Obama To Receive 2024 Sylvanus Thayer Award

Category: Grad News

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, will receive the 2024 Sylvanus Thayer Award from the West Point Association of Graduates. Obama will be the fifth U.S. president to receive the Thayer Award during its 67-year history. The award will be presented on September 19, 2024, during ceremonies hosted by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

WPAOG’s Board Chairman, the Honorable Robert A. McDonald said, “As a two-term president of the United States, Barack Obama’s administration understood what President Lincoln meant in his Second Inaugural Address when he directed the nation to care for those who have ‘borne the battle.’” Obama left office on January 20, 2017, as the first American president to oversee two full terms as a commander-in-chief with combat troops deployed to hostile zones during a time of war. During his time in public service, he fought to make sure that veterans have timely and high-quality access to care, to modernize the claims process, to prevent and end veteran homelessness, and to provide resources so that the nation is serving every veteran. “His life and career have inspired countless Americans, including many cadets past and present,” said McDonald. “Having President Obama forever associated with West Point through its most prestigious award speaks directly to the Thayer Award’s purpose of recognizing a citizen of the United States, other than a West Point graduate, whose outstanding character, accomplishments, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: ‘Duty, Honor, Country.’”

“I want to thank the West Point Association of Graduates for this distinguished award,” said President Obama. “I’ve been a longtime supporter of West Point’s mission and have always admired the leaders of character it has produced for our nation.”

“The Thayer Award recipient is selected by the Thayer Award Committee, a 15-member nominating committee that includes representatives from numerous West Point classes spanning several decades and regions, as well as Army representatives. The committee reviews and debates the merits of approximately 25 nominations submitted by West Point Graduates. The WPAOG Board of Directors ratifies the committee’s selection,” stated retired Lieutenant General Guy Swan III and committee Chair.

Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983 with a B.A. in political science, and in 1988, he enrolled in Harvard Law School Upon graduation, he returned to Illinois to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago and begin a career in public service, winning seats in the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate. As a U.S. senator, he served on the United States Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and Committee on Foreign Relations. Obama’s belief in America’s indispensable leadership and strong, principled diplomacy helped him wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decimate al Qaeda and eliminate Osama bin Laden and the world’s most wanted terrorists, and shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Obama’s military support and accomplishments include increasing Special Forces teams and technology during the Iraq War, which proved to be a positive forward-thinking strategy for the United States, and introducing strategies and policies that reduced the number of American casualties in the Global War on Terrorism. In 2014, Obama signed the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act (aka “VA reform bill”), making more funding available to enable better medical care for veterans. He also initiated and signed a recruitment and employment plan to get more veterans into government jobs (lowering the unemployment rate for veterans by more than half) and signed a bill to expand the availability of housing to homeless veterans.

Learn more about the Thayer Award.

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