The Honorable Ray Mabus presented the citation to the Brigade of Midshipmen, faculty and staff during a ceremony held in Mahan Hall on the Naval Academy Yard.
"I thought it was important to recognize you all in a formal way," said Mabus. "I don't give many MUCs ... but you have earned it as much as any of our forward-deployed forces, as much as any of our warriors have, out protecting this country - as you made possible."
The award recognized the academy's significant achievements from Aug. 1, 2013 to Oct. 1, 2015. The Meritorious Unit Commendation recognizes superior mission accomplishment and is comparable to achievements which would merit the presentation of a Bronze Star Medal to an individual.
The award, signed by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, specifically cited the establishment of the academy's "flagship cybersecurity" program, including required cyber courses for all midshipmen and the development of the cyber operations major.
The award also recognized the Naval Academy's U.S. News and World Report rankings during that time period as the "#1 Top Public School," the "#9 Liberal Arts School," and the "#5 Best Engineering School."
According to the citation, the academy "increased its applicant pool by 60 percent, while admitting the highest number of female and minority candidates in its history. In addition, the academy won a record number of league titles, earned numerous national awards for athletes and coaches, and was awarded the Patriot League President's Cup for the best school in conference for the third time in four years."
"This is a complex organization," said Carter. "There are so many people here who make our mission run. These are critical leaders in every element of the Naval Academy.
"We are very honored that the Navy has recognized the Naval Academy with such an award on behalf of this incredible group of professionals," Carter continued. "I am so proud to be a very small part of of this institution and lead everyone from our faculty to our staff to those who take care of the midshipmen to those who run the ships and sailboats - to every aspect of this Naval Academy."
The last time the Naval Academy received the Meritorious Unit Commendation was in 2008.