Leadership & Senior Staff

Lieutenant General Robert Ruark USMC (Ret.)

President & CEO

General Ruark retired from the Marine Corps in June of 2017 after 36 years of service. During his final military assignment as the Military Director to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, he oversaw a global staff of 32,000 civilians, military personnel, and contractors. Prior to his assignment with the Office of...

General Ruark retired from the Marine Corps in June of 2017 after 36 years of service. During his final military assignment as the Military Director to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, he oversaw a global staff of 32,000 civilians, military personnel, and contractors. Prior to his assignment with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, LtGen Ruark was the only Marine other than General Randolph McCall Pate, the twenty-first Commandant of the Marine Corps, to serve as the Joint Staff Director of Logistics (J4). His other General Officer assignments include service as Director of Logistics and Engineering for United States Central Command and, separately, Commanding General, 1st Marine Logistics Group during combat operations in Iraq.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, LtGen Ruark joined the Marine Corps in 1981 following his graduation with Honors from Miami University of Ohio. His academic achievements also include graduating with Honors from the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, receiving a Master of Arts degree at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and acting as the Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellow to the Pennsylvania State University’s School of Business

Beyond his impeccable record of leadership, strategy and innovation, he also comes to us with a deep personal appreciation for our Foundation’s rich history, and an understanding of the important role education plays in the lives of the families we serve.

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Colonel Steven Peterson USMC (Ret.)

Chief Operating Officer

Steven Peterson joined the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation in September of 2012 following a 24-year Marine Corps career. During his career he served as an infantry officer serving in a variety of operational and staff assignments. His last assignment on active duty was Branch Head, Reserve Affairs Manpower Management at Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters...

Steven Peterson joined the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation in September of 2012 following a 24-year Marine Corps career. During his career he served as an infantry officer serving in a variety of operational and staff assignments. His last assignment on active duty was Branch Head, Reserve Affairs Manpower Management at Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps. Steven and his wife, Karen, and their two sons reside in Fairfax Station, VA.

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Michael Cather

Chief Development Officer

Michael Cather was appointed as the new Chief Development Officer for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation in September 2017.  Mike brings over 23 years of development experience with significant work in major and planned gifts, annual fund management, and team leadership. Formerly Mike served as Associate Vice President, Development at Towson University where he led the university's development team,...

Michael Cather was appointed as the new Chief Development Officer for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation in September 2017.  Mike brings over 23 years of development experience with significant work in major and planned gifts, annual fund management, and team leadership.

Formerly Mike served as Associate Vice President, Development at Towson University where he led the university’s development team, resulting in increased fundraising productivity while planning their next comprehensive campaign.  Prior to that role, he was with MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore where he served as Vice President for Philanthropy and was instrumental in designing a grateful patient major gifts program.  Mike also has familiarity working with military organizations.  He served as a member of the major gifts team for the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation during their Leaders to Serve the Nation Campaign, which imbued him with a deep appreciation for the military – especially the Marine Corps and Navy.

Mike holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Towson University and University of Maryland, respectively.  Mike, his wife Melissa, and his two sons A.J. (12) and Matthew (8) reside in Anne Arundel County.

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Keith Weller

Chief Brand Officer

Keith joined the Scholarship Foundation in 2014 after a decade of versatile experiences in non-profit marketing and communications and a series of high profile assignments working with service members and several national military and veteran service organizations. Most recently Keith oversaw communications and advocacy strategies for the Washington, D.C. based Reserve Officers Association. He began...

Keith joined the Scholarship Foundation in 2014 after a decade of versatile experiences in non-profit marketing and communications and a series of high profile assignments working with service members and several national military and veteran service organizations. Most recently Keith oversaw communications and advocacy strategies for the Washington, D.C. based Reserve Officers Association. He began his career specializing in veteran advocacy and VA public policy in Boston, MA. He brings to the Foundation, a proven track record of success and a diverse portfolio of brand disciplines. Keith’s long experience communicating on behalf of America’s men and women in uniform along with a broad technical expertise across the media spectrum, have combined to equip the Foundation with a brand narrative driven by measurable results and inspired action. As Chief Brand Officer, Keith oversees the development and execution of innovative brand strategies designed to elevate the Foundation’s public profile, activate new audiences and further engage supporters nationwide. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Virginia Tech and Penn State University respectively. Keith and his wife Ann live in Washington D.C.

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Courtney Balson-Madden

Director of Stewardship Programs

Courtney Balson-Madden joined the Scholarship Foundation in 2011 as the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO. Courtney quickly became involved in assisting the Foundation in its stewardship efforts and was promoted to the Senior Manager, Stewardship in 2014 where she is responsible for stewarding our investors while underscoring the immediate and long-term impact of...

Courtney Balson-Madden joined the Scholarship Foundation in 2011 as the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO. Courtney quickly became involved in assisting the Foundation in its stewardship efforts and was promoted to the Senior Manager, Stewardship in 2014 where she is responsible for stewarding our investors while underscoring the immediate and long-term impact of their investment. Courtney holds an undergraduate degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Master’s degree from Point Loma Nazarene University. As the wife of a veteran Marine, Courtney is dedicated to helping Marines and their families through education. Courtney currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and twins, Shane and Jackson.

