Citadel Hires Air Force Academy’s Rosa as New President

Citadel select Air Force Academy’s Rosa as new president (AP)

The Citadel has chosen the U.S. Air Force Academy’s superintendent as its new president, the military school’s board said Sunday. Air Force Lt. Gen. John Rosa Jr. has run the academy since 2003. The 1973 Citadel graduate will replace Maj. Gen. John Grinalds, who leaves Aug. 1 after eight years running the state military college in Charleston.

Grinalds, who helped the school move forward after its tumultuous fight over the admission of women in the mid-1990s, next year will become headmaster at Porter-Gaud School, a private prep school in Charleston with ties to the Episcopal Church.

I’m sure Rosa is an outstanding officer and a fine man to have risen to three star rank and selection for the prestigious superintendency of the Academy. That said, it’s an odd move for the Citadel to hire someone who has presided over a scandal plagued tenure at another institution.

For that matter–and it may well simply reflect my personal values–I can’t imagine stepping down from the presidency of the Citadel, a storied institution in South Carolina history, to take over a prep school.

via Jeff Quinton

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Just Me says:

    I admit I am not familiar with the inner workings or even outer workings of various military institutions, but I am guessing it is the “Citadel Alum” factor at work more than the scandals at the academy stuff.

  2. Jeff says:

    Rosa was the supt. brought in to clean up the AFA if I remember correctly. Porter-Gaud (where Grinalds went) itself used to be Porter Military Academy but it had a sex scandal that was as big locally as the Catholic priest one a few years ago.

    Grinalds wasn’t an alum and therefore not well-liked by many of the alums (but reportedly was well-liked by faculty.) Grinalds presided over the integration of women in the Corps of Cadets so he was going to be disliked by a large number of people no matter what he did.

    It’s been a while since they’ve had a well loved President and I was somewhat surprised they gave it to someone Air Force this time after the last one. Citadel Board of Visitors politics have gotten increasingly nastier over the past 3 or 4 years under Grinalds’ tenure with rumors of ouster attempts almost every year.

    Of the other finalists mentioned in today’s article, only Broadwater was an alum and it appears he may still have some career opportunities left in the Army.

    I’ve heard that Admiral Stockdale (the ex-POW and former VP candidate who was treated so horribly by the media in 1992) really had it out with the old-boy network at the Citadel when he was President there. Reportedly, they don’t even have an official portrait of him because he and his family haven’t cooperated in that task.

    Someone who actually went to the Citadel could probably fill in more background on it.

  3. CGHill says:

    And Porter-Gaud is no slouch of a school, either; it may not be Phillips Exeter, but it’s not so far behind.

  4. bryan says:

    I can’t imagine stepping down from the presidency of the Citadel, a storied institution in South Carolina history, to take over a prep school.

    Eight years as head of a college is a long tenure for a president these days. The prep school gig is bound to be a cushy “prep” for retirement.

  5. Drew says:

    As has been pointed out, Rosa was brought in to the USAFA to clean up the mess that was already there. That he, as a Citadel graduate, was pegged for the job was a feather in the cap to The Citadel and a huge break with tradition (to the best of my knowledge, he was the first non-service academy graduate [the others were AFA alums or, previously (until AFA grads could get the seniority) West Pointers]).

    Rosa replaced Lt. Gen. John R. Dallager (USAFA ’69) under whose tenure the scandals broke. Dallager had a distinguished career, but as a result of the scandals retired with two, not three, stars. Interestingly enough, Dallager also commanded a South Carolina-based Wing, the 354th TFW at the now-closed Myrtle Beach AFB.

    Whether Dallager deserved to have a star taken from him (interesting bit of trivia: no officer is actually promoted past two-star rank, they hold three- and four-star billets and must be nominated to retire in those ranks) may be debatable — unfortunately for him, he was the man in charge when the scandals broke. In recent history, Superintendency of the nation’s service academies (West Point, Annapolis, AFA) has been an assignment from which three-star officers retire. GEN William Westmorland, who left West Point to Command XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg and then went on to four star rank in Vietnam is the last officer that immediately comes to mind as having not retired after their tour as Supe was up. On the other hand, the one-star position of Commandant at the academies is seen as an assignment for fast burners who are going places (an immediate case that comes to mind is GEN John Abizaid, former Commandant of Cadets at West Point and current C-in-C of U.S. CENTCOM).

    As Jeff has pointed out, Grinalds (a West Pointer — pretty rare for a Marine) wasn’t accepted very well by many of the Alumni. At least one Citadel grad of my aquaintance has suggested that no non-Citadel graduate is fit to lead the school (I take great delight in pointing out to him that GENs Summerall and Clark were not Citadel grads!). MGen Grinalds had come to The Citadel from Woodberry Forrest (a prep school), so he is very familiar with the prep school environment. Bryan was correct in that eight years as a college president is pretty long tenure, especially given the fact that Grinalds had to deal with the stress of introducing females into the Corps. He should do well at Porter-Gaud.

    Incidentally, I am a graduate of Georgia Military College, not The Citadel (although I do live in the Charleston area and have frequent interaction with members of The Citadel community).

  6. acad grad says:

    Good riddence. Rosa has done a worse job than the last Sup. With full knowledge of the problems he has been slow to act and even allowed new issues to crop up. The AF put him in because he is a loyal “yes man” who they felt would paper over the academy’s problems. At the same time it was a way to reward Rosa for past deeds (misdeeds) without putting combat pilots at risk by putting him in a real leadership position. It is fitting he go back to the school that bred him. At least he can’t do any more damage to the academy and the AF.

  7. Tim Keohane says:

    Gen. Rosa was my classmate at The Citadel. To the “acad grad” who posted such a negative message, I can assure him that John will be welcome at our alma mater. The “school that bred” us also taught us to have the courage and conviction to sign our name when we express an opinion. Tim Keohane, The Citadel, Class of 1973