NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Norwich University’s graduating future officers will hear remarks from a fellow alum during virtual personal ceremonies for all three Reserve Officers’ Training Corps departments beginning May 3.

 U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Daniel J. MacDonnell, Office of the Chief of Navy Reserve and former Deputy Chief, Central Security service, National Security Agency, Norwich Class of 1985, will deliver the keynote address, in which he touches on the commissioning oath, leadership and the importance of family and supporters.

During these personal ceremonies, many conducted virtually — an alternative solution to campus-based ceremonies because of the COVID-19 pandemic — the new officers receive their second lieutenant or ensign bars and their first salutes.

MacDonnell who was selected as the 11th deputy chief, Central Security Service, National Security Agency, in September 2018, embodies the Norwich ethos of citizen-soldier. He is the first Navy admiral selected to hold this position and served on active duty in this capacity. In his civilian career, MacDonnell is a senior executive at one of the largest banking corporations globally, focused on cybersecurity and resiliency.

MacDonnell is a Boston native and was commissioned an ensign in January 1987 upon completion of Aviation Officer Candidate School, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. In 1990, he was redesignated as a special duty officer, cryptology — now cryptologic warfare.

MacDonnell earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Norwich University. He holds a master's degree in management from Salve Regina University. Besides being a fully joint qualified officer, MacDonnell is a graduate of the National Defense University-Joint Forces Staff College and the Naval War College - College of Command and Staff. He has completed executive leadership programs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

MacDonnell’s active duty tours include a mobilization with the International Assistance Force Joint Command, Kabul, Afghanistan and assignments with the National Security Agency, Naval Network Warfare Command, Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Georgia, Center for Expeditionary Counterterrorism Operations, USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and Naval Security Group Activity Edzell, Scotland.

Selected for flag officer in 2013, MacDonnell’s first flag assignment was as reserve deputy commander, Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, Fort Meade, Maryland. His first flag tour as commanding officer was from 2014 to 2017, as commander, Naval Information Force Reserve (CNIFR), Fort Worth, Texas. As CNIFR he concurrently served as reserve deputy commander, Naval Information Forces, Suffolk, Virginia. Postcommand, he was deputy director, Warfare Integration for Information Warfare (N2N6F), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 2017 to 2018. He held four Reserve Commanding Officer tours: Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, NIOC Georgia; NIOC Maryland - Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and Naval Security Group Reserve Devens.

His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (two awards), numerous personal Navy and Joint awards, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal and campaign and unit awards.

The anticipated commissions for the Class of 2020 by branch are: Army, 105 between May and August; Air Force, 26; Navy, 21; and Marines, 9.

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About Norwich University:

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Capt. Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

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