The return to campus of Cmdr. Ahmed I. Qureshi `89 as this year’s keynote speaker at Culver Academies’ Veterans Day ceremony may just be as meaningful for him as the students, faculty, and staff he’ll address Friday.
“Culver’s a part of me,” says the veteran of multiple deployments and current drilling Naval Reservist. “It’s like coming home. As a cadet I loved hearing from alumni who had gone out and done different things, so it’s a privilege to come back to campus and talk to the students.”
Culver’s Veterans Day ceremony recognizes the sacrifices made by Culver alumni during times of war. Since 1924, Culver has recognized the sacrifices of American and Allied soldiers during World War I at 11 a.m. on November 11. The ceremony has changed very little since that original Legion Memorial Building dedication ceremony was conducted 89 years ago.
After his graduation from Culver, Qureshi graduated from the Middle East studies program at Brigham Young University; the MBA program at the Thunderbird School of Global Management; and was a yearlong Fulbright grantee to the University of Jordan. He later completed his doctorate at King’s College, University of London, writing on U.S. policy and military decision making in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
He has served in various positions in the National Guard, the Army Reserve, and currently in the Naval Reserve as a commanding officer of a Coronado, Calif., based support unit. Since 9/11 he has mobilized for nearly five years in support of post 9/11 operations overseas. He has earned several personal awards and badges, including the Navy and Marine Corps parachutist insignia and the Information Dominance Warfare insignia. He is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Association of the United States Navy; and the UDT-SEAL Association.
Qureshi noted he was “one of those guys who loved the military” while at Culver, and spent hours poring through old Roll Call yearbooks in the then-Legion library, fascinated by the stories of alums who had preceded him. “Pershing Walk and the Gold Star ceremony is even more special to me now as a veteran having deployed and gone to war,” he explained. “As a cadet I was in awe of those 34 pictures in the Legion Room of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I.”
In the civilian sector, Qureshi is a global business executive, consultant and entrepreneur. He currently serves as the president and chief operating officer of BILT Inc., a Dallas based software spinout from SAP. As an entrepreneur, he is also eager to speak to students in Culver’s Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur, which didn’t exist when he was a cadet, and which he sees as a wonderful addition for Culver students.
“I’ve been very blessed,” he said. “I will tell you it started at Culver . . . in terms of those formative years when I needed good mentors and a safe place like Culver to make a lot of mistakes and learn.”