat zones.  

To prepare service members and their families for the high tempo operations of today’s Navy and Marine Corps, Mabus announced in 2012 the “21st Century Sailor and Marine” initiative, designed to build and maintain the most resilient and ready force possible.  

Mabus also directed the Navy and Marine Corps to change the way they use, produce and acquire energy, and set an aggressive goal that the Navy and Marine Corps obtain at least 50 percent of their energy from alternative sources by no later than 2020. In pursuit of that goal, the department has achieved several milestones. In 2012, President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that the Department will purchase or facilitate the production of 1GW of renewable energy for use on Navy and Marine Corps installations. The Navy also demonstrated the Great Green Fleet in 2012, a carrier strike group in which every participating U.S. Navy ship and type of aircraft operated on alternative energy sources including nuclear energy and biofuels.

Mabus has made increasing the size of the Naval fleet and protecting the industrial base a top budget priority of the department. During his tenure, the Navy went from building fewer than five ships a year to having more than 40 ships under contract, most of them in fixed-price, multi-year deals that assure value for taxpayers, certainty for industry partners and strength for our nation.  

In June 2010, as an additional duty, Obama appointed Mabus to prepare the long-term recovery plan for the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Mabus’ report was released in September 2010 and met with broad bi-partisan support with most recommendations passed into law by Congress as the Restore Act. Included in the legislation was a fund to aid in the Gulf Coast’s recovery by distributing 80 percent of any civil penalties awarded as a result of the damage caused by the disaster. To date, civil penalties total more than $1 billion.

Before his appointment, Mabus held a variety of leadership positions. From 1988 to 1992, Mabus served as governor of Mississippi, the youngest elected to that office in more than 150 years. Mabus was ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1994-1996 and later was chairman and CEO of a manufacturing company.

Mabus is a native of Ackerman, Miss., and received a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Mississippi; a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University; and a law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.  After Johns Hopkins, Mabus served in the Navy as an officer aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock.

For more information on LSU’s commencement exercises, visit www.lsu.edu/commencement.

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, April 2, 2014