U.S. Naval Academy Announces 2021 Distinguished Graduate Awardees

3/25, 9:00 PM (Source: GlobeNewswire)

Annapolis, MD, March 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

U.S. Naval Academy Announces 2021 Distinguished Graduate Awardees
CEO of World’s Largest Biotechnology Company, Founder of One Ten
Most Combat-Experienced General/Flag Officer of Our Time, President of Brookings Institution
Founder of Naval Academy Minority Association, Men Aiming Higher
First Black Female Naval Academy Graduate, Founder of Boyz to Men
Combat-Wounded Veteran, Eight-time Paralympic Medalist, Youngest Awardee Ever

For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2022

ANNAPOLIS, MD—The United States Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation will honor five outstanding Naval Academy alumni at the 23rd Annual Distinguished Graduate Award ceremony on Friday, March 25, at 4:30 p.m. EDT in Alumni Hall at the United States Naval Academy. Each recipient has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to service, personal character, and distinguished contributions to our nation through the U.S. Naval Academy, the Navy, and/or the Marine Corps. This year marks the 100th recipient since the program began in 1999 – with a 75-year span between the oldest (’31) and youngest awardees (’06).

“With the Russia-Ukrainian conflict and other global security issues, reminding us of the importance of our Naval Academy mission, it is fitting that we honor these particular graduates, whose uniformed service on the front lines spans from the Cold War of the last Century to the war on terror in this century,” said Byron F. Marchant ’78, president and CEO of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation. “Each of our 2021 Distinguished Graduate Awardees have leaned in - time and again - to support our Navy, their communities of influence, and our great country.” 

The 2021 Distinguished Graduates are:

• Kevin W. Sharer ’70, retired chairman and CEO of Amgen, former faculty member at Harvard Business School, commissioning engineering officer on USS Memphis (SSN 691) and founding member, U.S. Naval Academy Foundation Board of Directors. Sharer is also founder of the organization, One Ten, which is committed to hiring one million young Black men and women into family sustaining jobs over the next ten years. Sharer resides in Vail, CO.

• General John R. Allen ’76, USMC (Ret.), former Commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, the first Marine to serve as Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy, and current president of the Brookings Institution. Allen is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the first U.S. Marine to command an active theater of war, and the most combat-experienced officer while serving as a General or Flag Officer. He was selected by President Barack Obama as a Special Presidential Envoy on issues surrounding the Islamic State. Allen resides in Alexandria, VA.

• Vice Admiral Derwood “DC” Curtis ’76, USN (Ret.), former Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Forces, the first Black officer to serve in that billet. He held six other operational commands; established and served as an advisor to numerous non-profit organizations; senior mentor of the Navy Football Brotherhood, longtime committee member of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees, and a founding member of the Naval Academy Minority Association. Among many other accomplishments after 35 years of distinguished service in uniform, Curtis founded Men Aiming Higher – a nonprofit to successfully mobilize at-risk young men as future leaders and thinkers. All four of his children are graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy. Curtis resides in Odenton, MD.

• Janie L. Mines, ’80, is the first Black woman to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and among the first 81 women admitted to the Academy in 1976. She is a former Senior Executive Service Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, book author, and Senior Vice President for Inclusion and Innovation at Academy Securities. She was an Olympic torch bearer; is a recipient of the prestigious Sloan Fellowship from the Massachusetts Institution of Technology; and served as founder and director of Boyz to Men – an organization which encourages young men to get an education and prepare for the future. Mines’ book No Coincidences – the story of her journey as the first Black woman to graduate from Annapolis is available now at www.nocoincidencesbook.com, or a the Midshipmen Store at the U.S. Naval Academy. Mines resides in Ft. Mill, South Carolina.

• Lieutenant Bradley W. Snyder ’06, USN (Ret.), conducted over 20 combat missions in just 6 months as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. On September 7, 2011, while rendering aid to Afghanistan special forces, an explosion inflicted multiple injuries including permanent blindness. Snyder was awarded a purple heart and bronze star with a Combat V for valor. He is an eight-time Paralympic medalist, including six golds on Team USA, has broken world records, and is the first U.S. man (Olympic or Paralympic) to win gold in a triathlon event. He was selected by his fellow alumni as one of the “50 Most Influential U.S. Naval Academy Graduates.” Snyder supports the Veterans Affairs Warrior Games alongside Britain’s Prince Harry. He is the author of the book, Fire in My Eyes, and a current Princeton University Ph.D. candidate with a goal of returning to the academy as the first-ever civil-military relations professor. Snyder resides in Princeton, NJ.

The ceremony will be attended by the Brigade of Midshipmen; Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Sean S. Buck, ’83, USN; Admiral Mark E. Ferguson III ’78, USN (Ret.), chair of the Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees; 17 other Naval Academy Distinguished Graduates; and other dignitaries. For more information, please visit https://www.usna.com/DGA.

The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association is a non-profit, independent corporation with more than 66,000 members, more than 80 active alumni classes, and more than 100 chapters around the world. For more information, visit www.usna.com.

Heather Epkins, Ph.D., Director of Strategic Communications
USNA Alumni Association and Foundation
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