Ready to Serve. Ready to Lead: Bob and Diane McDonald

Categories: Philanthropy & Donor Profiles, Grad News
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“Bob and Diane’s investment in our mission to Serve West Point and the Long Gray Line is transformative and will play a vital role in supporting and growing the Association’s programs well into the future. In the past six years, we have expanded our programs and services for graduates, launched new initiatives in support of West Point and the local community, and continued to increase philanthropy for our beloved alma mater. This gift will ensure that WPAOG builds on this momentum bringing us closer to realizing the vision of the Long Gray Line becoming the most highly connected graduate body in the world. I am honored to be the first one to hold the position of The Honorable & Mrs. Robert A. McDonald ’75 West Point Association of Graduates President & CEO.” —Todd Browne ’85

On August 12, 2022, the Honorable Robert A. McDonald, Class of 1975, and his wife, Diane, committed $10 million in support of the West Point Association of Graduates. To recognize this tremendous and historic gift, the largest ever in support of WPAOG, the President and CEO position, as well as the President’s office suite at Herbert Alumni Center, have been named for Bob and Diane.

The Honorable Robert A. McDonald—8th Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs; Retired Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Procter & Gamble; current Chairman of the West Point of Graduates; and Cabinet Chair of WPAOG’s current seven-year campaign—is one of West Point’s major supporters and an inspiration for all members of the Long Gray Line. In 2012, he and Diane established the McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character (MCLC) in partnership with the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership and its Head, Colonel Everett Spain ’92. Since its inception, MCLC has touched the lives of more than 600 undergraduate student and senior leaders from across the globe, bringing them together in an effort to bolster leadership skills, foster critical thinking and collaboration, and develop strategies for addressing pressing global issues. In 2019, Bob and Diane funded the Ulysses S. Grant Monument and surrounding plaza, which was placed along Washington Road near Trophy Point and unveiled at West Point on April 25, 2019. On January 1, 2022, Bob began a three-year term as Chairman of the West Point Association of Graduates Board of Directors, after previously serving two terms as a board director. In his inaugural correspondence to fellow graduates, he said, “Let us all rededicate ourselves to the ideals of West Point—Duty, Honor, Country—and continue to stand out as leaders of character inspired by values which are selfless and immutable even in changing times.”

Setting the example for philanthropic leadership, the McDonalds are among the largest donors to WPAOG, top five in lifetime giving to the Academy, and the current lead donors to the Class of 1975 50th Reunion Class Gift. Their enduring commitment to West Point and WPAOG, both in volunteer leadership and generosity, should inspire us all.

A 2017 Distinguished Graduate of the United States Military Academy, the Honorable McDonald graduated in the top two percent of his class in 1975 and was recognized by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing, and Commerce for the “most distinguished academic record and significant role in cadet activities.” He served as brigade adjutant. In 1978, he earned an MBA from the University of Utah, where he is also a Distinguished Alumnus.

Diane is a graduate of Chatham College. She has been involved in many volunteer and philanthropic activities over the years. From her work with local groups like the Girl Scouts and PTA to her establishing a global non-profit to care for Procter & Gamble families, Diane’s caring leadership always comes through.

Honorable McDonald’s lifetime of service was recently highlighted by two former presidents as he received the Horatio Alger Award. George W. Bush said, “Bob is a great citizen of the United States and a fine businessman and a friend,” and Barack Obama noted: “Bob often says that he aims to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. From his time at West Point onward, we can see that Bob has lived a life of choosing the ‘right.’…May we all strive to follow Bob’s example of humble service and principled leadership.”

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