Laura Westley and Carol Barkalow are both West Point graduates and authors of memoires about their military experiences. Bobbie O’Brien / WUSF Public Media
The recent scandal over Marines sharing nude photos of female Marines online hasn’t demoralized some women veterans. Two female West Point graduates from Florida refuse to let it overshadow recent gains women have made in the military. And they have some ideas on how to prevent similar incidents.
The United States Military Academy at West Point didn’t even accept women in their ranks until 1976. Carol Barkalow was in that first class. She graduated in 1980 and served 22 years in the Army.
Barkalow remembers how female cadets were hazed and harassed back then. But she said women have made progress since, even in light of the nude photos.
“There is some good news with this, even though what they did was horrible,” Barkalow said. “Now, we have the social media and the interest to try at last to get the military to understand that we are a vital part of this force. We are never going away and some very basic things have to change within our military.”
“But what we have to have – we have to have women, general officers admirals in every rank in each of the services. So much so that, when you walk in a room, it’s not just one woman, it’s not just two women, it’s a number of women sitting at the table and have the ability to influence our future,” Barkalow said.
Barkalow, who lives in Pinellas County, is friends with 2001 West Point graduate Laura Westley, who grew up in New Port Richey. Continue reading →
Dr. William Lennox Jr., a former superintendent at the United States Military Academy at West Point, is the new CEO and president of Saint Leo University in San Antonio, FL.
Within the past week, Saint Leo University in northeastern Pasco County welcomed more than new college students to campus. The 126-year-old Benedictine bastion of learning has a new president after 18 years.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. General Dr. William Lennox Jr. stepped up July 1, 2015 to become the ninth Saint Leo president.
Lennox has a distinguished resume. A 35 year military career, a PhD in literature from Princeton, he served as West Point Superintendent from 2001-2006, and as a senior vice president at a Fortune 500 aerospace company for more than six years.
Now, he’s excited about being immersed back into college life and plans to walk the Saint Leo campus daily.
“I found at West Point that the students provide an energy for you and I’ve always managed, led by walking around, getting out and talking to folks,” Lennox said. “At West Point, I tried to get out of the office by 4 o’clock at the latest and go to practices or whatever was going on at the time. You learn so much more about your college or university when you do that.”
Dr. William Lennox – the new president – helps carry a student’s belongings to the dorm on “Move-In Day” Thursday at Saint Leo University. Renee Gerstein Saint Leo University
It’s not that he doesn’t already know Saint Leo. Lennox served as a board member for more than seven years before he was asked to take over as president when Dr. Arthur Kirk retired.
“As a board member, I was at the 1,000 foot level. I’ve got to get down to the 100 foot level that the CEO-President operates at,” Lennox said.
One of his challenges is uniting the more than 16,000 Saint Leo students spread out between the Pasco County campus, online and distance learners at more than 40 education centers in the U.S.
“Saint Leo was on the cutting edge with online education and with the community centers they have around the country,” Lennox said. “If you haven’t been there, you can’t appreciate the enthusiasm. A lot of those students are a little bit older, some of them have jobs, some of them have struggled to get their education and Saint Leo means an awful lot to them.”
Many of those students are active-duty military or veterans that Lennox said share the same values as students attending the Catholic university.
Faculty, students and staff are joined by Dr. William Lennox, Saint Leo University’s ninth president, for Move-In Day, August 20, at the Pasco County campus. Renee Gerstein Saint Leo University
“I guess I’m just attracted to universities or colleges that have strong missions and a great value system West Point and Saint Leo,” Lennox said. “Some of the values are excellence – community – respect – self-improvement – integrity – those are the kinds of values that the Benedictines have held for a long time and I think apply to the current situation in the world right now whether you’re an academic – or you’re a businessman or you’re, whatever you’re doing. I think they apply directly and we need more of them in this world right now.”
Lennox sees his job as preparing “value-driven” leaders and embraces the challenge just like he did at West Point when the 9-11 terrorist attacks hit just three months after his appointment.
“Shortly after that, we had the largest number of students in the country that applied and we couldn’t accept everybody certainly. But it was pretty amazing and the motivation of those young folks was extraordinary. And they’ve done some amazing things afterwards,” Lennox said.
Lennox, the educator, expects the Saint Leo students to be similarly motivated to change the world.
A memorial service for retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, a U.S. Military Academy Class of 1956 graduate, was held at the Cadet Chapel Feb. 28 with family, friends and colleagues in attendance. (Photo by Tommy Gilligan USMA PAO)
He made Tampa his final home, now West Point is his final resting place.
On February 28, 2013, a memorial service for General H. Norman Schwarzkopf was held at the Cadet Chapel.
Schwarzkopf, a U.S. Military Academy Class of 1956 graduate, was best known for his leadership during Desert Storm. Afterward, he quietly retired in Tampa, home to U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base. He was buried next to his father, a 1917 USMA graduate and cavalry officer, a World War I veteran and founder of the New Jersey State Police.