The Foundation of a Great Education Not all faculty positions at the Naval Academy are funded by government appropriations. Generous alumni, friends and classes have made possible several important positions in academic and leadership divisions through gifts to the Naval Academy via the Naval Academy Foundation. The longest standing is the Robert A. Heinlein (Class of 1929) Chair of Space Studies, currently held by Vincent L. Pisacane, Ph.D, and the newest is the Ralph Odgers ’47 Distinguished Professor in STEM established in 2009, currently held by Angela Moran, Ph.D, in the Mechanical Engineering Department.
The diverse backgrounds and impressive accomplishments of this group of privately funded faculty are very noteworthy. Rear Admiral Craig E. Steidle ’68, USN (Ret.), the Dr. David F. Rogers Distinguished Visiting Professor (DVP) in Aeronautical Engineering was a NASA administrator, director of the DoD Joint Advanced Strike Technology Office and Director of the Joint Strike Fighter Program. Ronald H. Spector, the former Class of 1957 Distinguished Chair of Naval Heritage, has taught at the National War College, the U.S. Army War College and The Elliott School of International Affairs and holds a doctorate from Yale. Ambassador Paula Dobriansky was a senior fellow at Harvard before she was appointed as Class of 1960 DVP in National Security; she has served in five White House administrations, is a specialist in the areas of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union political-military affairs and is the longest-serving undersecretary in the State Department’s history.
Dr. Tim Arcano ’78 was appointed in January of this year to the McNeill Chair in Naval Engineering. He comes to the Academy from the Department of Energy as Deputy Chief of Nuclear Safety where he oversaw complex, high-hazard nuclear operations while promoting nuclear safety and providing technical expertise for multiple programs and projects. In late March, Dr. Arcano had the opportunity to meet with and thank the donor behind his appointment, Corbin A. McNeill ’62, recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Graduate Award and former chairman of Exelon Corporation. Dr. Tim Arcano ’78, newly appointed Endowed Chair in Naval Engineering, meets the donor, Corbin A. McNeill ’62 Stewardship 2011 29
Many privately funded professors go above and beyond basic teaching responsibilities, adding layers to their time here in dedication to the betterment of the midshipmen. Commander Kevin Haney ’81, USN (Ret.), has held the position of Class of 1971 Distinguished Military Professor of Leadership since 2007. In addition to teaching, he has taken part in outreach to the fleet at Naval Station Newport teaching OCS candidates, serves as a senior fellow at the Stockdale Center, advises the Commandant and serves as faculty advisor for the Leadership Conference and the representative for the varsity football team, attending fall and spring practices daily.
Ambassador John Limbert, the second individual to occupy the Class of 1955 Chair of Middle East Studies, taught at the Naval Academy from 1981 to 1984 and returned in 2006 after retiring from a long career with the foreign service. He is one of our nation’s foremost experts on Iranian affairs (and was one of the former hostages in Iran from 1979 to 1981 when he was a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran) and now teaches U.S./Iranian Relations and the History and Culture of Iran in the Political Science Department. When asked how he felt about teaching midshipmen, his answer was swift: “I love it … even the grading isn’t bad! Classes are small, people are motivated. They come in to my classroom with little background on the subject of the Middle East and what’s remarkable to me is how quickly they pick things up. Maybe it’s the joy of being 20-years old. They have a great curiosity and openness to new things—if they didn’t they would not have ended up at the Naval Academy. Middle East studies has become much stronger here. We offer Arabic language (which is becoming very popular despite how difficult it is), we offer courses in the history and political science departments, we have taken students to the region on trips, we bring in performers and speakers … for an undergraduate institution, it offers a great variety. I have seen a lot of changes and improvements, all for the better.”
Dr. Raymond Greenlaw, the Rear Admiral Frank T. Leighton/ Class of 1948 DVP in Information Technology, also loves teaching the midshipmen. He appreciates the discipline and respect they bring to the classroom, indicating that it surpasses that of students he has taught at other institutions. In addition, Dr. Greenlaw has become involved in the lives of midshipmen outside of the classroom as part of their “total development.” He runs the Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail, attended a Thai film series, bikes and dines in King Hall with the midshipmen to build stronger relationships, which he finds extremely rewarding.
“The Academy has been a new beginning in my career,” he said. “I feel that I am doing something important for my country as well as the students. I am part of an important tradition. Dean Phillips, other strong leadership and talented faculty have made working at the Academy fun and worthwhile. Of course, the midshipmen are the reason for being at the Academy, and they are a great group of energetic young students with exceptional talents in many areas. I enjoy learning from them.”