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List of United States Military Academy non-graduate alumni

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The United States Military Academy (USMA) is an undergraduate college in West Point, New York with the mission of educating and commissioning officers for the United States Army. The list is drawn from non-graduate former cadets and cadet candidates. It is not unusual for the service academies to have high dropout rates. Of the original 103 cadets in the Class of 1826, only 43 graduated.[1] Non-graduates of the Academy have entered a variety of fields. Notable non-graduates include Edgar Allan Poe (literature), James Abbott McNeill Whistler (art), Maynard James Keenan (music), Adam Vinatieri (football), and even the military: Jacob Zeilin, Lewis Addison Armistead, and Courtney Hodges.


As these alumni did not graduate, their class year represents the year they would have graduated if they had completed their education at the Academy.
Name Class year Notability References
William S. Hamilton 1818 Colonel; Illinois State Representative; Wisconsin Territorial Representative; son of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, grandson of U.S. Senator and Major General Philip Schuyler; nephew of U.S. Representative Philip Jeremiah Schuyler; attended the Academy 1814–1817 [2]
Alexander Barrow 1820 U.S. Senator from Louisiana, lawyer; attended the Academy 1816–1818 [3]
James Fannin 1823 Texas War for Independence; entered the Academy as "James F. Walker" in 1819 but resigned in 1821 from the Academy due to poor grades, absences and tardiness [4]
Jacob Zeilin 1826 First United States Marine Corps general officer, Commandant of the Marine Corps (1864–1876); part of Commodore Perry's expedition to Japan; appointed to the Academy in 1822, but discharged due to low grades [1][5]
John Westcott 1827 Surgeon in the United States Army and later Captain in the Confederate States Army; Florida State Representative; Surveyor General of Florida; brother of U.S. Senator James Westcott; entered the Academy in 1827 and left the same year for medical reasons [6][7]
Benjamin Grubb Humphreys 1829 General in Confederate States Army; 26th Governor of Mississippi; classmate of Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston; Humphreys and 38 other cadets were expelled in 1826 after a "Christmas frolic" turned into the Eggnog Riot [8]
John Archibald Campbell 1830 Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; left the Academy after three years to care for family's affairs after father's death [9][10]
Edgar Allan Poe 1834 Served as a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army 1827-1829; author who excelled in language who was expelled for neglecting duties. [11]
Alexander Hamilton Jr. 1836 Son of James Alexander Hamilton, and the grandson of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. From June 1842 to April 1844, he was the Secretary of the United States Legation at Madrid, serving under Washington Irving. Attended the Academy from 1832-1835. Served in the Civil War. [12]
Lewis Addison Armistead 1839 Confederate Brigadier General killed at Gettysburg; expelled for a fight in which he broke a plate over the head of fellow future Confederate general Jubal Early; later commissioned in the Regular Army, which he left as a major to join the Confederacy [13]
John Cleveland Robinson 1839 Dismissed from the Academy after three years but joined the Army one year later; Major General in the American Civil War; awarded the Medal of Honor for valor in action in 1864 near Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia; Lieutenant Governor of New York (1873–1874); served two terms as the president of the Grand Army of the Republic [14]
George W. Morgan 1845 Left the Academy after two years; served in the Army during the Mexican–American War and the Civil War; U.S. Representative from Ohio [15]
Charles Henry Tompkins 1851 Resigned after two years for unspecified reasons; Brigadier General; recipient of the Medal of Honor for twice charging through the enemy's lines on July 1, 1861 near Fairfax, Virginia, making him the first Union officer of the Civil War to receive the Medal of Honor [b][14][16]
Wharton J. Green 1854 Confederate officer; U.S. Congressman (1883–1887); resigned before graduation [17]
James Abbott McNeill Whistler 1855 Artist; discharged for academic and disciplinary problems after three years [18]
Robert Cobb Kennedy 1859 Confederate operative; hanged in 1865 for his part in the plot to burn New York City; last Confederate soldier executed by the U.S. government during the Civil War; discharged for poor academic performance and drinking [19]
George F. Elliott 1872 Tenth Commandant of the Marine Corps (1903–1910); successfully resisted attempts to merge the Corps into the Army; discharged due to low grades [20]
Andrew Jackson Houston 1875 U.S. Senator (1941); son of Sam Houston; resigned [21]
Johnson Chesnut Whittaker 1881 Born into slavery; expelled after board of inquiry and court-martial {falsely} convicted him of staging an assault on his own person; verdict overturned by President Chester Arthur-but Whittaker still expelled on grounds he failed a exam. Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker by John Marszalek popularized the case and led to his posthumous commission in 1995 [22][23]
Albert W. Gilchrist 1882 Governor of Florida (1909–1913); found deficient in experimental philosophy after three years at the Academy [24]
Lloyd Fredendall 1905 & 1906 Lieutenant General in World War II; expelled for poor grades in mathematics and poor general deportment; readmitted following year and expelled again; later received a direct commission in 1907; relieved of command after the Battle of the Kasserine Pass and reassigned to training commands [25]
Courtney Hodges 1909 General in World War II; dropped out after the first year because "found deficient" in mathematics, as was his second-year plebe classmate George S. Patton who graduated in 1909; Hodges then enlisted as a private and became the second person to rise from private to general; Instructor at the Academy after World War I [26]
Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance 1916 American journalist, writer and actor from Winston-Salem, North Carolina who became internationally prominent as a spokesman for Indian causes. attended in 1916 on a Presidential appointment, left to join Canadian Forces en route to World War I [27]
James Millikin Bevans 1921 Major General; recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal; discharged in 1918 [28]
Walter French 1923 Professional baseball player; later coached the baseball team at West Point. Was commissioned during World War II and retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel. [29]
Ralph Yarborough 1923 U.S. Senator from Texas (1957–1971); leader of the Democratic Party of Texas; resigned after two years to become a teacher; enlisted in Texas National Guard; lieutenant colonel in World War II [30]
Chris Keener Cagle 1930 Professional football player; played football at the Academy during the 1926–1929 seasons; resigned in May 1930 after it was discovered he had married in August 1928 [31][32]
Timothy Leary 1943 Counterculture icon, LSD proponent; resigned [33]
Michael J. Daly 1945 Captain; resigned after one year to enlist so he could fight in World War II; received a battlefield commission; awarded the Medal of Honor for assaulting several enemy positions [34][35]
Roger Donlon 1959 Resigned for personal reasons; Captain, later Colonel; recipient of the Medal of Honor for repulsing a much larger attack [36]
James A. Gardner 1962 Did not graduate; first lieutenant; recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions leading his platoon in the relief of a company that was engaged with a larger enemy force [36]
Richard Hatch 1986 Winner of the first Survivor; resigned [33]
Byron (Low Tax) Looper 1987 Politician convicted of murdering his Tennessee State Senate opponent Tommy Burks in 1998; attended the Academy from 1982 to 1985; discharged due to a serious knee injury [37][38]
Maynard James Keenan 1988 Singer in the bands Tool and A Perfect Circle; would have been part of the Class of 1988 but he never started at the Academy as he was accepted to West Point in 1984 while he was a cadet candidate at United States Military Academy Preparatory School but decided to complete his term of active duty enlistment [39]
Adam Vinatieri 1995 National Football League placekicker for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts; left the Academy after two weeks [40]
Dan Hinote 1999 Professional National Hockey League (NHL) ice hockey player; resigned in 1996 when he was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche; first NHL player ever drafted from West Point [41]
Shane Gillis 2006 Accepted as football player, lasting only weeks, and later becoming a comedian. [42]
Stephen Scherer 2011 10m air rifle competitor in the 2008 Olympics; transferred to Texas Christian University where he later committed suicide [43]
Edgar Allan Poe
James Whistler
Timothy Leary
Roger Donlon
Maynard James Keenan
Adam Vinatieri

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Millett, Allan Reed; Jack Shulimson (2004). Commandants of the Marine Corps. Annapolis, MD: US Naval Institute Press. pp. 85–96. ISBN 0-87021-012-2.
  2. ^ "William S. Hamilton". Historical Marker Database.org. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
  3. ^ "Barrow, Alexander". United States Congress. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  4. ^ "Fannin, James Walker Jr". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  5. ^ "Brigadier General Jacob Zeilin, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on May 16, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  6. ^ Knetsch, Joe (2007). "John Westcott and the Coming of the Third Seminole War: A Perspective From Within". Sunland Tribune. 32 (3). Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  7. ^ Crawford, Bill (September 15, 2013). "Dr. John Westcott (1807-1889), president of the Florida canal company". Florida’s Big Dig. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  8. ^ Terry, Judia; Terry, Ralph (September 9, 2013). "Benjamin Grubb Humphreys". RootsWeb.com.
