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Dr. Fran Wilson is a past President, National Defense University. She is a veteran of nearly 37 years in the United States Marine Corps retiring as a Lieutenant General in Sep 09. She was a Company Officer, Brigade of Midshipmen, U.S. Naval Academy; Commanding Officer, 4th Recruit Training Battalion; Commanding Officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Forces Pacific and Commander, Camp H.M. Smith; Commanding General, Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA; and Commanding General, 3d Force Service Support Group in Okinawa. Prior to her assignment as President, NDU, she was the Commandant, Industrial College of the Armed Forces. In March 2009, she was awarded the French Legion of Honour in a ceremony presided by French Defense Minister Hervé Morin at the French Embassy in Washington, DC, for her work with the French Center for Higher Education in Armaments (CHEAr).
In addition to a Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University, she has earned four Master degrees and a Doctor of Education from the University of Southern California. In addition to several military school curricula she completed a Federal Executive Fellowship at the Brooking Institution as well as the Harvard University's JFK School of Government's Senior Executive Course in National and International Security.
Since retirement, she has engaged in various activities with organizations in the Virginia Tidewater area. She is an appointed member of the City of Virginia Beach Mayor's Military Economic Development Advisory Committee, and serves as the Chair, Board of Directors, Hampton Roads and Central Virginia USO. She has been appointed by the Governor as a member of the Board of Trustees, Fort Monroe Authority, and Board of Visitors, Virginia Military Institute. She had earlier been elected to and served on the Board of Directors, Navy Federal Credit Union, Vice President, Board of Directors, Hampton Roads World Affairs Council, and the Board of Trustees, St. John's College High School. She was honored with the University of Southern California Alumni Association's Alumni Merit Award in 2009 and recognized as one of Virginia’s Most Influential Women by the Virginia Lawyers’ Media in 2014.