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Chancellor McRaven shares life lessons with UTSA cadets

Chancellor McRaven responds to questions from UTSA ROTC cadets and student veterans.
Photo credit: Michael Pruneda

(March 23, 2018) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Office of Veteran and Military Affairs was honored to host Chancellor William McRaven this week for a conversation with Air Force and Army cadets and student veterans.

Chancellor McRaven joined the cadets and student veterans for a question and answer session, which focused on leadership, education/training and transition. McRaven answered many questions and shared stories from his role as a commander in the military and as chancellor of the UT System.

In response to a cadet question about how his earlier experiences shaped his career, the chancellor spoke about the impact his decisions have on people and how he had to learn the lesson that every decision he made had an impact and ramifications on others. There always would be consequences of every decision he would make. He stressed that this lesson helped him much later in life throughout the military and as chancellor.  

“The chancellor’s words were spot on and his real life leadership experience versus just reading, studying leadership was powerful,” said retired Marine and doctoral candidate Micah Wright.

The chancellor advised the cadets to leave a place better than how they find it. He also spoke on the importance of taking care of troops, training throughout one’s career and education.

Army ROTC cadet Jeffrey Prior stated that his biggest takeaway or lesson from the chancellor’s leadership journey was “his story on how the hardest part of being a leader at the start and end his career was most impactful because it ended up being the same thing, setting the standard for your subordinates and understanding/recognizing the power of your authority.”

AF ROTC cadet Alexis Chavez remarked, “He was so personable that he made his stories and leadership lessons immediately relatable to us. Even though he retired as an admiral, he was able to recount stories of when he was a young ensign and how we could learn from his successes and failures.”

AF ROTC cadre member, Captain Anthony Guajardo stated, “What an incredible leader.  Admiral McRaven has a tremendous ability to connect with his audience--the lessons that he shared resonated with all of us, even though we are all at different levels and phases of leadership: have dreams, work hard to make your organizations better, take care of your people, and never give up.”

One of his last bits of wisdom for the cadets and student veterans was to take care of their health, eat well, rest and stay in shape.

This week, Chancellor McRaven also delivered special remarks at the Inauguration of President Taylor Eighmy.

UTSA’s military community is more than 4,200 strong and includes veterans, active duty military members, guard, reserves, ROTC members and their spouses and dependents.

Lisa Carrington Firmin

Learn more about UTSA ROTC cadets and student veterans or email

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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.