Commencement weekend to feature decorated military alumna speaker
By Bethany Foxx, Staff Writer
Given the opportunity, most Gettysburg College alums jump at the opportunity to come back to campus. Some return to see friends and former classmates, while others find themselves drawn to their old stomping grounds.
Flora Darpino, a member of the class of 1983, will return to her alma mater in May for an exciting opportunity not every former Gettysburgian is offered.
Lieutenant General Flora Darpino, an alumna of Gettysburg College, will give the 179th Commencement Address and additionally receive an honorary degree from the college. Darpino, who became a three-star lieutenant general this past fall, graduated from Gettysburg College in 1983.
In Oct. of 2013 Darpino received a promotion that made her the leader of the entire legal system within the uniformed Army, according to the Gettysburg News. This promotion also made her the leader of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG).
Furthermore, her promotion gained national attention as it marked the first time in United States military history that a female will hold the position.
“She will lead the nearly two thousand full-time judge advocates and civilian attorneys who provide legal services to the Army,” stated J.D. Leipold, who authored an article for the Army about Darpino becoming Judge Advocate General.
Darpino was nominated for the position by President Barack Obama in June 2013 and was further confirmed by the Senate two months later in August.
“She’s slated to take command at a time of increased scrutiny of the military’s handling of sexual assault cases, with legislators in both houses of Congress trying to strip commanders of authority over serious criminal prosecutions,” according to Chris Carroll of Stars and Stripes.
According to the Washington Post, which authored an article regarding Darpino’s rise to success this past September, Darpino’s duties as the head of the Army’s military justice system will include everything from “advising the secretary of the Army and Army’s chief on legal matters to overseeing the Army JAG Corps’ staff of 10,000.” Out of a total of 431 active-duty generals, she is one of 28 female Army generals.
“I walked this path with a whole peer group of absolutely fantastic women,” Darpino said in an interview with the Washington Post. While attending Gettysburg College, Darpino was interested in economics and ended up attending law school upon graduation from the four-year-college.
This is not the first time Darpino has spoken on campus, as she was a guest speaker at the second annual Garthwait Leadership Summit that took place during the previous fall semester. Additionally she and her husband, who is also a Gettysburg College alumnus, were profiled in fall of 2011 for Gettysburg Magazine. Last year’s commencement speaker was political commentator David Gergen who wove a theme of service into his commencement address as he talked about the longstanding tradition and commitment of service, seen in Gettysburg’s history, and the need for passion and service in the 21st century.
Regardless of what message or theme Darpino decides to discuss in her address to the Gettysburg College class of 2014, the college will have the opportunity to welcome home one of its own this spring.
Commencement weekend will take place May 17-18.