2024 Distinguished Graduate Awards

Categories: Grad News, Distinguished Graduate Award
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Incredibly Humbling and a Tremendous Honor

On a beautiful May morning at the Academy, during a review featuring the entire Corps of Cadets, the West Point Association of Graduates presented the 2024 Distinguished Graduate Awards (DGA) to six esteemed members of the Long Gray Line: GEN (R) Wesley K. Clark ’66, AMB Karl W. Eikenberry ’73, LTG (R) Thomas P. Bostick ’78, Pat Locke ’80, GEN (R) Jim McConville ’81, and. Kathleen S. Hildreth ’83.

“It’s a privilege to graduate from West Point, and it’s humbling to be recognized as one of the institution’s distinguished graduates,” said McConville, who served the nation for 42 years, retiring as the 40th Chief of Staff of the Army.

“This award is a testament to all the people who helped me get to this point,” said Locke, who is credited with creating the West Point Leadership Ethics and Diversity in STEM (LEADS) program and has recruited, mentored, or shaped thousands of cadets and cadet candidates over the last 30 years.

Eikenberry, a retired lieutenant general of the U.S. Army who served as the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and has been called “one of the foremost experts on China in the United States today,” also credits others for his award. “Receiving the DGA is a personal honor, but this is a collective award that really belongs to my cadet company, G-1, and to the Class of 1973,” he said. “I’m just the fortunate one being recognized.”

“It’s a great feeling to be among these very prestigious graduates,” said Hildreth, a former aviation officer who founded M1 Support Services, a $2 billion-dollar service company that has supported the DoD in over 43 CONUS locations and OCONUS in 35 countries and has made Hildreth West Point’s most commercially successful woman graduate to date. “This is a humbling experience and an honor, especially since we are soon coming up to the 50th anniversary of women being admitted to the Academy,” she said.  

“This is a wonderful opportunity for my family and me, especially since my niece is graduating with the Class of 2024,” said Bostick, who led U.S. Army Recruiting Command and served as the 53rd Chief of Engineers during his impressive 38-year Army career. “I’m extremely honored and humbled beyond belief.”

“In some respects, this award is closest to my heart,” said Clark, a retired four-star who spent nearly 35 years on active duty, from the Vietnam War to serving as Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and received numerous military decorations (including the Silver Star), several honorary knighthoods, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “To be recognized by members of the Long Gray Line, others who understand the sacrifice to serve, is an incredible sense of completion to the dream I had to serve my country when I came to West Point as a cadet.”

Distinguished Graduate Award

The Distinguished Graduate Award (DGA) is to be given to graduates of the United States Military Academy whose character, distinguished service, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.” The DGA is funded by a generous endowment from E. Doug Kenna ’45 and his wife, Jean.

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