William H. McRaven

Professor of National Security, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

William H. McRaven is professor of national security at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. He is a retired four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy, where he commanded special operations forces at every level and was in charge of the U.S. Special Operations Command. Admiral McRaven’s career included combat during Desert Storm and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and has advised Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and other U.S. leaders on defense issues.

As the chancellor of the UT system, a position he held after retiring from the Navy, Admiral McRaven led one of the nation’s largest and most respected systems of higher education. He oversaw fourteen institutions that educated 220,000 students and employed 20,000 faculty members and more than 80,000 health-care professionals, researchers, and staff.

Admiral McRaven is the author of the books Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life . . . and Maybe the Worldand Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations. Admiral McRaven has been recognized for his leadership numerous times. In 2011, he was the runner-up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine included him on its Top 100 Global Thinkers list, and in 2014, Politico magazine listed him on the Politico 50. Admiral McRaven serves on the boards of ConocoPhillips, the International Crisis Group, and the National Football Foundation.

Admiral McRaven graduated from the University of Texas, Austin, with a degree in journalism and received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.