People

Gen. Larry O. Spencer

Distinguished Senior Fellow; Retired General (4-star), U.S. Air Force

This accomplished public servant, administrator, and leader served as Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Air Force, the second-highest ranking Air Force Officer, from 2012 to 2015. His 44-year career in the Air Force began as an enlisted airman, which makes his rise to the four-star general rank a rare and notable accomplishment. His career was so exceptional, in fact, that upon his retirement the Gen. Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award was created to honor his efforts to incorporate the voices of airmen in Air Force improvement. Such bottom-up change can be seen in his "Make Every Dollar Count" campaign, which utilized suggestions from individuals of all ranks to ensure the proper and efficient allocation of dollars across the Air Force Budget. 

In his role as Vice Chief of Staff, he led the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group. Alongside the Chief of Staff, Gen. Spencer oversaw the organization, training, and coordination of 664,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces serving in the United States and abroad. Prior to this assignment, the general was Director of Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

Gen. Spencer received his Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering technology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. In 1980, he was commissioned through Officer Training School as a distinguished graduate. He was the first Air Force officer to serve as Assistant Chief of Staff in the White House Military Office. Fels Institute of Government is honored to have Gen. Spencer provide this year’s commencement address.

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu