2024 Semper Fidelis Award Dinner Postponded until Spring 2025


Marine Corps University Foundation elects General John F. Kelly, USMC (Ret) as Chairman of the Board

The Trustees of the Marine Corps University Foundation have elected General John F. Kelly, USMC (Ret), as Chair of our Board, succeeding Lieutenant General Rich Mills, USMC (Ret), with immediate effect. General Mills will remain the Foundation’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

About General John F. Kelly, USMC (Ret): General Kelly has served our nation as White House Chief of Staff, the 5th Secretary of Homeland Security, Commander, United States Southern Command and as a General in the United States Marine Corps. Born and raised in Boston, he retired from active-duty military service after 45+ years in the Marines, in 2016.

General Kelly enlisted in the Marines in 1970, was assigned to infantry and was discharged as a sergeant to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts (Boston). Following graduation in 1975, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Marines, again in infantry. During active duty he earned his MA degree in National Security Affairs from Georgetown University, and MS degree in National Security from the National Defense University. His formal military training includes The Basic School (1976), the U.S. Army’s Advanced Infantry Officer’s Course (1981), the Marine Corps Command & Staff College (1991), the Marine Corps School for Advance Warfighting (1992), the National War College (1995), Capstone (2004), Joint Force Land Component Commander Course (2006), and Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course (2007).

As an officer, General Kelly served in numbers of command and staff positions to include sea duty, instructor duty at The Basic School, command of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and duty on Capitol Hill as the Commandant’s liaison to the U.S. Congress. He also served as the Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR), in Mons, Belgium.

After his SACEUR tour, he returned to the United States in 2001 and was assigned duty as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, with the 2nd Marine Division. In 2002, selected to the rank of Brigadier General, General Kelly was assigned to the 1st Marine Division as the Assistant Division Commander. Much of the next two years was spent deployed fighting in Iraq. He then returned to Headquarters Marine Corps as the Legislative Assistant to the Commandant from 2004 to 2007.

Promoted to Major General, he returned to Camp Pendleton as the Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). The command deployed to Iraq in early 2008 for a year-long mission as Multinational Force-West in Al Anbar and western Ninewa provinces.

After returning home and being confirmed as a Lieutenant General he commanded Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North from October 2009 to March 2011. He then served as the Senior Military Assistant to two secretaries of defense, secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, from March 2011 to October 2012, before being nominated for a fourth star and command of the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), a position he held until January 2016.

On 20 January 2017, having been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he assumed duties as the Secretary of Homeland Security. On 31 July 2017 General Kelly was asked by President Donald Trump to assume the duties of the White House Chief of Staff, a position he held until January 2019.

About the Marine Corps University Foundation: The Marine Corps University Foundation, principally through its financial assistance to the Marine Corps University (MCU), supports MCU’s advanced national security training and education of United States Marines, along with MCU students from other Department of Defense components, civilian agencies, and international armed forces.

Through its resident and non-resident programs, MCU develops the professional competence of Marine leaders and its other students. Graduates are prepared to perform with increased effectiveness in service, joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environments at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war, as leaders across the broad range of military operations.

MCU, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award masters degrees, consists of six colleges and schools, nine programs, seven academic support elements, a history division, and a national museum. Schools: Marine Corps War College; Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting; Marine Corps Command and Staff College; Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School; Marine Corps College of Distance Education and Training.

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