Senator John Warner will serve as speaker at University of Mary Washington’s 2008 commencement. He will address graduates at the 9 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 10, in Ball Circle.
The Republican is serving his 30th year as senator, having won five consecutive elections to the U.S. Senate representing Virginia. In 2005, he became the second-longest serving U.S. Senator from Virginia in the 218-year history of the Senate. He announced last summer that he would not seek a sixth term.
A champion of the men and women serving in the armed services, 80-year-old Warner has been called “the most influential Republican on military affairs” by the Financial Times. He has supported modernizing the structure and operations of the military to ensure its effectiveness in the 21st century.
A former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Warner is now the committee’s second-ranking Republican. He also is the second-ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. In addition, Warner serves on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.
A native of Virginia, Warner graduated from Washington and Lee University and received his law degree at the University of Virginia Law School. He served as a petty officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II, an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War and a captain in the Marine Corps Reserve for 10 years after his active service.
He received a presidential appointment as Under Secretary of the Navy in 1969 and Secretary of the Navy from 1971 to 1974. During that time, he was engaged in two key diplomatic assignments. He was a representative for the Secretary of Defense in the Law of the Sea Talks in Geneva and, subsequently, as principal negotiator and signatory for the United States for the “Incidents of Sea Executive Agreement” between the United States and the former Soviet Union in 1970-1972. The Executive Agreement remains in effect today and has been used as a model for similar agreements between other nations covering operation directives for naval ships and aircraft in international sea lanes throughout the world.
He lives in Alexandria with his wife, Jeanne.