Eaker Center gains new leader

by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs

7/23/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -  -- During a ceremony Monday inside the Maxwell Club, command of the Ira C. Eaker Center for Professional Development was transferred from Col. John McCain to Col. Roland Van Deventer.

The change of command reunited Van Deventer with the Air University, the River Region and his family after three years abroad.

Van Deventer, a graduate of the Squadron Officer School, School for Advanced Air and Space Studies and Air Command and Staff College, is "no stranger to the Air University schools and colleges," said Lt. Gen. David Fadok, commander and president of the Air University.

"You have AU DNA in your blood," Fadok told Van Deventer. "I fully expect you will capitalize on that fact to make the Eaker Center and ultimately the Air University stronger and more successful. I look forward to working with you."

Throughout 27 years of service, Van Deventer has commanded squadron and group levels in Alabama and the Republic of Korea. He also has been on the staff of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff and United States Northern Command.

A senior air battle manager with more than 1,800 flight and combat support hours, Van Deventer's last assignment was director of plans, policy, doctrine and strategy and Air Force Element commander, Joint Task Force Civil Support, United States Northern Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

Fadok expressed confidence that Van Deventer will continue to "build upon the rock-solid foundation and reputation of his predecessor (McCain)."

McCain, after 30 years of service to the Air Force, including 10 years with the Air University, will hold his official retirement ceremony at 10 a.m. today inside the Maxwell Club.

"Colonel McCain's contributions to this institution and its critically important mission of producing the Air Force future have been enormous. I have to offer my thanks and congratulations on a job well done," Fadok said.

"John," Fadok told McCain, "you have produced the future, and that future is exceptionally bright."

During his two-and-a-half year tenure as commander of the Eaker Center, McCain has supported the center's mission of providing quality professional continuing education, distance learning and training for the future success of more than 23,000 Air Force, Department of Defense and international students.

"I have enjoyed every single day of being on this great team," McCain said. "I have loved coming to work every day and the reason is simple: the professionals who serve at the Eaker Center have a passion for delivering the world's best professional continuing education. And it shows in everything that you do."

Van Deventer, likewise, is looking forward to and "blessed to lead the world-class men and women of the Eaker Center." He addressed them with three priorities: to maintain the mission, take care of its people and work as a team not only within the center but with Maxwell and the River Region.

"This will enable us to continue excellence in all we do even with the challenges that we face today," Van Deventer said. "That teamwork is not just within the schools of the Eaker center, but it's also Air University, it's also with team Maxwell and it's also with the local partners in the community."

The Eaker Center houses the Commanders' Professional Development School, the U.S. Air Force Personnel Professional Development School, the Defense Financial Management and Comptroller School, the Air Force Chaplain Corps College at Fort Jackson, S.C., and the National Security Space Institute at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.