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Master Sgt. Marie L. Villegas, US Air Force (Retired) to Receive Gen. John W. Vessey Jr. Student Veteran of the Year Award


WHAT: University of Maryland Global Campus Veterans Day Ceremony

University of Maryland Global Campus President Javier Miyares will bestow a President’s Medal, the university’s highest honor, on Vice Admiral Ross A. Myers, U.S. Navy, deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, and Major General Linda L. Singh, U.S. Army (Retired), chief executive of Kaleidoscope Affect LLC.

Master Sergeant Marie L. Villegas, U.S. Air Force (Retired) will receive the General John W. Vessey Jr. Student Veteran of the Year Award.

WHERE: College Park Marriott Inn and Conference Center (3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi, Maryland.)

WHEN: 1 to 2 p.m., Monday, Nov. 11.


President’s Medal Honorees:

Vice Admiral Ross A. Myers, U.S. Navy Deputy Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, U.S. Navy A career aircraft carrier naval aviator, Myers has commanded at all levels of naval aviation, including squadron, fleet replacement squadron, air wing, and carrier strike group. He has flown more than 4,600 hours in more than 17 types of aircraft and landed on more than 15 different carriers.

After numerous shore and staff tours as well as several joint assignments, Myers became the deputy commander at Headquarters, U.S. Cyber Command, in May 2019.

Myers graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in accounting, the University of Kansas with a Master of Business Administration, and the National War College with a Master of Science in national security strategy.

Major General Linda L. Singh, U.S. Army (Retired) Chief Executive Officer, Kaleidoscope Affect LLC Singh is the founder and chief executive officer of Kaleidoscope Affect LLC. She served in the Maryland National Guard for more than 38 years. As adjutant general and cabinet secretary, she was responsible for the Maryland Military Department.

Singh mentors, coaches, and speaks on leadership, diversity, adversity, and career transition. She is the author of “Moments of Choice: My Path to Leadership” and” What’s in Your Box,” which is scheduled for release this fall.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Columbia Union College, a Master of Business Administration/Master of strategic studies from Touro International University, and a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from Capella University.

General John W. Vessey Jr. Student Veteran of the Year Honoree:

Master Sergeant Marie L. Villegas, U.S. Air Force (Retired) Department of Defense Contractor, Defense Intelligence Agency Support Villegas was born and raised in Flushing, Queens, New York, and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after high school. For most of her 20-year military career, she served in the field of diet therapy, both stateside and overseas. She has overseen operations of inpatient feeding, outpatient nutrition clinical services, and hospital dining facility meals.

Since her retirement, she has become a Defense Department contractor, supporting the Defense Intelligence Agency as an information technology project manager.

Villegas holds an associate degree in applied science from the Community College of the Air Force, a bachelor’s degree in business management from National Louis University, and a master’s degree in management with a specialization in homeland security management from University of Maryland Global Campus. She is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration at UMGC.

A Brief History of UMGC and the Military: University of Maryland Global Campus was established in 1947 to serve adult students outside of the traditional campus setting, many of whom were military veterans returning from World War II. As part of this innovative extension of higher education to non-traditional students in the Washington, DC, region, the university also began offering classes to military personnel assigned to the Pentagon.

In 1949, UMGC became the first institution to send faculty overseas to teach active-duty military personnel at military installations in Europe. It expanded operations to Asia in 1956 and to the Middle East in 2005. UMGC faculty have taught in the war zones of Vietnam, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

UMGC now offers classes to military service personnel and their families at more than 140 locations in more than 20 countries.

Today, more than half of the university’s approximately 90,000 students are active duty military personnel and their families, members of the National Guard and military veterans.

Notable military-affiliated UMGC alumni include: Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., 10th chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff; Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Florent Groberg, U.S. Army (Retired); and Miss USA 2016 and U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Deshauna Barber.