U.S. Naval War College Statement on the Passing of Professor William Bundy

William Bundy, professor, U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) Strategic and Operational Research Department and director of NWC’s Gravely Naval Warfare Research Group.
William Bundy, professor, U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) Strategic and Operational Research Department and director of NWC’s Gravely Naval Warfare Research Group, provides remarks during a Diffusion and Adoption of Innovation Studio Summit (DAISS) held in NWC’s Mahan Reading Room. The three-day summit was hosted by NWC and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center as a way to explore methods used to accelerate innovation within the Undersea Warfare (USW) Community. Senior leaders from the USW community gathered to find ways to meet the objectives of the National Defense Strategy and the Chief of Naval Operations’ Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority to accelerate innovation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jess Lewis/released)
Professor William Bundy

Socrates said, “The really important thing is not to live but to live well.” Professor William Bundy did just that. His life cannot be easily summed up because he impacted so many people in so many different ways.

Most important, Professor Bundy was keenly aware of his legacy as one of the Centennial Seven – one of the first seven African-Americans to command a submarine in the first 100 years of the nation's submarine force. With that awareness came his commitment to mentoring and guiding Naval War College students, faculty and staff of all races and ethnicities. He left an indelible imprint on their experiences at the college and their career experiences going forward.

Professor Bundy had an untiring work ethic. He was constantly engaging other faculty, collaborating on new and innovative ideas for upcoming conferences. Most recently, he was working to develop a workshop examining the strategic question of unrestricted tactics and new innovations in technology from a historical perspective.

He was extremely proud of his advanced research project work with the Gravely Group. Honoring Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr, the first African-American naval officer to command a U.S. combatant ship, he transformed the group by looking at current technical challenges of naval operations and created a place where he could also educate, mentor and inspire officers from across all of the services.

Aimed at the younger demographic, Professor Bundy founded and built the Starship Poseidon STEM program that, over the years, inspired hundreds of local and regional high school students to consider naval careers. Open to a diverse group of students, the camp was designed to seek out students who may not have had the opportunity to explore naval STEM career opportunities, and he brought them in regardless of their GPA, academic accomplishments or socio-economic backgrounds.

Most recently, Professor Bundy talked about Adm. Zumwalt's leadership as Chief of Naval Operations in the 1970s and his tremendous impact on his own career by opening doors for not just one individual but also for a great many others. These changes rippled not only throughout the Navy but also beyond into countless families and communities.

Professor Bundy's door was always open, and he was always willing to listen and share his own experiences. He had a sea story for every occasion often with an important lesson. He always saw the best in people and had a way of making everyone around him feel important and supported. His positive approach helped others see opportunities rather than obstacles, and he never saw limitations in people. Professor Bundy had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and inspired many along the way to also become lifelong learners.

As Pericles said, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments but what is woven into the lives of others.” Professor Bundy wove his approach in life into the many people he interacted with and because of that made the U.S. Naval War College, the Navy and our community so much better.

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