NJ Speakers Series presents General Martin Dempsey

martin dempseyAbove: Gen. Martin Dempsey gave a wide-ranging talk at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J., covering current events, leadership, and even included an Irish drinking song. (Photos by Michael Paras)

By Emily Potrzuski and Dan Landau

FDU’s New Jersey Speakers Series continued on Thursday, February 23 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J. with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Opening his speech with a salute to his New Jersey roots — “Exit 14A, if anyone’s interested” — the Bayonne, N.J. native talked about military strategy, current events, and leadership lessons learned in his decades of service.

“There are two principles all leaders must cultivate: belonging and inclusion. It was my responsibility as a leader to make the soldiers under my command feel like they belonged. The more we do this — in all walks of life — the better citizens people are,” he said.

“Inclusion is about giving up control to retain power. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works. With Britain, we developed a way to be inclusive with someone who shared our values,” he said, citing the interdependent relationship between the U.S. and the U.K.

Martin DempseyAbove (L to R): FDU President Christopher Capuano; Martha Papson Garcia, director of veterans services for outreach; Martin Dempsey; and FDU senior John Myles, president of the Student Veterans Association.

Dempsey began his army career at West Point, graduating in 1974 and receiving a commission as a second lieutenant, eventually working his way through the ranks to become a four-star general in 2008. Former President Barack Obama appointed Dempsey as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the country, in 2011. He held the position until 2015, the same year that TIME magazine put him on its “100 Most Influential People” list.

He joked about the TIME nod saying, “My staff told me, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but TIME listed you one of the Most Influential People.’ I said, ‘I don’t believe it—I’m not even one of the most influential people in my house!’”

During his illustrious career, Dempsey received many awards, including a Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Medal from the U.S. Army and an honorary knighthood from the Queen of England.

Dempsey closed the night with a hearty rendition of “The Irish Pub,” a song celebrating the worldwide popularity of Irish pubs.

Martin Dempsey

The 2016-2017 New Jersey Speakers Series continues with broadcast journalist and former anchor of ‘Nightline” Ted Koppel on March 23, followed by Pulitzer Prize-winning president historian Jon Meacham on April 20.

The 2016-2017 New Jersey Speakers Series presented by Fairleigh Dickinson University is sponsored by WCBS Newsradio 880, NJPAC, NJ.com and is affiliated with The Star Ledger, Hollister Construction Services, Delta Dental of New Jersey, PNC Bank, TD Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.

All programs take place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J., and begin at 8 p.m. For tickets and information visit NJSpeakerSeries.org or call 1-888-MY-NJPAC or 1-888-696-5722.