1/C Character Capstone Seminars
This seminar program was introduced for the Class of 2002. The goal is to support the mission of the Naval Academy by providing the 1/C midshipmen the opportunity to discuss issues of leadership, character, and ethics in a focused day-long setting. These discussions are one of the final opportunities available to them in their preparation for assuming the mantle of leadership as commissioned officers. The seminar provides a continuing effort to underscore the core values of honor, courage, and commitment and the application of these values as commissioned officers in the profession of arms. Each 1/C midshipman will attend this day-long seminar at some point during the First Class year. They can select any one of 26 dates that best fits their schedule. Each seminar is limited to 42 Midshipmen to maintain the effectiveness of small-group discussions. Midshipmen attend the seminar in business attire for two reasons. The first is to underscore the importance of appropriate attire for meetings and other functions when a uniform is not required. The second is to remove any semblance of rank hierarchy, so that the value of a person's comment is based on its worth and not the person's position or rank.
Unlike civilian institutions, we hire all of our graduates, and within months of commissioning, the new ensigns and 2nd lieutenants will find themselves in leadership positions that can challenge their values and test their character daily. The seminar discussions are designed to stimulate thought about important and relevant issues to be faced in the not-too-distant future. The seminar is integrated with the academic courses in leadership and moral reasoning taught during the four years at the Academy, providing 1/C midshipmen a valuable opportunity to test their knowledge and skill and challenge that of their peers. This experience is enhanced by input from experienced facilitators at each table. These men and women are drawn from the staff and faculty of the Naval Academy and supporting organizations, including as well former commissioned officers now retired. All provide valuable input and perspective to assist in the decision-making process. The seminar is a learning experience for all who participate.
As an institution, we strive to reinforce midshipmen's ability to discern between right and wrong and to reason through right vs. right decisions, while stressing the obligations they have as leaders to develop the moral courage to do what is right even at great personal risk. These goals are embedded in the commissioned officer's role as a Leader of Character, trained and educated to serve as Warrior, Servant of the Nation, and a Standard Bearer of the Naval Profession. To this end, this program is funded by private donations from the Elliot family in memory of their son, Ensign John Elliott, Class of 2000, through the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers and the generous support from the USNA Class of 1970.