MINNEAPOLIS, May 16, 2005 – U.S. Navy Capt. Norma "Lee" Hackney, the first woman to command a U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship in a war zone, earned her doctorate. in organization and management from Capella University, an online accredited* university headquartered in Minneapolis. Capt. Hackney participated in the university's commencement ceremony held March 5 in Atlanta, Ga.

Enrolling in an online university to earn her doctorate degree made it possible for Capt. Hackney to complete much of her coursework while she commanded the U.S.S. SAIPAN in the Gulf of Arabia off the coast of Kuwait. "We had good Internet access and I was able to schedule time around 2100 until 2400 to keep up with course assignments and interact with professors and learners."

Capt. Hackney advocates that education is vital for military promotion. "I really push my crew to take advantage of remote classes as well," said Capt. Hackney. "The biggest reason they have for not enrolling is lack of time and too much work. To show the crew it could be done, I took the challenge myself."

Capt. Hackney assumed her current job as chief of staff for Commander Amphibious Group TWO in September 2003. Amphibious Group Two is responsible for all Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Forces. The group ensures the squadrons, ships and supporting elements are manned, trained, and materially and operationally ready to deploy in support of national objectives. During this tour, she completed her dissertation, "Leadership: I Am in Charge…Beliefs and Actions of Leaders Aboard U.S. Navy Ships."

A native of Bradenton, Fla., Capt. Hackney earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics with a computer science minor from Jacksonville University. She received her commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Program in 1978. In 1985, she graduated with a master's in operations analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. She graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College in 1988.

Capt. Hackney's first assignment was to Naval Data Automation Command, Washington, D.C., as an economic analyst. In 1980, she transferred to USS PROTEUS (AS 19), home ported in Guam, as the damage control assistant and engineer officer. In 1985, Capt. Hackney graduated with a Master of Science in operations analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. Her follow-on tour was aboard USS YOSEMITE (AD 19), Mayport, Fla., as engineer officer. In 1988, she graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va., and reported to the Joint Staff, J8, to serve as an operations analyst.

Capt. Hackney was executive officer aboard USS MERRIMACK (AO 179), Norfolk, Va., from 1991 to 1992. Following her XO tour, she was assigned to OPNAV Staff, as head surface analyst. From November 1994 until November 1996, Capt. Hackney was the commanding officer of USS WILLAMETTE (AO 180). The highlight of this tour was deploying to the Western Pacific and the Persian Gulf as a member of the USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) Battle Group. Her next assignment was to Surface Warfare School, Command Department, Newport, R.I., to instruct prospective commanding officers and executive officers. From June 1998 until March 2000, she served as executive officer aboard USS BATAAN (LHD 5), Norfolk, Va. After her executive officer tour, Capt. Hackney served as the commanding officer of Assault Craft Unit FOUR from May 2000 until August 2001. During her various afloat assignments, she sailed to the Mediterranean, Western Pacific, South Pacific, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and the Caribbean. She became commanding officer aboard USS SAIPAN (LHA 2) on Dec. 6, 2001.

In addition to campaign and unit awards, Capt. Hackney has been awarded the Legion of Merit (with gold star), the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with three gold stars) and the Navy Commendation Medal.

About Capella University
Founded in 1993 to serve working adults and employers, Capella University is an online accredited* academic institution. Capella University offers graduate degree programs in business, information technology, education, human services and psychology, and undergraduate degrees in business and information technology. The university currently serves nearly 13,000 enrolled learners from all 50 states and 55 countries. Central to Capella's approach are achievement-oriented learners, expert faculty, and a university staff that is passionate about each individual's success. Capella is a national leader in online education, committed to providing high-caliber academic excellence and pursuing balanced business growth. Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information, visit www.capella.edu or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).

Education Opportunities for U.S. Armed Forces Service Members
Capella University offers U.S. Armed Forces service members a 10 to 15 percent tuition discount. This discount extends not only to active duty members, but also to veterans, guards, reservists, civilian employees of the Department of Defense and immediate families of active duty personnel. To ensure Armed Forces service members receive maximum college credits for military training and education, Capella University is affiliated with several organizations, including Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) and the SOC branch network program for the Coast Guard (SOCCOAST), Army National Guard Education Support Center, Army Management Staff College and Joint Forces Staff College. In addition, Capella was selected as one of four preferred education providers for the U.S. Special Operations Forces through the Operation Enlightened Warrior program. For more information, visit www.capella.edu/armedforces.

*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, located at 30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, (312) 263-0456, www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org.