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Great Contributors Jeanette Graff, Stan Graff, Louann Hicks, Brent Phillips

The Dallas Arboretum presented its Great Contributors Award to Admiral William H. McRaven, former University of Texas System chancellor, retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral and New York Times best-selling author. He received the award on November 5 at a dinner with proceeds benefitting the Dallas Arboretum. After dinner, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison interviewed Admiral McRaven about world affairs, intelligence and national security.  Robin and Jim Carreker were event co-chairs, and Robin is also a former Dallas Arboretum board member.  

 

Admiral McRaven knows a significant amount about U.S. and worldwide military operations and foreign policy. He served as the Commander of Special Operations Command Europe, the Joint Special Operations Command, and as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Center. He also served as the chief architect of Operation Neptune’s Spear, the operation to find Osama bin Laden. For this mission, McRaven was named runner up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year. Additionally, from 2015 to 2018, he served as the 11th Chancellor of The University of Texas system.

 

Some takeaways from McRaven:

He said of The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison who interviewed him: “She was one of the finest senators who served. Thank you for your incredible service to the nation and the world.”

 

On Osama bin Laden:

  • “Since 9/11, we were always hunting Osama bin Laden.
  • “There were hundreds of thousands (of people) that were all part of this effort of the fall of bin Laden. They are heroic and patriotic to the fight.”

 

On being a Navy SEAL and being called Bullfrog:

  • “Navy SEALs start as a tadpole and evolve into a frogman. Then 34 years later, I became the bullfrog.”
  • “As a SEAL, we learned about perseverance and failure.”

 

About the world now with Israel and Ukraine:

  • “This is a much bigger fight. It’s about a fight for freedom.”
  • “If we (U.S.) don’t lead, NATO will be hard pressed to follow, and someone else will lead.”
  • “The U.S. needs to be an influence for good. We have a nation of laws, the best system of laws and fundamental values that are important here. Our economy is the most powerful, and our educational system is the best...in fact, 447 Nobel Laureates are from the U.S. This is why we need to be leading.”

 

About the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden:

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218. The garden is also home of the nationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. It is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum.  The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. WFAA, Channel 8 is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum.  Timed tickets are required and can be purchased online at www.dallasarboretum.org or by calling 214-515-6615.

 

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