Gene R. Kendall

Rear Admiral, retired, U.S. Navy
Director of Training GSO Corporation
2007 DESA recipient
Primary office:



  • B.S., engineering physics, 1971
  • Master of engineering, special studies, 1972

Rear Admiral Gene R. Kendall, retired, exemplified innovation, professionalism and leadership throughout his lengthy naval career. Kendall completed Nuclear Power Training in 1968 and was commissioned from the Naval Enlisted Scientific Education Program at the University of Kansas. He earned a bachelor's degree in engineering physics in 1971 and the master of engineering degree in 1972. While at KU, Kendall was integral in establishing the Student Council for Recruiting, Motivating and Educating Black Engineers: the inception of minority and diversity programs at the School of Engineering.

Kendall commanded three ships and his tours of duty included Surface Warfare Officer School as the founding director of the Engineering Officer of the Watch course and director of Engineering Specialty Training. He also served as special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations and Fellow with the Chief of Naval Operations' Strategic Studies Group XV at the Naval War College. As director of the U.S. Naval Academy's Division of Mathematics and Science in 1992 he was the first African American and first non-Naval Academy graduate to lead a major academic division.

In 1996, he became the 12th African American in U.S. Navy history to achieve that rank of rear admiral.

Throughout his career Kendall was recognized for the leadership and professionalism he brought to his position, as well as for the technological contributions he made. He has received two Legion of Merit awards and three Meritorious Service Medals. He has been involved in the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, NSBE, the American Society of Naval Engineers and the Surface Navy Association. He serves on the School of Engineering Advisory Board.

Kendall currently is director of training for GSO Corporation. He and his wife Sandra, reside in Fernandina Beach, Fla. They have two sons.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times