2022 Chapter Trustee Update

Some news from Annapolis

Greetings North Texas!


There has been much activity lately by the Alumni Association Board of Trustees, with a Board meeting in December and another in late January. I wanted to provide an update as the North Texas trustee representative on the Board. I also want to highlight some things that not everyone knows. Part of the chapter trustee’s job is to bring information back from Annapolis to the Chapter.


Forgive the long message! I hope it is beneficial. (Plus, some cool USNA-related links on the bottom as a reward for reading all the way through)


First, some updates on the top leadership of the Alumni Association. Byron Marchant has announced his departure after 13 years as President and CEO of the Alumni Association and Foundation. A nationwide search is underway. Please see the link for details if interested in the job! Separately, we are grateful to have a new Chairman of the Board of Trustees, ADM Mark Ferguson, USN (Ret). We hope to get Mark here to North Texas in 2022. Please read about him here: https://www.usna.com/about/bot-ferguson. He’ll be leading the creation of the strategy for the coming decade.


As background, I chair the Governance Committee of the Board. The job of Governance is to ensure that the Alumni Association operates according to its governing documents – bylaws, operating manual, resolutions, and policies. Everything we do, we want to do properly. We are thankful to have two other North Texas alumni on Governance – Jim Schwab ’88, who represents the 80’s decade on the Board, and former NTX Trustee Matthew Elias, ’78. Governance expects a big workload this coming year – read below!


Naval Academy Campaign

Some of the biggest recent news is the completion of the Naval Academy Campaign. It raised over $540 million – by far the largest campaign we’ve done. Included with the last issue of Shipmate was a Campaign report. I strongly encourage everyone to read it. Please watch the short video at: https://youtu.be/qmiN8_TZidY


There are frequent comments from alumni, such as: Why should I give to the Naval Academy – it’s federally funded! Or, I’m not giving the Foundation more money for another statue or monument. I’m not a fundraiser, but the message I’ll pass along is: Donations to the Foundation support the mission of the Naval Academy in incredible ways. The Superintendent considers the support provided through the Foundation to fund his “margin of excellence”. Federal funding gets us a “good” Naval Academy, but it’s items that our donations support that help make the Academy "great".


Some examples:

  • Midshipman Center for Academic Excellence: This is directly contributing to lower academic attrition at USNA. They log over 50,000 appointments each year. This is a major effort led by the class of 1963.
  • Cyber Center and program: Contributions supported building Hopper Hall, the Naval Academy’s cyber warfare center, now open and in use. Cyber is fully part of the curriculum at USNA now, and mids are now graduating in the nation’s first fully-accredited cyber operations major. Donations have supported this to a large degree.
  • Staff and faculty positions: USNA hired 22 positions including visiting professors and chairs, positions at the Stockdale Center and in Cyber Security Studies.
  • International experiences for Midshipmen: Since I graduated in 1990, international exposure for mids has skyrocketed. It sets mids up to be better officers, with broader understanding of a complex world. This is almost entirely funded by support from alumni through the Foundation. This past year, over 50 mids participated in semester-long exchanges, and 170 mids had summer international experiences.
  • Support for major midshipmen development programs such as the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership (link) and the Center for Experiential Leadership Development (link)
  • Athletic program support: Campaign support includes projects for athletic facilities and supporting midshipmen student-athletes. The Naval Academy Golf Course was restored, and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium was significantly upgraded.
  • Building support, including Hopper Hall, Lejeune Hall, the rugby complex, Halsey Field House, Bishop Stadium, the Museum, NAPS and more.
  • Admissions Excellence including scholarships for the Summer Seminar and STEM programs, BGO support, midshipman travel support for admissions, and much more.

It is said that alumni from the, ahem, more senior classes – before the mid-70s – saw the Foundation being established, so they understand its purpose. More recent classes – since say 2000 – are the beneficiaries of Foundation support, through donations by alumni. It’s the classes in between that are unsure of how the Foundation and alumni generosity benefit the USNA mission. I’m in one of those classes (90!) and I couldn’t be more impressed.


It's an amazing level of support. Alumni generosity is not going into "benches and monuments". It's going into midshipmen development. And some towards Alumni as well...


Alumni Center

One exciting use of the campaign is the new Alumni Center under construction. This will be a $36M building, expected to open in Spring 2023. You can see a live camera documenting the progress, and there is also a cool video showing off the facility. Side note: The current alumni offices in the Ogle Hall complex recently sold for $4.65M in a market sale. ADM Bob Natter, former Chairman of the Alumni Association and champion of the Alumni Center, is leading this project for all alumni. Also: The NTX Chapter signed up as a “plankowner” of the new center. More details to follow on that!


