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We were taught how to ask questions and then how to ask more questions and dig a little deeper. I think that skill has really helped me in the Navy.”

Lisa Franchetti
on her Medill education

Lisa Franchetti

Lisa Franchetti's Northwestern Direction:

  • Start at Medill as an undergraduate.
  • Join the NROTC.
  • Serve a series of Navy assignments, including tours at the Pentagon and aboard a disaster relief ship in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Become commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea.
  • Become first female Joint Chief of Staff.

As commander, Franchetti led a team of naval personnel and civilians who work to promote the strong alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea. She was the first woman to serve as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea and one of fewer than 40 female admirals in the U.S. Navy. An expert military tactician and strategist who has commanded a guided-missile destroyer and served as a commodore of a destroyer squadron, she was the U.S. Navy’s representative in the Republic of Korea. In 2023, she became the 33rd chief of naval operations.

Franchetti entered Northwestern with the plan to become a foreign correspondent. But a chance encounter during her freshman orientation week changed her life. “I was on my way from Patten Gym and saw a bunch of NROTC students having a cookout and playing football, and I stopped by to talk to them,” she says. “They said, ‘We could get you $100 a month, and maybe you could get a scholarship next year if you joined ROTC.’"

Although she never became a journalist, Franchetti says that her Medill education was great preparation for her Navy career. “The Medill program gave me a very inquisitive mind.” 

Read the full Northwestern magazine profile on Lisa Franchetti.

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