Retired Admiral Annie Andrews Will Address Brenau’s 137th Spring Commencement
Annie B. Andrews, a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral who now serves as a top official with the Federal Aviation Administration, will deliver commencement addresses Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7, to the more than 300 students participating in Brenau University’s 137th spring graduation ceremonies.
The Hinesville, Georgia, native who retired in September after a 32-year career in the Navy currently serves as assistant administrator for human resource management for the FAA, the Washington, D.C.-based organization that, with its 46,000 employees, regulates all aspects of American civil aviation.
“Admiral Andrews knows the importance of education and the job market for the world that is changing every day,” said Brenau President Ed Schrader. “The moment I met her, I was convinced that she had something valuable to say to our graduates.”
Schrader met Andrews last spring aboard the U.S.S. John C. Stennis as the nuclear-powered supercarrier sailed from San Diego for deployment in the Asia-Pacific region. She had invited him and other college and university presidents for a special program to encourage development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs to encourage young women to consider programs in the Navy.
Andrews will deliver her first message at 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon to the 108 graduates in the Class of 2016 from Brenau University Women’s College, the 138-year-old cornerstone of the comprehensive university. She will speak again at 9:30 a.m. Saturday for the 156 graduate students and 38 undergraduates representing coeducational programs on all Brenau campuses and online degree programs.
During her naval service, Andrews spent two years as the head of the U.S. Navy Recruiting Command, working with an annual budget of $783 million and leading more than 6,000 personnel in operation across 1,500 recruiting stations. Earlier she spent two years directing the Navy’s Total Force Requirements, serving 320,000 personnel and managing a budget of about $170 billion for the Future Years Defense Program.
Andrews said her commencement address will celebrate the graduates’ success and remind them that, from here out, they are in charge of their own destinies.
“I want them to be innovative and change agents for sure,” she said. “I hope they would have a plan, have a purpose, picture where their purpose would be and then place themselves.”
Andrews holds an undergraduate criminal justice degree from Savannah State University and two master’s degrees – an M.S. in management from Troy State University and an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. She received an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters from Wilson College in 2008 and a leadership award from Stars & Stripes in 2013. In 2015 the Women of Color STEM Conference presented her with its Women of Color Lifetime Achievement award.
Andrews made the decision to join the Navy while she was an undergraduate at Savannah State. She recalled seeing several naval reserve officer training corps in class. Their regimented, disciplined demeanor inspired her to check out the NROTC program and talk things over with recruiters. “It gave me an opportunity to be adventurous,” Andrews said.
And adventures she has had.
Other postings in her Navy career included work as the director of the Navy’s Deserter Branch/Deserter Apprehension program, as an analyst for the U.S. Navy Intelligence Center Pacific and as commanding officer at processing and recruiting stations in Boston and San Francisco. She also commanded the Navy’s largest basic training installation in Great Lakes, Illinois, from 2005 to 2008.
“So many things have improved from when I came in 32 years ago for women,” Andrews said. “There are so many fields now open to them. I see it as opportunities for young ladies or women to excel in the workforce knowing that if this is what they desire to do, they can be, become or do anything they desire if they put their hearts and minds into it.”
Andrews said that she also will focus her remarks to graduates on the qualities of exceptional leadership. She said she hopes to inspire graduates to think strategically and strive to develop and mentor others.
“I think highlighting the many accomplishments women have made and recognizing that women trailblazers make women role models for all genders,” Andrews said. “None of us could lead if we don’t have followers.”
You can hear the interview on our SoundCloud or in the player below.
The 137th commencement ceremonies will be the first spring exercises viewable globally online. You can view the activities as they occur by pointing your web browser to http://livestream.com/brenau.