Steve Bliss
EMBA '98
Steve Bliss, a 31-year veteran of the Army and retired brigadier general took over in 2002 as president of California's prestigious Army and Navy Academy.
Steve Bliss, a 31-year veteran of the Army and retired brigadier general took over in 2002 as president of California's prestigious Army and Navy Academy.
For 100 years, California's prestigious Army and Navy Academy has made good on its commitment to "educate and develop young men of good character." As the institution celebrates its centennial in 2009, an alumnus of The University of Texas at Dallas occupies the president's office.

Steve Bliss, a 31-year veteran of the Army and retired brigadier general took over in 2002 as president of the 16-acre beachside campus in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego. There he leads more than 300 cadets, along with 125 faculty and staff. While some past presidents have brought extensive military experience to the role, Bliss is the first to bring formal management training in the form of his 1998 degree from the School of Management (SOM). "I look at this position primarily as a leader running a business operation," Bliss said. "We have a terrific faculty providing a first-rate educational experience for our cadets and my role is to make certain we manage our resources in a way that helps expand this great tradition."

Bliss played a key role in locating a Vietnam War memorial on the grounds of the Army and Navy Academy.  Dedicated in 2008, the memorial honors more than 100 service members from the local area who died in Vietnam, including five graduates of the academy.
Bliss played a key role in locating a Vietnam War memorial on the grounds of the Army and Navy Academy. Dedicated in 2008, the memorial honors more than 100 service members from the local area who died in Vietnam, including five graduates of the academy.
Bliss' career path began as an engineering major at West Point, from which he graduated in 1965. One of his fellow engineering classmates there would also pass through the SOM. Jerry Madden (MS '78), a 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, went to Vietnam after West Point, just as Bliss did, but he committed his career to one of public service. Madden has spent eight terms as a Texas legislator representing House District 67, which includes Dallas, Plano and Richardson. "I know Jerry served the people of North Texas well and it's an honor, and a very unique coincidence, to share a connection with him both as West Point classmates and SOM alumni from UT Dallas."

Following two tours in Vietnam, Bliss quickly rose through the ranks, holding command and staff assignments focusing primarily on multi-functional logistics operations. His final military assignment prior to retirement brought him to Dallas. He served as vice commander of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), a $7 billion retail sales operation responsible for the Base Exchange stores for the Air Force and Post Exchange stores for the Army. "While at AAFES, I decided that I wanted to have greater expertise in operations management, logistics, and all the other knowledge areas that are key to success in running a business," he explained.

After enrolling in the Executive MBA (EMBA) program, Bliss found the coursework invaluable. "The faculty were outstanding, especially David Springate who forced us to think strategically and to value statistics and quantitative measures in the management process," said Bliss. Reflecting on his career, Bliss explained, "I had a lifetime of experience in the Army, but the short time I spent at UT Dallas has made all the difference as I have moved on to the second phase of my professional life." UT Dallas, he said, "gave me the tools to succeed both as a management consultant and as president of the Army and Navy Academy." Most important, Bliss said, "are the strong friendships and professional relationships established through the EMBA program."



Sara Clingan is in her first year of law school at the University of Virginia.

Sara Clingan
BA '09 - Political Science & Economics
Big changes are just part of life for new college grads. For Sara Clingan, big changes and the new opportunities they bring are just part of everyday life. Being recruited to UT Dallas from her hometown of Springfield, Mo., was just the first step in what has been a dizzying array of experiences for this 2009 graduate. "I was considering Georgetown, Northwestern and Boston University, but choosing UT Dallas was a decision I'll never regret," said Clingan.

Fresh off finishing a double major in political science and economics, Clingan is now a first-year law student at the University of Virginia. "After law school, I'm very interested in pursuing work in immigration law, especially in the area of assisting refugees," Clingan said. She credits her UT Dallas experience as a major influencer of her career choice. "I studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo, taught English in Jordan to students who had fled Iraq, and traveled to Turkey, Syria, and Costa Rica. My UT Dallas experience literally took me around the world."

Among her many travels as a Eugene McDermott Scholar, Sara Clingan visited Amman, Jordan, where she gave the Comet Whoosh in an ancient amphitheater.
Among her many travels as a Eugene McDermott Scholar, Sara Clingan visited Amman, Jordan, where she gave the Comet Whoosh in an ancient amphitheater.
This global experience was made possible for Clingan through the Eugene McDermott Scholarship. Since it was established in 2000 with a gift by longtime UT Dallas benefactor, Margaret McDermott, this program has provided full scholarships to about 20 students each year. Under the tutelage of senior faculty members, recipients also participate in specially designed classes that explore the arts, humanities, history, and political science. Each scholar has at least one study-abroad experience, and makes a commitment to public service during their time in the program. "Being a McDermott Scholar gave me opportunities I never imagined," Clingan said. "It created friendships that will last a lifetime."

Making the adjustment from Dallas, where everything is new, to small town life in historic Charlottesville, Va., hasn't been difficult, according to Clingan. "The work here is hard, but it's a very supportive environment and people know when to take a break and enjoy life." The biggest adjustment has been leaving her friends and classmates behind at UT Dallas. "I especially miss my roommates," she explained. But Clingan's former roomies have been busy too: Anna Markowitz (BS '11) is currently studying abroad in Hong Kong and Rachel Markowitz (BS '08) is a Fulbright Scholar studying in Morocco. "Obviously, we're all headed in different career directions, but our UT Dallas experience will always keep us together."
Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Interested in connecting with a specific school or have a question about any external relations topic?
Please visit our staff website to find the appropriate contact.


Contact Us!