Commencement Speaker

Admiral Eric Olson, Commencement Speaker 2013Admiral Eric T. Olson retired from the United States Navy in 2011 after more than 38 years of military service.  He served in special operations units throughout his career, during which he was awarded several decorations for leadership and valor including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Star.  Admiral Olson was the first Navy SEAL officer to be promoted to three- and four-star ranks. 

Admiral Olson's career culminated as the head of the United States Special Operations Command, where he was responsible for the mission readiness of all Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations forces.  In this capacity, he led over 60,000 people and managed an annual budget in excess of ten billion dollars.

As President of ETO Group, LLC, Admiral Olson is now an independent national security consultant who supports a wide range of private and public sector organizations.  Among his current endeavors, he is an Adjunct Professor in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, a Director of Iridium Communications, Inc. and Under Armour, Inc., a Director of the non-profit Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, and a senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and NATO Special Operations Forces Headquarters.

Admiral Olson holds a Masters Degree in National Security Affairs.


Baccalaureate Speaker

Father Robert Koopmann, Baccalaureate SpeakerFr. Robert Koopmann, O.S.B., Professor of Music and President Emeritus, has been on the faculty of Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict (in Minnesota) since 1975, where he has taught piano, music literature, and courses on creativity and the creative process.  He has performed as a piano soloist and accompanist, as well as in chamber ensembles and with orchestras throughout the USA and abroad, including 20 states, Europe, South Africa, Chile, Kenya, and Tanzania.  He has released a number of recordings since 1994.  His doctorate is from the University of Iowa, with other degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Saint John's University, and post-doctoral work with faculty from The Royal Academy (London) and The Juilliard School (New York).  Father Bob was president of Saint John's University from 2009 until July 2012.  He is on sabbatical for this current academic year, studying music, theology, and spirituality in Berkeley, California and New York City.