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Richard F. Johnson

Veterans Day speaker, Army Brig. Gen. Richard F. Johnson P ’19, encouraged students to ask themselves two questions: “What inspiration can I draw from the service of veterans?” and “How will I serve?” Brig. Gen. Johnson is the Land Component Commander, Massachusetts Army National Guard. He is responsible for training, readiness, and force development for a formation of over 6,000 soldiers, and serves as a Joint Task Force Commander and Contingency Dual Status Commander in domestic security and natural disaster response operations. He is a highly decorated veteran of four combat deployments: as a platoon leader in Iraq and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm, company commander in Afghanistan in 2009–10, and as a senior combat advisor with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan in 2012–13. Brig. Gen. Johnson is a senior executive fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He completed the National Security Management Fellowship at Syracuse University and holds graduate degrees in criminal justice and public affairs from the University of Massachusetts, and he was a national security fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

“In a world that’s fraught with peril and those that would do harm, your veterans have been the guardians of freedom and the protectors of peace and humanity. Celebrate their service and sacrifice by making your own contribution. Find your future, decide how you will serve, and pay the best tribute that you can to those who have served you.”


Publishing stories: researching, interviewing, analyzing, reporting and responding—is challenging and in some cases, dangerous. Has the profession been affected by the wave of invectives, the efforts to sow mistrust, the drive to discredit journalists’ work? What seems difficult and what is rewarding about reporting on the world? Journalists are critical agents in helping us develop the awareness and the acuity to understand our world and to inform our choices.