MONTGOMERY — U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Walter D. Givhan, a Troy University alumnus, told TROY graduates that education will help them deal with new challenges and demanding situations as they move forward with their careers.
Givhan delivered the keynote address to graduates during spring commencement for the Montgomery Campus on Monday, May 20, inside the Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts. Some 140 students took part in the 7 p.m. ceremony.
In all, 192 students earned undergraduate and graduate degrees this spring at the Montgomery Campus.
Givhan told graduates that training can prepare a person for a specific task or job, but education provides the thinking skills needed to adapt to new situations. Givhan, a 1989 graduate of then Troy State University with a master's degree in international relations, said his TROY education proved invaluable in helping him adapt to the challenge of serving as an air liaison officer to French ground forces during Desert Storm.
“It would be my first combat experience, yet it was completely different from what I had trained to face in Europe," Givhan said. “Fortunately, my TROY education played a major role in preparing me to adapt to this unfamiliar and demanding situation."
Tasked with helping to incorporate the French into the international coalition and coordinate U.S. air strikes in support of French ground operations, Givhan said he relied on his educational background to help accomplish the mission.
“Accomplishing that goal required a lot of patient work in building relationships and trust, work that was informed by my TROY education and the knowledge I had gained into history, international relations and culture," Givhan said.
Throughout his career Givhan has pursued additional advanced educational opportunities. He urged the graduates to build on the foundation of their TROY degrees to prepare for future challenges.
“If education can propel this Alabama country boy into the world of international military operations and diplomacy, imagine what it can do for you," Givhan said. “Value education as a strategic investment, and never quit augmenting yours."
A native of Safford, Ala., Givhan serves as Commander of the Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education and Vice Commander of Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base.