AUSTIN, Texas — Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, M.D., director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), will deliver the keynote address during the 135th Spring Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 19.
Bono, B.A. ’79, will address thousands of students, their parents and guests of the university during the 8 p.m. ceremony on UT Austin’s Main Mall.
As a physician and military leader, Bono has been dedicated to taking care of the health of service members and their families. In her role as director of the DHA, she leads an organization responsible for ensuring the medical readiness of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The DHA oversees all aspects of military health, including military hospitals and health care research and technology programs, along with the military health plan serving more than 9 million service members, retirees and their families.
“Admiral Bono is a UT Distinguished Alumna whose dedicated service to our nation reflects the mission and core values of The University of Texas. She has opened pathways for women serving in the military,” said Gregory L. Fenves, president of the university. “The admiral has the unique ability to combine exceptional medical expertise with a thoughtful approach to leadership that has earned her respect and admiration at all levels of the U.S. military.”
Bono was named a 2017 Distinguished Alumna by the Texas Exes alumni association for her contributions to military medicine. A trailblazer and role model for women in the military, she became the first three-star medical corps female flag officer. In addition, she and her brother became the first Filipino Americans to concurrently serve as flag officers in the military.
Prior to her current role, she served as the 11th chief of the Navy Medical Corps and as the National Capital Region medical director for the agency, where she oversaw medical operations at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, providing comprehensive medical services to more than 500,000 individuals.
Bono embodies Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment, spending nearly three decades serving the health care needs of the armed forces. Shortly after she began her career, she saw duty in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a trauma surgeon in Saudi Arabia. She forged her reputation as a leader at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Other notable assignments include serving as the executive assistant to the 35th Navy surgeon general, as chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and as command surgeon of the U.S. Pacific Command.
Bono earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UT Austin in 1979. Commissioned in 1979, she attended medical school at Texas Tech University. She also has an Executive MBA from the Carson College of Business at Washington State University.
In addition to being a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery, Bono is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Her personal decorations include three Defense Superior Service Medals, four Legion of Merit Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals.