Graduate student Dan Gade just started his master’s degree, and he already has a faculty job waiting for him at his alma mater. He will be teaching American Politics at the United States Military Academy in their Social Sciences Department. After graduating from West Point in 1997 with a degree in environmental science, Gade became an active duty armor officer in the Army. For the past two years, he has worked as a company commander in Korea, then in Iraq near Ramadi, one of the most notorious areas for the insurgency. During his five months in Iraq, he was wounded in action twice, and then spent most of 2005 recuperating and doing physical therapy at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Now, he is learning to use his new prosthetic leg (his right leg was amputated at the hip after an explosion) and reacquainting himself with his family and his country while he works on his master of public administration degree at UGA.
Minot, North Dakota
Minot High School
Master of public administration with an emphasis on public policy
B.S., Environmental Science, United States Military Academy, 1997
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I am a second semester graduate student, and I achieved a 4.0 for my first semester. I only arrived in Athens in November of 2005, so I spent my first semester just getting to know my classmates and getting back in the swing of things. As an undergraduate at West Point, I was on the Dean’s List and was a Distinguished Cadet my senior year. That’s essentially the same thing as the high honors honor roll at a normal university.
I am an active duty Army officer.
I chose to attend UGA because…
…the MPA program here has a reputation for academic soundness, and it is ranked third in the country. Syracuse is ranked number one, and although I was accepted there, Georgia is my family’s home (my wife is 4th generation Atlantan) and Syracuse is ugly. Truthfully, one of the major reasons I came to UGA was that the MPA program was the only program to follow up with me after I got hurt in Iraq. I was barely out of the ICU when I got a call that UGA wanted me and would do what it took to get me, even after some other programs had written me off. I thought that was a top-notch, classy move. Fortunately, I was able to stay in the Army, but I feel confident that UGA would have found a way to make me a Bulldog even without the Army’s financial support!
My favorite things to do on campus are…
…as a married guy with a child, I am a bit of a homebody. After nearly 3 years away from America, my favorite things to do are to reacquaint myself with my family and to do things with them. One of the things we’re looking forward to is some great SEC football and, of course, taking my daughter to see the gym dogs!
When I have free time, I like…
…to spend time with my family and friends. I am also considering writing a book about my family’s journey through Korea, my experience in Iraq, and, of course, my injury and recovery. Thousands of people have been following the story, and I am constantly asked about details. I want to inspire people to reach beyond themselves and deeper into their reserves of strength.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
It was probably when I was in Iraq. I would take my tank onto a stretch of road that was known for having a lot of improvised explosive devices, and I would try to find them because I knew that my tank would take a hit better than other people’s Humvees. Basically, I was TRYING to get blown up. It was a hoot, actually.
My favorite place to study is…
…my own house with my dog curled up at my feet and my daughter and wife doing their thing around the house. The SLC is pretty great too, with the Jittery Joe’s right there.
My favorite professor is…
Is this a trick question? It’s a small department, and I have to take classes from all of them again.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
…Jesus Christ. Once we got past the language barrier, it would be amazing to ask all the questions to which I’ve been wanting answers.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
I don’t know. I’m not afraid of failure, nor even of death. I’ve looked both of those things in the eye and neither one really bothers me that much. I believe God has a plan for me, and I’m excited to find out what that plan is. Failure is not a concern.
After graduation, I plan to…
I’ve got a teaching assignment lined up at West Point after graduation. I’m excited about that because I’ve always wanted to have a positive impact on young people’s lives, and West Point has such a high quality group of them that it is just going to be fantastic.