If Ray Mabus isn't one of the most interesting people in the world, he's certainly one of the most successful. Throughout his life he's been called Secretary of the U.S. Navy, Governor, Ambassador, and CEO. From 2009 to 2017, Mabus served as the 75th U.S. Secretary of the Navy, the longest tenure as leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I. During this time, Mabus revolutionized the Navy and Marine Corps, aggressively moving to alternative energy, allowing women to serve in all jobs, building more than twice as many ships than in the preceding eight years, and developing the Gulf Coast Restoration Plan after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Mabus was first elected to public office in 1983, winning the race for state auditor. Five years later, he was beginning his tenure as Governor of Mississippi, the youngest person elected to that office in more than 150 years. After leaving the governorship, he became U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was also CEO of a public company, leading it out of bankruptcy in less than a year. Today, he is a director of two public companies. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Explorers Club; and has thrown out the first pitch at all 30 major league ballparks. During his illustrious career, he has garnered an impressive list of awards. He received the U.S. Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award, was named one of Fortune Magazine’s top ten education governors, was honored with the U.S. Army’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and was given the Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Award from the King Center in Atlanta.
A graduate of Harvard Law, Mabus's professional achievements are only rivaled by his educational credentials. He enrolled for his first class at Harvard Law in 1973. Among his peers, he was arguably one of the most distinguished, having already earned a master's degree at Johns Hopkins and served for two years in the U.S. Navy, including a stint aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock. In 1976, he received his law degree from Harvard, graduating magna cum laude.
Mabus has publicly expressed his strong connection with his alma mater and has held numerous positions there since graduating. Over the years, the former Secretary of the Navy has served as a Visiting Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Executive Fellow at the Harvard Business School, and Lecturer in Law at the Harvard Law School. Naturally, his campus visits have been numerous. In 2011, he was back on campus to sign an agreement to re-establish Naval ROTC at Harvard after nearly 40 years of absence. He's also returned on multiple occasions to lecture on Navy issues, such as in 2015, when he addressed an audience at Harvard Law School on the direction of the U.S. military. “We’re moving toward a more inclusive, more diverse force. A more diverse force is a stronger force. The more different kinds of viewpoints that you have, the better your force.”