U.S. Central Command Commander David Petraeus to speak at GGC Commencement in May

U.S. Army General David Petraeus, Commander of U.S. Central Command, will deliver the keynote address to the graduates of Georgia Gwinnett College during the commencement exercise in May.

U.S. Army General David Petraeus, Commander of U.S. Central Command, will deliver the keynote address to the graduates of Georgia Gwinnett College during the commencement exercise in May.

Gen. Petraeus, a four-star general, assumed the post of Commander of Central Command, headquartered at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa last year, after serving for nearly two years as the Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq where he planned and implemented the 33,000-troop surge that started in January 2007. It has been cited as a key factor in Iraq’s improved security. He also was the first commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and the NATO Training Mission-Iraq.

Central Command is responsible for a large swath of land stretching across the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa – as well as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the contentious areas of Pakistan.

“I am pleased that we were able to secure the college faculty’s recommendation of General Petraeus,” Dr. Alice Collins, chair of the GGC Speakers Committee said today after learning that Gen. Petraeus had accepted their invitation to address the college. “I am certain that the students and faculty here at Georgia Gwinnett will long remember the general and what he had to say at this commencement.”

Georgia Gwinnett has a speakers committee in place to invite notable individuals to address students, faculty and staff at the college on various occasions – including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Board of Regents Member Elridge McMillan and Dr. Milton Meltzer, senior health economist for the Centers for Disease Control.

Gen. Petraeus was commissioned in the infantry upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1974 and earned MPA and Ph.D. degrees in international relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has served as an assistant professor of international relations at the U.S. Military Academy and also completed a fellowship at Georgetown University. Prior to his most recent appointment by former President George W. Bush, Gen. Petraeus served as the first commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq and the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Training Mission – Iraq. He also was the General George C. Marshall Award winner as the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Class of 1983.

He has been awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with an oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal for valor, the State Department Distinguished Service Award, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, the French Légion d’Honneur and the Gold Award of the Iraqi Order of the Date Palm.

Gen. Petraeus and Georgia Gwinnett College President Daniel J. Kaufman, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general, are well-acquainted and taught together at the U.S. Military Academy.

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