Petters, Davidson to speak at Saint Leo commencement

The newest graduates at Saint Leo University will get a sendoff from a native brother and sister duo who have a lot to share about their experiences.

C. Michael Petters and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Susan Davidson will deliver the guest commencement address at Saint Leo May 3 for graduate and undergraduate students at the university.

Petters, chief executive officer at Huntington Ingalls Industries, will deliver the afternoon message, while his sister, Davidson, will speak in the morning. Both are from Dade City, and grew up in St. Joseph. Both also served in the military, just like their other siblings in what has become a Petters family tradition.

Petters earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 and served aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS George Bancroft. He is now on the board of directors for the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, and is on the board of trustees of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.

Davidson received her commission in 1983, and began active duty in 1986. In the decades since, she has commanded at the company, battalion and brigade level in both peace and war. That includes the 870th Transportation Company in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s, the 49th movement Control Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and both the 599th Transportation Group, and the 595th Terminal Transportation Group in Kuwait.

Although Davidson was committed to service and her country, she did delay her commitment to the U.S. Army for three months in 1986 so that she could help replant the family orange groves that had been damaged in a hard freeze.

She earned a chemistry degree from New Mexico State University, and holds master’s degrees in advanced military studies, and national security and strategic studies.

In June 2012, Davidson assumed command of Defense Logistics Agency Distribution, a leading provider of global distribution support to America’s military.

Saint Leo has 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students who attend either in St. Leo, from more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations.

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