Rear Admiral Michael L. Holmes (USN ret.) joined the Board of Trustees of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, according to an announcement from Chancellor Kyle R. Carter. He was sworn in to a four-year term on July 26 at the annual board retreat at the Chancellor’s Residence.
Holmes, who lives in Orange Park, Fla., is an appointee of the UNC Board of Governors. A Robeson County native, Holmes is a 1972 UNCP graduate. He grew up on a farm in the Saddletree Community and graduated from Magnolia High School.
Holmes said he was delighted when Chancellor Carter called him with the confirmation of his appointment. “I have been away from Robeson County for most of my adult life,” he said. “This is a way to give back to the community and get involved with my alma mater.”
A career naval officer and pilot, Holmes began his military career in August 1973 rising steadily in the ranks during more than 32 years of service. He held five command tours including that of Commanding Officer, Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP-30), the largest aviation squadron in the U.S. Navy. As a Flag Officer he commanded the Navy’s eight Pacific-based patrol and reconnaissance squadrons, located in Whidbey Island, Wash., and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Holmes’ final command tour before retiring in 2005 was commander of the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, stationed in Norfolk, Va. This command consisted of 16 P-3 Orion squadrons and a work force of more than 11,000 sailors and civilians.
The retired rear admiral brings considerable leadership and administrative experience to the Board of Trustees. He is also a skilled communicator.
“While on active duty serving in the Pentagon, I was responsible for briefing numerous policy and operational issues to senior military and civilian leadership, including the secretary of the Navy and the chief of Naval operations. Among the many issues briefed was the urgent need to replace an aging fleet of Maritime Patrol aircraft,” he said. “Today our Navy is in the process of replacing the 50-year-old fleet of P-3 Orion aircraft with the new P-8 Poseidon, a militarized version of the modern day Boeing 737.”
Today, Holmes is a vice president for L-3 Communications in their Platform Integration Division. An aerospace company, L-3 Communications is the nation’s sixth largest defense contractor with sales of $15 billion annually.
“Our division is headquartered in Waco, Texas, but I am able to work out of my home in a semi-retired status,” Holmes said. “With more free time on my hands, I find that I am not so tied to a desk, allowing me to serve the university on the Board of Trustees. I am looking forward to it.”
Holmes has not been a stranger at UNCP. Holmes received an honorary Doctorate of Human Letters in 1998. His sister, Dr. Olivia Oxendine, is a member of the School of Education faculty. One of his three sons, Jared, also graduated from UNCP in 2010 with a degree in international business. He is attending university in Prague, Czech Republic, working towards a master’s degree.
“There have been many changes at UNCP, but I have remained in contact,” Holmes said, “most recently attending my son’s commencement.”
The Board of Trustees at UNCP consists of 12 members appointed by either the UNC Board of Governors or the Governor of North Carolina. The Student Government Association president is also a voting member.