Jamie McGrath has been named the new director of the Major General W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development, which oversees the academic program of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets.

McGrath, a 1990 corps graduate who retired from the U.S. Navy at the rank of captain, has served as the corps’ deputy commandant for 3rd Battalion since September 2019.

“Jamie McGrath brings a special combination of military and educational experience to the role,” said Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart, the commandant of cadets. “His passion for teaching and inspiring young leaders will ensure the Rice Center’s curriculum continues to offer relevant lessons to cadets and students across campus.”

The Rice Center offers cadets a comprehensive program of academic coursework, leadership experiences, and ethics education. It oversees 17 accredited courses and a range of training that span the four years of the cadet experience, as well as the corps’ minor in leadership studies, administered through the Pamplin College of Business.

Through its Cutchins Leadership Lecture Series, the center offers public lectures on leadership and ethics. Upcoming events include an Oct. 7 address by Jannell McAuley, speaking on mindfulness in leadership, followed by a Nov. 4 talk with Master Chief Britt Slabinski, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in Afghanistan in 2002, and NASCAR driver and naval reserve officer Jesse Iwuji on Nov. 18.

“The Rice Center seeks to build upon the corps’ immersive leadership laboratory and provide cadets with the intellectual tools to improve their personal leadership capability, grounded in ethics and informed by global competency,” McGrath said. “As we move forward, the Rice Center will engage with university, alumni, and corporate partners to show cadet leaders a rich spectrum of leadership opportunities and experiences.”

A nuclear-trained surface warfare officer in the Navy, McGrath served in a variety of assignments at sea, including as a staff member for the commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet and as the commander of the Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron Seven in Guam. He also taught chemistry, materials, and radiological fundamentals at the Naval Nuclear Power School. 

He served as the liaison for commander, Naval Forces Europe, to commander, U.S. European Command, and on the Joint Staff J7, where he led the Joint Exercise Division executing a globally integrated exercise program to support the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Global Campaign Plan. 

His last active-duty position was as a military professor at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He also worked as a senior moderator and as a Fellow in the John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research.

McGrath earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia Tech and master’s degrees in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and in military history from Norwich University.

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