ANNAPOLIS, MD (6 December 2023) — The United States Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation is pleased to announce the 2024 Distinguished Graduate Award recipients, who will be honored in a ceremony at the Naval Academy on Friday, 22 March 2024.

Admiral Dennis C. Blair ’68, USN (Ret.)
Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III ’77, USN (Ret.)
Mr. Jerrold L. Miller ’77
Mr. John F. Young ’78

Admiral Dennis C. Blair ’68, USN (Ret.): Admiral Blair served in the Pacific for most of his 34-year Navy career. Several of his assignments took him outside the Navy – to the White House, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Joint Staff, a White House Fellowship and a Rhodes Scholarship. His final assignment was Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command. Following retirement in 2002 he was the President of the Institute for Defense Analyses, then returned to government service as the third Director of National Intelligence. In recent years he has played leadership roles in non-profit organizations to address longstanding national security challenges – energy and manufacturing supply chain security, China’s rise, ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty and dysfunctional and polarized American politics. He has returned to the Naval Academy often since graduation, to lecture and lead advisory groups for the Superintendent. Admiral Blair resides in Durham, NC.

Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III ’77, USN (Ret.): Admiral Locklear served 38 years as a commissioned nuclear qualified surface warrior. Leading at the highest levels he served as Commander U.S. Pacific Command, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, Commander NATO Allied Joint Forces Command, and Commander Multinational Task Force Odyssey Dawn/NATO Operation Unified Protector in Libya. He commanded the Nimitz Strike Group during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Destroyer Squadron Two, and the USS Leftwich (DD 984). Throughout nearly five decades he has steadfastly supported and championed the USNA mission. He served with distinction as the 1977 honor set Brigade Commander, the 19th Color Company Officer, and the 78th Commandant of Midshipmen. Following his retirement from active duty he served as a USNA Athletic & Scholarship Programs Trustee and as the Chair, USNA Alumni Association Board of Trustees. Admiral Locklear resides in Milton, GA.

Mr. Jerrold L. Miller ’77: Jerry Miller served seven years as a Surface Warfare Officer. Although he left active duty in 1985, he has continuously served the Navy as an entrepreneur in the maritime industries, and the Naval Academy as a philanthropist. Mr. Miller co-founded a ship repair company with an Academy classmate, bought that company early on, and sold it 25 years later after it became a leading U.S. Navy ship repair organization. He then founded Fairlead Integrated, a company dedicated to the current revitalization of our shipbuilding industrial base and a critical supplier for aircraft carrier and submarine construction programs. As philanthropists, Mr. Miller and his wife Laura were instrumental in the establishment, funding, and construction of the Uriah P. Levy Center and Jewish Chapel over twenty years ago, and they have continued to be leaders in the development and growth of the Academy’s Margin of Excellence. He has been a member of the Naval Academy Foundation Board of Directors since 2006 and currently serves as its Vice Chair. Mr. Miller resides in Virginia Beach, VA.

Mr. John F. Young ’78: John Young began his naval career as a Surface Warfare Officer, winning the Atlantic Fleet Shiphandler of the Year award twice, on two different ship classes. He has been a leader in the power generation and utilities industry for over forty years. More importantly, he has been an advocate of programs to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for underprivileged children of all ages throughout the country. His contributions have led those students to appointments at the Naval Academy and other outstanding universities, where he has continued to support their education. Mr. Young is a member of the board of the Naval Academy Foundation, a trustee of the Naval Academy Foundation Athletic and Scholarship Programs, Chairman of the Board of Exelon Corporation, and a member of the Board of USAA. Mr. Young resides in Dallas, TX.

The USNA Alumni Association and Foundation wishes to thank the 2024 DGA selection panelists, led by panel chair Admiral Harry Harris ‘78, USN (Ret.), for their diligent and difficult task in selecting these four outstanding graduates from a highly competitive field of nominees.

We also thank the Naval Academy alumni who submitted nominations—the panel was impressed by the achievements of every nominee.

For more information on the nomination and selection process for the Distinguished Graduate Award, and a list of past honorees, please visit

The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation is a non-profit, independent corporation with more than 69,000 members, 77 active alumni classes, 104 chapters, 78 parent groups, and 6 Shared Interest Groups.