Kansas City, Mo. — July 21, 2009— Grantham University (www.grantham.edu), an online university serving working adult students around the world, today announced Commander (Ret) Everett Alvarez, Jr., distinguished Naval officer, lawyer, author, entrepreneur and former government executive, has joined its Board of Governors.  Commander Alvarez is best known to the public as the first American aviator shot down over North Vietnam.  He was taken prisoner on August 5, 1964 and held as a POW for more than eight years, until the general release of American prisoners on February 12, 1973.

"My entire life has been dedicated to service, to my country, to my fellow service men and women, and to our veterans," said Commander Alvarez.  "In accepting a position on Grantham's Board of Governors, I see this as an opportunity to continue serving in, and positively influencing, programs that will greatly benefit the future of those wonderful men and women who are serving or have served our country."

Commander Alvarez retired from the Navy in 1980, and in 1981, he was appointed by President Reagan to the post of Deputy Director of the Peace Corps.  In July 1982, President Reagan nominated, and the Senate confirmed, Alvarez as Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration (VA).  After six years with the VA, he was appointed to the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda, Maryland.  Alvarez has been re-appointed by every president since, and now serves as the Chairman of the Board of Regents.

Alvarez is a lifetime member of the Board of Fellows of the University of Santa Clara.  He is on the Board of Directors of the International Graduate University of Democracy in Washington, DC, and he serves on the College of William & Mary Washington DC Council.  He has serviced on the White House Board of Fellows Selection Committee and on the Board of Directors of the Armed Services YMCA of the USA.  He holds numerous military decorations including: the Silver Star, two Legions of Merit (with Combat "V"), two Bronze Stars (with Combat "V"), the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Purple Heart Medals.

"We are extremely proud to have Mr. Alvarez join our Board of Governors," said Dr. John LaNear, President of Grantham University.  "His deep understanding of the needs of our military service members will be a great benefit to our University."

Commander Alvarez will join Lieutenant General (Ret) Thomas Rhame, vice president of finance and administration at the Association of the United States Army; Dr. Herbert I. London, president of the Hudson Institute; John Ashford, chairman and CEO of The Hawthorn Group, L.C.; Harry Haggerty, president and CEO of Math Mastery; and Rear Admiral Karen Harmeyer (Ret.), United States Navy, on the University's Board.