March 29, 2013
Admiral Eric T. Olson, former head of the United States Special Operations Command, will deliver the Commencement Address at Hampden-Sydney College on Sunday, May 12.
Admiral 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 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 adviser to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and NATO Special Operations Forces Headquarters.