commencement ceremony in Cutlip Auditorium

Retired U.S. Army Major General and current WWU Trustee Byron S. Bagby to deliver William Woods undergraduate and graduate commencement addresses

William Woods University (WWU) is pleased to announce that Byron S. Bagby, a U.S. Army veteran of 33 years’ service who retired at the rank of Major General, will deliver the 2023 commencement address for both the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies on Saturday, April 29. Maj. Gen.(Ret) General Bagby, a native of Fulton, is also a current member of the WWU Board of Trustees.

Commencement weekend will begin with the traditional Ivy Ceremony at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 28. The undergraduate commencement ceremony will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, followed by the graduate ceremony at 2 p.m., both inside Cutlip Auditorium. It is anticipated that approximately 250 graduates, including their families and friends, will attend the events.

Hosting General Bagby continues a William Woods tradition of welcoming a wide range of prominent individuals as commencement speakers, which have included actors, authors, talk show hosts, singers, media members, executives, U.S. Senators and a future U.S. President.

Byron Bagby portrait
Major General (Ret.) Byron Bagby

“Byron Bagby’s extraordinary life story, from serving his country at the highest level of leadership in the Armed Forces, to his impressive civilian career in fostering executive leadership development, coaching and strategy, is one that will serve as an inspiration to our graduates” said Dr. Jeremy Moreland, President of William Woods. “His career has been the epitome of service, leadership, professionalism, integrity and honor, and we are thrilled to have him deliver his powerful message at William Woods.”

General Bagby’s sterling military career includes serving as Commandant (equivalent to Chancellor) of Joint Forces Staff College; Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Military Cooperation in Cairo, Egypt, managing security cooperation programs valued at $1.3 billion annually; Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, Europe, directing all the activities of over 1,000 people in 30 locations, in nine countries; and assignments to five of the Army’s ten combat divisions. He also served on the faculty/staff at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and in the Pentagon on the Joint Staff and Department of the Army Staff.  He is a veteran of multiple combat deployments.

Since retiring from the military, General Bagby has served as Managing Partner of BMB Solutions, LLC, an independent consulting firm specializing in executive leadership development and coaching, strategy development and governance. He is a certified True Growth Leadership facilitator, and Authentic Leadership Development Coach through the Chambers Bay Institute, and has coached more than 400 leaders.

In addition to serving on the WWU Board of Trustees, General Bagby is also on the Board of Directors for Management Support Technology, Inc.; the Board of Trustees for Columbia Southern University, and the Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Advisors for Ryan Consulting Group and on the Trustee Board of Westminster College.

General Bagby has earned a number of honors and decorations in his career, including induction into the Fulton Public Schools Hall of Fame; 

the Westminster College Lifetime Alumni Achievement Award; the Ranger Tab; the Master Parachutist Badge; two Army Distinguished Service Medals;

four Defense Superior Service Medals; two Legions of Merit; and the Bronze Star Medal. 

During the William Woods commencement, General Bagby will focus on the importance of “GRACE” in achieving success in any profession.

General Bagby is a graduate of Westminster College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a Master’s in Education in Higher Education. He and his wife, Monique Hale Bagby, have two adult children and two grandchildren and live in Alexandria, Va.