Dr. Ann Rondeau entered the United States Navy as a college graduate in 1974 with hopes to be a part of something bigger.
“I wanted to be part of a team. I wanted to know what a team was like,” said Rondeau. “And for me the military was a place that personified that opportunity, that spoke to the notion of teams and being able to come to together to a common purpose. It was very satisfying and very attractive to me and one of the things that brought me to the navy.”
Quickly Rondeau proved to be a leader – working her way up the ranks and gaining diverse military experience.
She went from a Pacific Fleet Communicator in her first few years in the navy to becoming an assistant to the office of the Secretary of Defense a few years later. Eventually she was named a commander of a NATO base in Italy and a commander of the Naval Training Center Great Lakes.
“So your job as a leader as you get more senior is not to say ‘I am the person who does everything.’ It is to say ‘I can help everybody to come together,’ and they are revealed in what they do for their gifts and their skills to make a common purpose to then have larger success,” said Rondeau.
By 2012, Rondeau retired as a Vice Admiral in the navy. But it was her time at the Naval Training Center that got the attention of College of DuPage. She got word of the job opening for president in 2016 and applied.
“What was really interesting is that I came here three times incognito, just to get a feel for the college, and asked ‘is this where I wanted to be?’ And the first day I walked on board, without anybody knowing who I was, I was in blue jeans and just kind of walking around, and I felt that this was home,” explained Rondeau. “This was a place that I wanted to be, so it did firm and validate that this was a calling so I do believe in many ways that I was meant to be here.”
Rondeau’s passion for helping others and working with a team has positioned her as commander of 34,000 students this past year, and a veteran worth recognizing.
“I talk about the fact that Memorial Day is to honor the sacrifice of service and that Veteran’s Day is to honor the service of sacrifice,” Rondeau added. “And by that we then honor ourselves and we celebrate ourselves as a nation.”
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena.