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2010 Sylvanus Thayer Award



James A. Baker, III, has compiled an extraordinary record of service to the United States of America in a public career spanning more than five decades.  From his commissioning and service on active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, through a series of appointments at our nation’s highest levels, to his co-chairmanship of the Iraq Study Group and ongoing leadership of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, Secretary Baker’s contributions to freedom and liberty have brightly and consistently reflected the tenets of Duty, Honor, Country.

A native of Houston, Texas, Secretary Baker graduated Princeton University and  The University of Texas School of Law.  He also has received numerous honorary degrees and prestigious awards for public service to include the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991.

Secretary Baker’s high-level public service began in 1975 with his appointment as under secretary of commerce in the Ford Administration.  During 1981-1985, he served at the White House as chief of staff in the Reagan Administration.  In 1985, he began three years of service as our nation’s 67th secretary of the treasury.  Then, from 1989 to 1992, he served as our nation’s 61st secretary of state in President George H. W. Bush’s administration, traveling to ninety foreign countries and confronting the challenges and developing the opportunities of the post-Cold War era.  Secretary Baker’s service in our nation’s capital concluded in the White House as chief of staff and senior counselor to President Bush from 1992 to 1993.

In recent years, Secretary Baker has been called on by the United Nations to serve as the secretary general’s personal envoy to the Western Sahara.  He also has accepted assignments to study the Iraqi debt issue and U.S. election reform, in addition to his leadership of the Iraqi Study Group, which reported in 2006.

In recognition of this highly distinguished record of service to our nation, the West Point Association of Graduates proudly presents the 2010 Sylvanus Thayer Award to James A. Baker, III, a great American whose life has exemplified the ideals of the United States Military Academy.
Jodie K. Glore  ’69  
Chairman, West Point Association of Graduates