Givhan, a native of Safford, Ala., who earned a master’s degree from TROY, retired this year as a major general in the U.S. Air Force, serving as Vice Commander of Air University in Montgomery, where he oversaw all of the Air Force’s higher education—with the exception of the Air Force Academy—including the Community College of the Air Force, the world’s largest community college system. He has also served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in charge of U.S. global assistance programs and as Commandant of the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio, the Air Force’s graduate school of engineering and management as well as its institution for technical professional continuing education.
In his role at TROY, Givhan will lead development and outreach efforts, including fundraising, sponsored programs, governmental relations and marketing and communication. In addition, he will lead the University’s efforts at promoting economic development across the state and region.
“Walter Givhan’s experience in military education has prepared him to excel in this important leadership role at TROY,” Chancellor Hawkins said. “His experience in Washington, D.C., will be invaluable to our government relations efforts and his administrative and leadership skills will benefit his division as well as the University as a whole. He is committed to the mission of higher education and will do an outstanding job.”
Givhan received his undergraduate degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and joined the USAF in 1981. He is a command pilot and flight instructor with more than 2,500 flying hours and served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and received 15 major awards and decorations for his service. Givhan is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations who also speaks French, German and a dialect of Afghan Farsi called Dari. He is married to Frances Beeland Givhan, of Greenville, Ala., and they have five children: Mary Evelyn, Jane, William, Walter Bratton, and Marion.
“As a TROY alumnus, I'm pleased and honored to have this opportunity to serve my alma mater,” Givhan said. “I am passionate about the critical work Troy University is doing around the world. Troy University is headed in an exciting direction, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Hawkins and the rest of the TROY team, and I'm grateful to be a part of it. My family and I are delighted to join the TROY family."
Givhan described his leadership style as “open, collaborative, collegial and student-and community-centered.” He added that TROY’s focus as an international university with strong ties to the U.S. military fits his philosophy.
“Throughout my career, I’ve seen the value of ethnically and culturally diverse teams and I have worked hard to promote and harness that diversity to make the team successful,” Givhan said. “In the education and training world, I’ve put the students and the people we serve at the center of our mission.”
Givhan added that the position with TROY provides him and his family a welcome opportunity to return to his home state.
“Alabama is in my blood and I’m eager to return,” Givhan said, pointing out that his Alabama roots date to the early 19th century. “My family has long been highly involved in the economic and political life of the state, my grandfather having served in the state legislature for nearly 40 years and my father having served as a bank president in several cities.”
Givhan succeeds Dr. John Schmidt, who is retiring July 31 after 20 years of service to Troy University in several senior leadership positions. Givhan will report to TROY July 15.
“Dr. Schmidt has contributed much to TROY during his career, including leading two capital campaigns and serving as the catalyst for our first-year student success program,” Dr. Hawkins said. “He is an exemplary servant-leader and we will miss him and his many contributions to this University.”