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Ashley Saville

Director of Leadership Gifts

Ashley Saville joined the Scholarship Foundation in September 2014 as a Development Officer. A veteran Marine Captain, she served Country and Corps for over five years.  Her last duty station was at Marine Barracks Washington as the Assistant Logistics Officer. Prior to serving at Marine Barracks, Ashley deployed as a platoon commander to Helmand Province,...

Ashley Saville joined the Scholarship Foundation in September 2014 as a Development Officer. A veteran Marine Captain, she served Country and Corps for over five years.  Her last duty station was at Marine Barracks Washington as the Assistant Logistics Officer. Prior to serving at Marine Barracks, Ashley deployed as a platoon commander to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  After leaving active duty, Ashley joined the private sector where she leveraged her knowledge of logistics and leadership towards pharmaceutical sales as a representative at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Ashley currently resides in Camp Lejeune, NC with her active-duty Marine Corps husband.

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Rita H. Thakur

Director, Accounting and Finance

Rita joined the Scholarship Foundation in April 2011 and was appointed to Director, Finance and Accounting in August 2017. She brings to the senior leadership team twelve years of profit and non-profit accounting experience, including five years as the Foundation’s Accounting Manager and Assistant Director, Accounting and Finance. Previously a Project Accountant for M.C. Dean,...

Rita joined the Scholarship Foundation in April 2011 and was appointed to Director, Finance and Accounting in August 2017. She brings to the senior leadership team twelve years of profit and non-profit accounting experience, including five years as the Foundation’s Accounting Manager and Assistant Director, Accounting and Finance. Previously a Project Accountant for M.C. Dean, a design-build and systems integration corporation, she managed multiple construction projects, including $80 million budgeted for the recently developed Military Department Investigative Agencies Headquarters in Quantico, VA. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Roanoke College and a Master of Business Administration from George Mason University. She is currently preparing to sit for the CPA exam and anticipates becoming certified in 2018.

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Crystal Page, CMP

Director of National Events

Crystal Page, CMP, joined the Scholarship Foundation team in 2017, bringing with her, over 20 years of event experience as a strategist, leader and executor of events covering a diverse range of industries, audiences and outcomes. Most recently Crystal led the development and execution of a national program of over 350 events ranging from fundraising,...

Crystal Page, CMP, joined the Scholarship Foundation team in 2017, bringing with her, over 20 years of event experience as a strategist, leader and executor of events covering a diverse range of industries, audiences and outcomes. Most recently Crystal led the development and execution of a national program of over 350 events ranging from fundraising, branded stewardship, professional development, continuing education for the Arlington based Clinical Care Options.

Earning her CMP designation in 2006, Crystal’s vast experience includes focused expertise in strategic meeting and project management with organizations such Booz Allen Hamilton and Experient, where she focused on projects in support of the Department of Defense. As the former President of C.M. Page Consulting, she managed clients in the fields of medical education, corporate and government.

A passionate leader, who believes success comes in the form of collaboration and teamwork Crystal resides in Centreville, Virginia, and is the proud mother of two young adults.

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Jeanna Adams

Assistant Director, Scholarship Programs

Jeanna Adams joined the Scholarship Foundation in December 2010. During her time at the Scholarship Foundation, Jeanna has developed and led programmatic strategies to achieve measurable results, and overseen the awarding of $36 million in scholarships and 11,000+ awards. A California native and a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, Jeanna brings a...

Jeanna Adams joined the Scholarship Foundation in December 2010. During her time at the Scholarship Foundation, Jeanna has developed and led programmatic strategies to achieve measurable results, and overseen the awarding of $36 million in scholarships and 11,000+ awards. A California native and a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, Jeanna brings a background in non-profit development and growth strategies from her most recent position with the Neurosciences Institute, a non-profit brain research institute led by Nobel Laureate Gerald M. Edelman. An active member of the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA) since 2010, Jeanna currently serves on the Membership Committee and the Earned Revenue Committee for the Association. Jeanna and her husband, veteran Marine Corporal Dustin Adams, reside in Reno, Nevada.

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Candice Robinson

Senior Manager, Data Operations

Candice Robinson joined the Scholarship Foundation in July of 2012 as a part of the Data Operations Department. As the Senior Database Manager, she is responsible for gift entry, donor communication, and streamlined reporting. Since her tenure at the organization, Candice has developed processes and procedures to ensure the integrity of the database that support...

Candice Robinson joined the Scholarship Foundation in July of 2012 as a part of the Data Operations Department. As the Senior Database Manager, she is responsible for gift entry, donor communication, and streamlined reporting. Since her tenure at the organization, Candice has developed processes and procedures to ensure the integrity of the database that support the overall goals and mission of the organization. Candice holds an undergraduate degree from Kentucky State University and a Master’s degree from Oakland University. She currently resides in Maryland with her husband.

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