Fayetteville State University welcomes U.S. Secretary of Defense as its 2023 Commencement Speaker

The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin, III will speak at the undergraduate ceremony on May 13, 2023
Date: May 05, 2023

Fayetteville, N.C. (May 05, 2023) — Fayetteville State University (FSU) is pleased to announce that The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin, III, U.S. Secretary of Defense, will deliver its Spring 2023 undergraduate commencement address. The ceremony will be held Saturday, May 13, at 9:00 a.m. at the Crown Coliseum.

The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin, III - U.S. Secretary of Defense“We are honored to have Secretary Austin deliver this year’s commencement address commemorating an auspicious occasion for our students, their families and our entire Bronco community,” said FSU Chancellor Darrell T. Allison, J.D. “His leadership and selfless commitment to service of country is undeniable. As a strong partner with the military-affiliated community and the number one HBCU in the nation that enrolls military-affiliated students, this historical moment of having Secretary Austin inspire our FSU graduates is greatly validating."

Austin, a retired U.S. Army four-star general, is the first African American Secretary of Defense. He is the principal assistant to the president in all matters relating to the Department of Defense and serves on the National Security Council.

Sworn in as the 28th Secretary of Defense on January 22, 2021, Austin previously served a tour as the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff. He concluded his uniformed service as the Commander of U.S. Central Command, responsible for all military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. In this assignment, he led U.S. and coalition efforts to battle ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Austin retired from active duty in 2016. His stellar 41-year career in the Army included commands at the corps, division, battalion, and brigade levels. He was awarded the Silver Star for his leadership of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2010, he assumed the duties of Commanding General of United States Forces – Iraq, overseeing all combat operations in the country.

A native of Mobile, Ala., Austin was raised in Thomasville, Ga. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor’s degree and a commission in the Infantry. He holds a Master of Arts degree in counselor education from Auburn University and an M.B.A. in business management from Webster University. Austin is also a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. He is married to FSU alumna Charlene B. Austin ’79.

Since retiring from military service, Austin has served on the boards of directors for Raytheon Technologies, Nucor and Tenet Healthcare.

Read More: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to Travel to Fort Liberty, NC and Fayetteville State University

Additional FSU commencement and graduate information is available online. Media credentials for the ceremony are available upon request.

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