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Peter J. Gravett - Secretary, California Dept. of Veterans Affairs - Long Beach City College

Peter J. Gravett was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to his cabinet as secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs on April 29, 2011.

Gravett began his early education at Long Beach City College. He was drawn to the school because the police science major had a good reputation. The college also had top-notch professors, offered a variety of attractive student activities and had a good athletics program. Gravett had a unique perspective on the college experience having served in the military, being slightly older than his college classmates and working full time for the Los Angeles Police Department while attending classes.

"I was at Long Beach City College because I wanted to be, not because someone told me I should be," Gravett said. "I recognized the value of the education I was getting and knew it was laying a solid foundation for my later education and my career in law enforcement."

Gravett earned a bachelor of science degree in criminology from California State University, Long Beach and continued what turned into a 22-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department. Gravett rose to the rank of watch commander and was awarded the department’s highest honor for bravery, the Los Angeles Police Department Medal of Valor.

Gravett went on to get a master's of public administration from the University of Southern California, and executive diplomas from the University of Virginia and from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Gravett also is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Academy.

Gravett served in the U.S. Army and the California National Guard and retired with more than 40 years of service in numerous countries in Europe, Asia and Central America. Upon retirement in 2006, Gravett was selected by the assistant secretary of defense to serve as the state chair for the Southern California Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Committee, where he served until 2009. Gravett also served as president and CEO of Gravett and Associates, a homeland security consulting firm, and as a principal with Traiden Global Solutions, an emergency preparedness consulting firm.

Before retiring from the military, he served as commanding general of the 40th Infantry Division from 1999 to 2002. At that time, he was promoted to the two-star rank of major general, becoming the first African American National Guard division commander in the Guard's 225-year history. While in this command, Gravett served a dual assignment in Kiev, Ukraine with NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program. Throughout his career, Gravett has been presented with more than 20 awards and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

Gravett's post active military affiliations include the American Legion, American Veterans, the Military Order of World Wars, the Military Officers Association of America, 9th and 10th (Horse) Calvary Association (Buffalo Soldiers), Association of the United States Army, National Association of Black Military Officers, National Guard Associations of the United States and California, Southern California Advisory Council (Retired Officers), and the 40th Infantry Division Association. Gravett also served as president of the Los Angeles Mayor's Veterans Advisory Council. He is on the board of St. Mary’s Hospital in Long Beach, is an Ambassador at USC, on the board of the Price School of Public Policy and on the planning board of California Marymount University.

He is a former board member of the Cypress Community College Foundation and is a member of Mission Readiness, a group of retired generals and admirals that focuses on childhood obesity. On behalf of the California Department of Veterans Affairs, Gravett has participated in several dedication ceremonies throughout the State for veterans center openings at a variety of California community colleges.

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