NIU Celebrates its 2019 Graduating Class

Maureen Baginski receives an honorary doctorate in strategic intelligence in recognition of her four decades of service to the nation.
(Photo by Kathy Bowles, NIU)

More than 270 intelligence professionals graduated from the National Intelligence University as part of the 56th commencement ceremony, July 26.

Students from 14 intelligence components, all five branches of the armed services and more than a dozen national security elements earned undergraduate or graduate degrees in intelligence, strategic intelligence and science and technology intelligence.

One of the graduates, an FBI analyst from the Science and Technology Intelligence program, spoke on behalf of the class of 2019. Using humor and candor to describe the unique educational experience at NIU, she explained, “Most schools don’t have students that have seen battle, led troops, organized operations, fought crime, lived and represented the country abroad or even simply wore a uniform. Most schools don’t have a student body where everyone has taken an oath to protect their nation and the freedoms it stands for.”

Gilman Louie, the first chief executive officer of In-Q-Tel and a member of the NIU Board of Visitors, delivered the commencement address, noting, “We are entering a new era of disruption … we will see more change in the next 15 years, than the last 50.” He advised graduates to, “Never forget that intelligence is not a perfect science … it requires risk taking and expert judgment.”

Louie also stressed the need to stay relevant and rise above the noise, to improve and adapt tradecraft, find ground truth, use technology in responsible ways and exercise curiosity.

Dr. J. Scott Cameron, NIU president, challenged the graduates, “Continue to push boundaries, never stop searching for truth and when truth is found – hold on to it.” Cameron encouraged graduates to continue investing in themselves and those around them, lead with emotional intelligence and develop a strong understanding of the laws, authorities and policies that drive the mission.

NIU added one more degree recipient to the class of 2019. Cameron presented Maureen Baginski, chairperson of the NIU Board of Visitors, with an honorary doctorate in strategic intelligence in recognition of her four decades of service to the nation.

Baginski remarked that it has been an honor serving on the university’s board for 12 years and leading NIU through many changes.

As the nation’s only accredited, degree-granting institution of higher education operating at the TS//SCI level, NIU continues to serve the Intelligence Community through education, research and engagement. For more information on available degree programs, graduate certificate programs, research fellowships and teaching opportunities, go to NI-U.edu.