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Decorated Military Leader Will Deliver Keynote Address at Ashford University’s Commencement
Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham to speak at Ashford’s first San Diego graduation on October 5
Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham will give the keynote address at Ashford University’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 5

Decorated military leader Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham, commander, Navy Medicine West and Naval Medical Center San Diego, has been selected to deliver the keynote address during Ashford University’s commencement ceremony. Thousands of graduates and guests from across the United States and from several other countries will participate in the University’s first ceremony being held in San Diego on October 5 at the San Diego Convention Center.

A San Diego native, Gillingham attended University of California, San Diego and completed a surgical internship and orthopedic surgery residency in 1994 at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD). He later served the medical center as director of pediatric orthopedic and scoliosis surgery before working with San Diego-based USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), where he was staff orthopedic surgeon and then director of surgical services.

Gillingham deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom II as Battalion Chief of Professional Services (Forward) for the 1st Force Service Support Group and Officer in Charge of the Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon (SSTP), providing combat casualty surgical care during Operation Phantom Fury and achieving a 98 percent combat casualty survival rate. Upon return from deployment, he was instrumental in establishing the Comprehensive Combat and Casualty Care Center at NMCSD.

Most recently, Gillingham was the fleet surgeon and director of health services, United States Fleet Forces Command. He was the principal medical advisor to the commander and was responsible for organizing, training, and equipping ready health support services to meet the healthcare needs and operations of the worldwide fleet.

Gillingham’s military decorations include the Legion of Merit (five awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy Achievement Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with the Eagle Globe and Anchor device with bronze star, the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Fleet Marine Force ribbon. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Gillingham earned his bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology with high honors from UC San Diego and his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He has published more than thirty scientific articles and book chapters.


About Ashford University
Where heritage meets innovation – that’s Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelor’s, and master’s online degree programs, while the Clinton, Iowa campus offers bachelor’s programs. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit,,, or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.