James Stavridis

Honorary Degrees

California State University Maritime Academy​

James Stavridis is both an educator and a military leader, retiring after a long and distinguished career as a four-star admiral in the United States Navy and currently serving as dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Admiral Stavridis began his naval journey by attending the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He later went on to earn a Ph.D. from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, winning the Edmund A. Gullion Prize as outstanding student in his class in 1983, as well as academic honors from the National and Naval War Colleges. Throughout his nearly 40-year tenure in the Navy, Admiral Stavridis oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Balkans and anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Africa as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He also commanded U.S. Southern Command in Miami, charged with military operation through Latin America for nearly three years. He was the longest serving Combatant Commander in recent U.S. history.

Admiral Stavridis led the Navy’s premier operational think tank for innovation, Deep Blue, immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City. He won the Battenberg Cup for commanding the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet and the Navy League John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational leadership, along with more than 50 U.S. and international medals and decorations, including 28 from foreign nations. He is the chair of the board of the U.S. Naval Institute, the professional association of the nation’s sea services: Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.

Admiral Stavridis has published eight books on leadership, the ocean, maritime affairs and Latin America, as well as hundreds of articles in leading journals. His memoir of the NATO years, The Accidental Admiral, was released in October 2014, and he has two books released in 2017: The Leader’s Bookshelf: 50 Books That Make Us Better Leaders, and Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the Oceans.

In recognition of his distinguished career, his contributions to leadership programming and development, and his advocacy for the maritime industry, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University Maritime Academy are proud to confer upon James Stavridis the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.