  9. ^ "John A. Campbell". Oyez – United States Supreme Court. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  10. ^ "John Archibald Campbell". Confederate War Department. Archived from the original on November 21, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  11. ^ Silverman, Kenneth (1991). Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance (Paperback ed.). New York: Harper Perennial. pp. 34–37. ISBN 0-06-092331-8.
  12. ^ Heitman, Francis B. (1890). Historical Register of the United States Army, From Its Organization: September 29, 1789, to September 29, 1889. Washington, D.C.: The National Tribune. p. 315.
  13. ^ Johnson, Charles Thomas (2000). Heidler, David S.; Heidler, Jeanne T. (eds.). Lewis Addison Armistead. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 78. ISBN 0-393-04758-X.
  14. ^ a b "Medal of Honor Recipients Civil War (M-Z)". Army Center of Military History. Archived from the original on February 23, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  15. ^ Congressional Biography
  16. ^ "Fiddler's Green: Charles H. Tompkins". Crossed Sabres. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
  17. ^ "Green, Wharton Jackson". United States Congress. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  18. ^ Blackwell, Jon. "A Salute to West Point". United States Military Academy. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  19. ^ Johnson, Clint "A Vast and Fiendish Plot: The Confederate Attack on New York City" pg. 166
  20. ^ Nofi, Albert (1997). The Marine Corps book of lists. Conshohocken, Pa.: Combined Pub. p. 144. ISBN 9780938289890. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  21. ^ "Houston, Andrew Jackson". United States Congress. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  22. ^ Marszalek, John (August 1975). "A Black Cadet at West Point". American Heritage Magazine. 22 (5). Archived from the original on October 15, 2008. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
  23. ^ Purdum, Todd (July 30, 1995). "Week in Review: 115 Years Late, He Won His Bars". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
  24. ^ Florida historical society (1909). Florida Edition: Makers of America, Vol. II. Atlanta, GA: A. B. Caldwell. p. 87. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  25. ^ Perry, Mark (2007). Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace. London: Penguin Group. pp. 178. ISBN 978-1-59420-105-9.
  26. ^ "General Courtney H. Hodges". United States Army Central. Retrieved March 22, 2009. [dead link]
  27. ^ Handley, William R.; Lewis, Nathaniel (May 2007). True West: Authenticity and the American West. ISBN 9780803259768.
  28. ^ "James Millikin Bevans". Department of the Air Force. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
  29. ^ "Abner Doubleday Would Have Been Proud". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  30. ^ "Yarborough, Ralph Webster". United States Congress. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  31. ^ "Chris "Red" Cagle". College Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  32. ^ "A Look Back at 100 Years: Decade Three 1920–1929" (PDF). University of Louisiana - Layfayette. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 6, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  33. ^ a b "Some 'OO' Facts of West Point". United States Military Academy. Archived from the original on June 5, 2009. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  34. ^ "Medal of Honor Recipients World War II (A–F)". Army Center of Military History. Archived from the original on June 16, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  35. ^ "M. J. Daly dies, Medal of Honor recipient". Connecticut Post. July 25, 2008.
  36. ^ a b "Medal of Honor Recipients: Vietnam (A–L)". United States Army Center of Military History. November 24, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  37. ^ "Political opponent charged in slaying". Deseret News. October 23, 1998. Retrieved March 22, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  38. ^ Moehringer, J. R. (October 24, 1998). "Tennessee Lawmaker Killed; Election Opponent Arrested". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  39. ^ Varga, George (October 31, 2004). "Fired up and emoting on the state of politics, and more". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on March 30, 2009. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  40. ^ Battista, Judy (February 1, 2002). "Patriots' Vinatieri Has Quite a Foot and Quite a Tale". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2009.
  41. ^ "Free-agent wing Hinote signs with Blues". ESPN.com. July 3, 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  42. ^ "Shane Gillis, Army offensive tackle". 247sports.com. 2022. Retrieved August 20, 2022.
  43. ^ "Student Found Dead at Off-Campus Apartment". TCU Daily Skiff. October 4, 2010. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved October 7, 2010.