RADM Michelle Howard Keynote Available via Video Link

CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried

CSM’s 13th Winter Commencement Speaker Tells Inspirational Personal Stories

The College of Southern Maryland announces the release of video links for the keynote address given by Rear Admiral Michelle Howard, as well as for Winter Commencement and Nurses Recognition held on Jan. 12. The video links are accessible via CSMTube on the college’s website at www.csmd.edu, or through CSM’s coverage of the 13th Winter Commencement at www.bit.ly/zZp0As.

            Howard, chief of staff to the director for strategic plans and policy, was the first African American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy. She told CSM students and guests about her personal challenges and her outlook on life.

            “We all assess our lives in different ways. And how we define ourselves is germane to the discussion. But we frequently also define success in terms of how others see us,” she said during commencement.  Howard recalled to graduates a time that she was asked to speak with elementary students about her job as commanding officer of the USS Rushmore.

            “After introducing myself the youngsters were allowed to ask questions. Thankfully they were easy with me at first. I was able to answer with confidence good questions like ‘Why are Navy ships gray?’ and ‘Do you see dolphins at sea?’ Then, a young boy stood up. He started with, ‘How can you be in command of a ship? You’re…you’re…’ and he paused searching for words. In that two-second pause, so much went through my mind. Was he going to comment on me being a woman? And then I found myself praying, ‘Dear God, please do not let this child ask me about my heritage.’ And then he continued, ‘How can you be in command of a ship? You’re short?’ Wow. Life’s success is not about your height. Life’s success is about aspiring to the heights. So how do you manage that successful climb, and how do you overcome the challenges on this journey of life?”

            Howard is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Army’s Command and General Staff College, with a master’s degree in military arts and sciences.