Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Eric Olson, former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command and 38-year Navy SEAL, will be the featured speaker at the sixth annual Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) Distinguished Speakers Series on Thursday, Oct. 18.
Beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the campus’ Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Olson will discuss principles of teamwork and leadership in his address, “The World at Night: Creating Special Operations Forces to Counter Asymmetrical Challenges.” A panel discussion will follow at 8:30 p.m. with a picture-signing session at 9 p.m.
Long before special operations forces and Navy SEALs became household terms, Olson was among those quiet professionals performing the most difficult tasks in the most difficult circumstances. During his tenure as America’s top special operations officer, he was responsible for recruiting, training, equipping and deploying broadly capable forces worldwide.
“We are delighted and honored to have as our distinguished speaker this year a retired four-star admiral and 38-year Navy SEAL,” said Art Levine, CSULB professor of ethics and legal studies and organizer of the Distinguished Speaker Series. “In this political season of discord and dissent, one thing most Americans can join together on is supporting the men and women in our Armed Forces and particularly our special forces who do so much to defend our country and our freedoms. Adm. Eric Olson has spent his distinguished career training and leading these elite warriors, and we very much look forward to his insights into teamwork and leadership.”
A senior member of the U.S. National Defense team, Olson is often described as one of this century’s great military leaders and credited with developing the specialized forces that have accomplished some of the most notable military operations of the last decade. Many of the military’s most significant operational successes of recent years can be traced directly back to decisions made by Olson over the course of his career.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, “As a result of his hard work, we now have the best-trained, the best-equipped and the most experienced Special Operations Force in the history of the United States.”
Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “When the history of these wars is written, the first, last, and most pivotal chapters will be about Eric and the people he has led and trained and mentored his entire adult life.”
Having developed the best of the best, Olson addresses building, training, and leading high effective teams and our nation’s geopolitical challenges. He has been aptly described as “the most important man you never heard of.”
Reserved tickets to the CSULB Speaker Series event are $40. Preferred seating is $50, and tickets for seniors/veterans are $30. A limited number of sponsor tickets are available at $100, which includes a sponsor dinner with the speaker at the Walter Pyramid preceding the event.
New this year is an optional barbecue buffet dinner on the outdoor patio of the Carpenter Center from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The dinner, catered by Naples Rib Company, cost $15 and can be purchased in advance.
For event tickets, dinner tickets or additional information, visit www.distinguishedspeakerseries.com. All proceeds from the Distinguished Speaker Series benefit CSULB student scholarships.