LBJ Distinguished Lecture
William H. McRaven
University of Texas System Chancellor and Retired U.S. Navy Four-Star Admiral
University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven is a retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral and was the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, during which time he led a force of 69,000 men and women and was responsible for conducting counterterrorism operations worldwide. McRaven also is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and has advised presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and other U.S. leaders on defense issues. His book, Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice, published in several languages, is considered a fundamental text on special operations strategy.
McRaven’s military legacy goes beyond strategy and warfare. As commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, McRaven spearheaded the creation of the Preservation of the Force & Family initiative to ensure the mental, spiritual and physical well-being of those who serve, as well as their families. His wife, Georgeann, has dedicated much of her career to playing a leadership role with military families and wounded warriors.
In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named McRaven one of the nation’s Top 10 Foreign Policy Experts and one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2014, Politico Magazine named McRaven one of the Politico 50, citing his leadership as instrumental in cutting though Washington bureaucracy.
Today he leads one of the nation’s largest and most respected systems of higher education, overseeing 14 institutions that educate 221,000 students and employ 20,000 faculty and more than 80,000 healthcare professionals, researchers and staff.
Born in North Carolina, the son of an Air Force colonel, McRaven spent most of his childhood in San Antonio, where he graduated from Roosevelt High School. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1977 with a degree in journalism and received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in 1991. He met his wife, Georgeann, while they were students at UT Austin, and they have three grown children.
More about William H. McRaven
» Architect of bin Laden raid: The anxious moments (CNN, May 2, 2016)
» The man who hunted bin Laden, Saddam and the pirates (CNN, August 31, 2014)
» Adm. William McRaven’s Inspirational Words (ABC News / YouTube, August 29, 2014)
» "Make Your Bed": Admiral McRaven addresses the UT Class of 2014 (YouTube, May 23, 2014)
» William H. McRaven Biography (UT System, Office of the Chancellor)