The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina


Biography of Lt Gen John W. Rosa

Lt Gen John W. RosaLt Gen John W. Rosa became the 19th president of The Citadel on January 3, 2006. His presidency has been marked by a keen focus on strategic initiatives that will enhance The Citadel's mission of developing principled leaders.

His concern for keeping a Citadel education relevant in the 21st century while holding to the values that make the college unique has strengthened the college in significant ways. Since Rosa became president, The Citadel has increased the size of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets to full capacity and completed a $100 million capital campaign -- two benchmarks of a vibrant institution.

Rosa was born in Springfield, Ill., Sept. 28, 1951. After graduating high school in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1969, he was recruited to play football at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. While at The Citadel Rosa was starting Bulldog quarterback in 1970 and went on to earn three varsity letters in football. He graduated from The Citadel in 1973 with a degree in business administration and was awarded a commission in the Air Force.

A command fighter pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours, Rosa enjoyed an illustrious 32-year career in the Air Force. Among his career highlights, he was stationed in Lossiemouth, Scotland, as an American exchange officer flying the Jaguar for the Royal Air Force. He has commanded at squadron, group and wing levels at air bases in South Korea, Idaho, South Carolina, New Mexico and Georgia. He served as inspector general for Pacific Air Forces at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and commandant of the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

As deputy director for operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., he was in charge of the National Military Command Center and served as the military spokesman for the Pentagon when U.S. troops were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002. In July 2003, he was named superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and in September of that year, he was promoted to lieutenant general. He remained in that position until his retirement from active duty in November 2005.

Rosa then returned to Charleston to become president of his alma mater.

Rosa holds a master’s degree in public administration from Golden Gate University. He is a graduate of the Air Force Command and Staff College, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. And he has studied at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Charleston in May of 2007.

John and Donna Rosa

Since returning to Charleston, he has become active in college and community affairs. Rosa is a member of the Economic Leadership Council of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, and a member of the board of directors for both the Trident United Way and the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative. Rosa is also a member of the board of directors of The Citadel Foundation, and a former board member for both The Citadel Brigadier Foundation and the Lowcountry Graduate Center, as well as an ex officio member of The Citadel School of Business Advisory Board.

Both The Society of the Cincinnati and the Washington Light Infantry have made Lt. Gen. Rosa an honorary member.

His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Combat Readiness Medal with two oak leaf clusters. He has flown the A-7, A-10, Hunter and Jaguar aircraft, F-16, F-117A, HH-60G and HC-130.

He is married to Donna Kangeter, a Charleston native. They have two sons—Jonathan and his wife Elisha have two children, and Brad is a 2003 graduate.

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