URI May Rescind Honorary Degree to General Michael Flynn

Saturday, December 02, 2017


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Michael Flynn, Receiving Honorary Degree at URI

General Michael Flynn received an honorary degree from his alma mater the University of Rhode Island in 2014, and the University’s spokeswoman tells GoLocal that Friday’s events have put that award under review.

Flynn joins such notables as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Coretta Scott King, Elie Wiesel, Christiane Amanpour, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Jesse Jackson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Aaron Copland, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Margaret Chase Smith, to name just a few of those Americans deemed worthy of being recognized for their contributions by URI.

On Friday, Flynn, a highly decorated General, agreed to plead guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The plea has been entered, but when he is sentenced, Flynn will be deemed a convicted felon

Honorary Degrees

How did Flynn and do others receive an honorary degree?

The process of nominating a recipient starts with the Honorary Degree Committee which considers all nominations that have been received each year from the University community and the public. The committee then makes a selection and forwards it on to the President David Dooley and then the nomination must receive the blessing of the RI Board of Education which is chaired by Barbara Cottam.

According to Linda Acciardo, head of communications for the University, Donald H. DeHayes

Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs will be responsible for reviewing Flynn’s situation.  He heads the Honorary Degree Committee. “I  have an expectation that this will be before the committee at the next meeting,” said Acciardo.

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RI’s General — From Presidential Top Security Adviser to a Felony Guilty Plea

It has been a sad and almost immediate spiraling downfall for RI native.

In 2011, GoLocal wrote a feature story about Flynn and his brother Charlie Flynn, when the younger Flynn was promoted to General. GoLocal wrote:

With two of her sons in the military, Helen Flynn has the right to worry on many days of the year, last Tuesday, however, was not one of them. On September 6th Helen Flynn felt nothing but pride as her son Charlie Flynn was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, joining his brother, Michael Flynn, who is a Major General and special assistant to the deputy chief of staff G-2 of the Army—that’s a lot of stars for one Middletown family.

It’s exceptionally rare for two brothers to attain the rank of General, let alone for one to preside over the other’s promotion ceremony—as Michael did when he pinned the star onto Charlie’s uniform last Tuesday.

“As you can imagine with a large family, we’ve had many, many enjoyable and heartfelt moments over the years,” said Clare Eckert, Charlie’s older sister, “but Charlie’s promotion tops the chart of special and proud memories.”

Eckert isn’t exaggerating about the size of the family either—Charlie is one of nine siblings, all of whom managed to be present for the promotion ceremony at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Family members came from as far away as Canada and California for the event, where Michael spoke eloquently about the humble heroism of his brother’s time in Iraq—which included protecting vital road access to the Green Zone.

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Flynn brothers in 2011, with their late mother

The two brothers have more in common than simply holding some of the highest offices in the US military, though. Both are graduates of the ROTC program at URI and both have served extensive tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two also worked very closely together on the staff of retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal—the previous commander of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. Michael served as his Director of Intelligence, while Charlie—then a colonel—served as his Executive Officer.

Charlie calls McChrystal one of his most respected mentors, and attributes much of his career’s success to the guidance provided by the retired General. Charlie was put under commander McChrystal at a young age, a “sweet spot” as he calls it, “the time when you’re deciding whether or not you want to go for the career.”

In reference to McChrystal and Lt. General John Vines, Charlie states “I would not have enjoyed the successes had they not shaped and molded and influenced me to the degree that they did and still do.”

Charlie also credited his father for his achievements, especially for encouraging him to follow in Michael’s footsteps and enroll in the ROTC program at URI—a program which he has “nothing but good things to say about.” In fact, URI will be inducting Michael into their ROTC Hall of Fame later this month. READ MORE HERE

Trump and Flynn

In the summer of 2016, he was being mentioned on the short list for then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, GoLocal reported. 

At the Republican National Committee, Flynn led the anti-Hillary Clinton messaging at the Republican National Convention in the summer of 2016. 



After the election, Rhode Island senior U.S. Senator Jack Reed issued a strong statement endorsing the Flynn appointment to serve as National Security Advisor. Reed said, "General Flynn served honorably throughout his 33-year military career," Reed said in a statement sent to reporters at 3:34 p.m. "I respect him and deeply admire his family's legacy of military service . . . He is familiar with the complex set of security challenges we face. And President-elect Trump does not have a wealth of experience in this arena."

But Flynn's decline started almost immediately after his appointment to the position of NSA. Flynn like fellow Rhode Islander Sean Spicer had unfettered access to the new President. But both were gone from their positions just months after Trump took office.

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LTG Michael T. Flynn, 18th Director of Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency: A 1981 URI College of Business Administration graduate, LTG Flynn is a three-star Army general and serving as the 18th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. During his 33 years of service at the highest levels of the U.S. Intelligence Community, he led the multinational intelligence effort in Afghanistan and became well known for his novel approaches to strategically gathering intelligence. Through his writings and frequent congressional testimonies, the highly decorated officer clearly positions and communicates the Intelligence Agency's mission to help the nation and its leaders understand the threats it faces, and assists in decisions and actions that will help our country prepare for the future. Raised in Rhode Island, the nationally known expert on intelligence, cyber, special operations, and security has, for many years, brought his insights home to share with students, faculty and area businesses attending URI's annual high profile Cybersecurity Symposium. In addition to his undergraduate degree from URI, Flynn holds a Masters of Business Administration in Telecommunications, from Golden Gate University, San Francisco; a Masters in the Military Arts and Sciences from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from The Institute of World Politics, Washington, D.C. He resides with his family in Washington, D.C. Flynn will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater.


Related Slideshow: Trump Rally in Warwick Rhode Island, April, 2016


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