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Terry Halvorsen

Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics

Halvorsen is a longtime federal technology executive with a resume highlighting his success. He recently joined Samsung’s leadership team after the culmination of an illustrious government career that included roles as CIO for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy as well as deputy commander of the Navy Cyber Forces and the Naval Network Warfare Command, among others.

Why did you choose to attend UWF for your graduate studies?

UWF had the best relationship with the armed service, then and even today. When I was there, I was still active duty Army, and the University was amazing about working around my schedule. A couple of times during that tour, I had to leave town for a while and every time I came back here, they would have a tailored package of makeup work waiting for me. My wife was in the Navy and also attending UWF. Between the two of us, it was crazy, but we felt like the whole campus was here to support us.

What role has your master’s degree in education technology played in your career?

It’s opened doors, even in the armed service. At that time, I don’t know how many schools offered a degree in education technology, and we spent as much time on the technology as we did on the education. When I left active duty, I was able to return home and get a position at Navy Technical Training Center, Corry Station, in Pensacola, not only because I had an Army background, but also because I had a master’s degree in educational technology. For me, everything fell into place with the master’s degree.

What advice would you give to students on how to be successful in today’s world?

This got me in a lot of trouble, and it still does with guidance counselors and career advisors, but I have never had a “five-year plan.” The best advice I ever received professionally was from an Army major for my ROTC program who said, “Don’t ever grow up, and don’t ever say ‘this is what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.’ Just find something you’re passionate about and keep that in your life, but be open to new opportunities. Don’t write the five-year plan because it’ll be wrong.”