Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Army chief of staff addresses Founders Day crowd

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey (MA ’80) told a packed audience gathered for the University of Denver’s Founders Day gala that his time at the University was foundational.

During his speech at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, he said that when he entered DU’s Korbel School of International Studies he never imagined that he would end up running elections in Bosnia and Iraq and spending 32 months commanding troops in as complex a place as Iraq. Yet, he said, he was prepared in those situations because of his education at the University of Denver.

“The professors have a passionate desire to understand the world and make it better and pass it onto others, and they passed it onto me,” said Casey, who attended graduate school as part of training to become an Army foreign officer specializing in Northeast Asia.

Since his studies at DU, Casey has risen through the Army ranks and was named chief of staff in 2007. Casey explained that his responsibility as Army chief of staff is to recruit, train and organize the soldiers. He oversees 1.1 million people and a budget of $200 billion.

He said he has to look to the future to determine what the country will need for troops, and that future also involves a global terrorist network that will, “not quit, not give up and not go away easily.”

Casey said he believes globalization, advances in technology and population increases will only raise the threat of terrorism in the future. The two things that worry him most about the future, he said, are weapons of mass destruction and safe havens, where local governments “won’t deny territory to terrorists.”

Casey said there are 1,200 terrorist networks in the world and they are seeking ways to use weapons of mass destruction and he believes they will use them.

In closing, Casey acknowledged the men and women who are fighting against terrorists and protecting the freedoms enjoyed in the United States.

“Education remains the key to our long-term success,” he said. His comments were received with a standing ovation.

Casey was given DU’s highest honor — the Evans Award, which is named for DU’s founder John Evans. Casey was one of six people the University honored as part its 146th anniversary celebration.

Former Ambassador Cindy Courville (MA ’80, PhD ’88) received the Professional Achievement Award. Courville served as the first U.S. Ambassador to the African Union from 2006–08.

The Distinguished Service to the University Award was presented to Ty Mills, associate director of campus safety. Meyer Saltzman (BS ’58) was the recipient of the Community Service Award. Mike St. John (BSBA ’81) received the Randolph P. McDonough Award for Service to Alumni, and Nora Heitmann (BA ’00) received the Ammi Hyde Award for Recent Graduate Achievement.

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