New Alumni Engagement Web Platform - myUSNA

The entire alumni community - chapters, SIGs, classes, parents club chapters - is migrating to a new website platform. In North Texas, we know what our website can do for our chapter membership, our events, and getting the word out. Not every chapter or class knows what we know! But the rollout of a web platform that will serve all these communities is underway. North Texas is in the process of getting our database in sync with the national one (the downside of running our own platform for so long) but in the next few weeks we'll be able to tell everyone about it.

In the meantime - update your profile!



Speaking of SIGs...they are growing and you can expect more of them in the next few years. We all identify with our classes. We have chapters to connect geographically. The development several years ago of SIGs - Shared Interest Groups - lets alumni organize across common interests. This desire is seen strongly in the recent alumni survey - and this is what world-class alumni associations do. SIGs don't compete with Chapters. They can augment our activity in the North Texas Chapter. The current SIGs are: Run to Honor, the Naval Academy Minority Association, and the USNA Women's SIG. I fully expect more to form soon. Look for a SIG-focused event in North Texas this year - we are working now to put something together.


Alumni Survey / Ad Hoc Committee

Last year, the Alumni Association published a survey to all alumni reachable by email. The survey was intended to measure alumni engagement, what our alumni desire we do more of (and perhaps, less of), and overall attitudes and perceptions of alumni on the association's programs and services.  There have been delays in the release of the information, after the firm that performed the survey was hit hard by COVID-related staffing issues, and we had to find a new firm for the analysis. The Board of Trustees voted in late January to initiate a release of the results. It is currently being briefed to some key stakeholders (like USNA leadership, class presidents, etc.) before release to all Alumni very soon. These results will inform the Alumni Association's strategy in a "Plan 2030", much as the previous survey informed Plan 2020. The Ad Hoc Committee on Alumni Culture, Diversity and Inclusion expects to present its report, informed by the survey, to the BoT in the next month. It will contain recommendations across a wide spectrum of activities, and I expect a high workload for the Governance Committee as we ensure we're in line with how the Alumni Association operates.


Superintendent’s Update

A highlight of each Board meeting is getting an update from the Superintendent. This year, VADM Buck let us know how the Brigade is doing as it emerges from COVID, what is planned for the Yard, and addressed some key issues that concern alumni.

  • USNA is the #1 public school and #6 national liberal arts college, and #5 best undergraduate engineering program in the 2021 US News & World Report rankings - by far the best service academy
  • We just had one midshipman named as a Rhodes Scholar and two named Marshall Scholars
  • The Supt reports that at the most recent Service Assignment, 95% selected unrestricted line jobs, and 5% restricted. Of the class of 1108, 279 were selected fo the Marine Corps. Read more here
  • As of early December, we were 9-1 in Army-Navy competitions. Since then, we also beat Army at football, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and women’s basketball since then too. Apologies if I missed your favorite sport!
  • The Chapel dome copper replacement has been completed. It sure is strange to see shiny copper on it! It will take ~25 years before it gets the green patina we are all used to. By the way – you can have a piece of the former Chapel Dome.
  • Columbarium: In addition to being in a low spot prone to flooding, it’s running out of room. The Supt is expecting a detailed report soon that will include recommendations for how to fortify the yard overall against sea level rise, protect the Columbarium, and add 50-75 years additional capacity.
  • McDonough Hall is about to undergo a $45M renovation

There are also some “hot button” issues that the Superintendent addressed. His PAO published a memo for wide distribution on issues that all alumni should be aware of. Please click here for the Superintendent’s document on these issues:

  • Widespread cheating on the Dec 2020 Physics exam
  • Painting of Tecumseh/Tamanend
  • Critical Race Theory
  • USNA Attrition
  • Naming Commission

There is an email address included in the Superintendent's document if you have any questions on these topics.


Some great USNA links

You made it this far! Here are some USNA-related links that you may find interesting:

  • Great site: Virtual Memorial Hall. It exists "to perpetuate the memory of alumni of the United States Naval Academy who have died in service to their country". It is a powerful adjunct to the physical building on the Yard.
  • If you're not participating in the Alumni Mentoring Program...you should be! World-class alumni programs let alumni help other alumni - and we do it through AMP. Sign up to share your experience - or to find your own mentor. Generously supported by the Class of '69.
  • The Naval Academy’s photo archive on Flickr – there is some great stuff here!
  • Did you know that the Naval Academy Museum - recently renovated, by the way, and AMAZING - has a podcast? For you podcast fans out there, search for "Preble Hall" in your podcast app. It's really well done!
  • The new-ish "Naval Academy Tourism" site is worth a visit. Shop at Navy Online, or read the really good blog.


Whew. That's it. I hope this is helpful to all. Please email me on anything at trustee@usnaaa-ntx.com

Greg Colandrea '90