United States Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus (above with President Obama), a lawyer, one-time governor, and former Saudi ambassador, will present the inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Lecture at BC Law on Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. in East Wing 120.
Mabus, who will speak on “Transformational Leadership: Looking Beyond the Horizon to What Is Possible,” has a reputation of going against convention. He championed greater equality for women in the Navy and Marine Corps and raised eyebrows for naming some ships after US representatives (John Murtha, Gabrielle Giffords) and labor and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez rather than US presidents, naval officers, and the like.
Since becoming the 75th Secretary of the Navy in 2009, Mabus has expanded the fleet (nearly tripling the average number of ships being built per year, from 5 to 14); launched an initiative to better prepare personnel for 21st century combat; and set a goal for his forces to increase by 50 percent their reliance on alternative energy sources by 2020.
At President Obama’s request, Mabus prepared the 2010 long-term recovery report on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that laid the groundwork for the Restore Act. The report included a fund to distribute for recovery 80 percent of civil penalties, which to date have reached some $5 billion.
The longest serving naval secretary since World War I, Mabus is also a rather colorful public figure, having made cameo appearances in the TV series NCIS and The Last Ship, and in the 2012 movie Battleship.
Mabus received his JD from Harvard Law School, served in the Navy for two years, and clerked in the US Court of Appeals for the 5th District before becoming legal counsel to the US House Committee on Agriculture. He was Governor of Mississippi from 1988 to 1992 and Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the following two years. Later, while chairman and CEO of Foamex International, he led the manufacturing company out of bankruptcy.
The recipient of the US Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award and the Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Award, among other honors, Mabus also founded the Help and Hope Foundation to help children who were victims of Hurricane Katrina.