Retired US Air Force General Lori Robinson Announced as the 2024 Commencement Speaker

By Marc Kolb, Marketing & Communications Office

Norwich University is honored to announce General Lori Robinson as the Commencement Speaker for the graduating class of 2024.

Image of General Robinson, commencement speaker for 2024

Norwich University is honored to announce General Lori Robinson as the Commencement Speaker for the graduating class of 2024,” said Norwich University Provost, Dean of the Faculty, and Acting President, Dr. Karen Gaines. 

“A distinguished military leader, General Robinson's remarkable career has exemplified dedication, leadership, and service to our nation. As the first woman to lead a major Unified Combatant Command, her groundbreaking career will inspire graduates to embrace challenges with resilience and determination.”

Norwich University’s spring commencement celebration will once again be held in Shapiro Field House on April 27.

“Graduates throughout Norwich’s history, whether in the civilian workforce or military sector, have showcased incredible achievements just like General Robinson,” said Gaines. “She is a trailblazing leader who has fearlessly shattered glass ceilings, broken barriers, and inspired new generations of leaders.”  

Image of Gen. Robinson in the field

Robinson’s storied 36-year career began through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 1982. She quickly followed this up with another graduation, this time from the USAF Fighter Weapons School in 1986. Throughout her career, Robinson has served and led in a variety of positions: Commander, 17th Training Wing, Goodfellow Air Force Base (AFB); Commander, 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker AFB;  Deputy, Combined Forces Air Component Commander, U.S. Central Command, Southeast Asia; Commander, Pacific Air Forces and Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; and Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM), Colorado Springs, Colorado, among many others.

In 2016, Robinson became the highest-ranking woman in U.S. military history as Commander of NORAD and NORTHCOM. While leading NORAD/NORTHCOM, Robinson was responsible for commanding 1,600 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians from both the United States and Canada. Additionally, she worked alongside governors from every state in the union and their adjutants general to coordinate the actions of 300,000 National Guard forces who were responsible for natural disaster response and internal defense of the nation. In this role she reported directly to the President of the United States and Prime Minister of Canada where she was responsible for early warning and engagement of air and space threats to the United States and Canada, such as ballistic missile threats from North Korea.

During her illustrious career, General Robinson earned the following major awards and decorations: Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

Supporting her military prowess and strong leadership are two master’s degrees and completion of the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard University. She is currently a non-resident senior fellow in the center for Security, Strategy, and Technology in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institute. General Robinson was named as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016 and Time’s Firsts Women Leaders in 2017. Today, Robinson continues to serve as a role model and mentor to career-minded citizens who aim to balance the demands of a career with personal life and family responsibility. She is married to Major General (Ret) David A. Robinson.


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 Captain 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).

Read More