Sylvanus Thayer Award
The Sylvanus Thayer Award is an award that is given each year by the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sylvanus Thayer was the fifth superintendent of that academy and in honor of his achievements, the award was created. During his tenure, Thayer transformed West Point into an excellent engineering school.
Official description of the award
"The Thayer Award, established in honor of Col. Sylvanus Thayer, 'Father of the Military Academy,' is presented to an outstanding citizen whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify the Military Academy motto, "Duty, Honor, Country." The Association of Graduates has presented the award annually since 1958."
"The recipient of the Sylvanus Thayer Award receives a medal with a bust in profile of Thayer on one side, with the inscription: 'The Sylvanus Thayer Medal Awarded by the Association of Graduates, United States Military Academy, for Outstanding Service to the Nation.' The reverse side carries the coat of arms of the Military Academy and the words 'West Point" and "Duty, Honor, Country.' Around the edge of the medal are inscribed the name of the recipient and the year of presentation. In addition to receiving the medal, the recipient’s name is inscribed on a memorial plaque in Washington Hall, the cadet dining facility."
The recipient is approved by the Board of Directors, and announced in late winter. The Award is presented in the following October.
Active-duty and retired American military servicemen are eligible for this award, but many civilians who contributed to the military in a positive way such as Bob Hope, Walter Cronkite or recently Tom Brokaw have received the award. Four West Point graduates have received the award - Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Omar Bradley and Gordon Sullivan. Currently, recipients are required to be non-West Point graduates.
The following is the list of the award's recipients:
- 1958 – Ernest Lawrence (nuclear scientist and Nobel laureate)
- 1959 – Secretary of State John Foster Dulles
- 1960 – Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
- 1961 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower
- 1962 – General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (Medal of Honor)
- 1963 – John J. McCloy (Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations)
- 1964 – Secretary of Defense Robert A. Lovett
- 1965 – Ambassador James B. Conant (President of Harvard University)
- 1966 – Senator Carl Vinson
- 1967 – Cardinal Francis Spellman
- 1968 – Bob Hope (entertainer)
- 1969 – Secretary of State Dean Rusk
- 1970 – Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker
- 1971 – Neil Armstrong (astronaut)
- 1972 – Billy Graham (evangelist)
- 1973 – General of the Army Omar Bradley
- 1974 – Ambassador Robert Daniel Murphy
- 1975 – Governor W. Averell Harriman
- 1976 – Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray
- 1977 – Secretary of the Army Robert T. Stevens
- 1978 – James R. Killian Jr. (President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
- 1979 – Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce
- 1980 – Theodore M. Hesburgh (President of University of Notre Dame)
- 1981 – FBI Director James E. Webb
- 1982 – David Packard (businessman)
- 1983 – General James H. Doolittle (Medal of Honor recipient)
- 1984 – Secretary of the Army Stanley Rogers Resor
- 1985 – Secretary of the Army Frank Pace Jr.
- 1986 – Edward Teller (scientist)
- 1987 – Senator Barry Goldwater
- 1988 – Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger
- 1989 – President Ronald Reagan
- 1990 – Senator Mike Mansfield
- 1991 – Paul H. Nitze (government official)
- 1992 – Secretary of State George Shultz
- 1993 – Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance
- 1994 – President George Herbert Walker Bush
- 1995 – Barbara Jordan (civil rights leader)
- 1996 – General John W. Vessey
- 1997 – Walter Cronkite (newscaster)
- 1998 – General Colin Powell
- 1999 – Norman R. Augustine (businessman)
- 2000 – Secretary of State Henry Alfred Kissinger
- 2001 – Senator Daniel K. Inouye (Medal of Honor)
- 2002 – The American Soldier[note 1]
- 2003 – General Gordon R. Sullivan
- 2004 – Senator Robert J. Dole
- 2005 – Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
- 2006 – Tom Brokaw (news reporter and author)
- 2007 – General Frederick Kroesen
- 2008 – Secretary of Defense William Perry
- 2009 – H. Ross Perot (businessman)
- 2010 – Secretary of State James Baker
- 2011 – Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates
- 2012 – Senator Ike Skelton
- 2013 – Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
- 2014 – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
- 2015 – Gary Sinise (advocate for veterans)
- 2016 – FBI Director Robert S. Mueller
- 2017 – President George W. Bush
- 2018 – Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta
- The 2002 award was "dedicated to...all of the men and women who have served in the U.S. Army...in the history of the United States."
- Thayer Award Criteria, West Point Association of Graduates
- List of recipients, West Point Association of Graduates
- The American Soldier, West Point Association of Graduates
- Rice receives Thayer Award at U.S. Military Academy, USA Today, October 6, 2014
- "West Point Association of Graduates". www.westpointaog.org.
- "West Point Association of Graduates". www.westpointaog.org. Retrieved 2018-10-19.