Retired Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody, the first woman to attain the rank of four-star general in the U.S. armed forces, has been honored with Florida Institute of Technology’s top alumni award.
The 38-year veteran, who graduated from Florida Tech in 1988 with her Master of Science in Logistics Management, received the Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award during Homecoming festivities in October 2014. The award, which is named for Florida Tech’s founder and bestowed annually by the Alumni Association, recognizes professional excellence.
Dunwoody told Florida Today she was “honored and humbled” to be recognized by her alma mater. She said her master’s degree, which she completed at Florida Tech’s off-campus site at Fort Lee, Virginia, complemented her military experience.
“It was tailored and designed to give me a better understanding of the business side of the Army,” she told the newspaper in October. “Logistics in the Army is an expensive business and my education at FIT taught me ways to find efficiencies while not compromising effectiveness.”
Dunwoody’s family is steeped in the Army tradition; her father was a brigadier general. She enlisted in the mid-1970s, joining what was then known as the Women’s Army Corps. It would mark the beginning of an historic rise through the ranks: first female battalion commander in the 82nd Airborne Division; first woman to serve as general officer at Fort Bragg; and first woman to lead the Combined Arms Support Command.
In 2008, she became the first woman to receive a fourth star in the history of the nation’s military.
“For some it was a beacon of hope for their own daughters; for pioneers it was another door opened and they felt part of the journey,” Dunwoody told Florida Today.
As commanding general of the Army Materiel Command, Dunwoody oversaw a global logistics organization of nearly 70,000 military personnel and civilian employees, with a $60 billion annual budget. She spearheaded the Army’s supply chain management during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other duties.
At a ceremony marking Dunwoody’s retirement in 2012, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno called her “quite simply the best logistician the Army has ever had,” according to the Army News Service.
Following her retirement from the military, Dunwoody became president of the Tampa, Florida-based strategic advisory services and leadership mentoring firm First 2 Four. She also serves on the boards of several companies, including LMI, a logistics consulting group.
“For me, serving in the military was the most professionally rewarding career I could imagine,” Dunwoody told Florida Tech Today magazine. “I tell women that the doors continue to open."