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Class Notes

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A distinguished national public servant, educator, entrepreneur, business executive, friend of the Military Academy, and great American, Dr. William J. Perry has devoted his life to serving our Nation.  Enlisting in the Army in 1946, he was later commissioned as a lieutenant before embarking on a succession of defense-related positions, including appointment to our National Military Command Authority as Secretary of Defense.  Currently, Dr. Perry is a professor at Stanford University with a joint appointment in the School of  Engineering and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.  He is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
As did Sylvanus Thayer, William Perry often has championed initiatives at the nexus of engineering and defense.  He has founded and served as a senior executive in several high-tech and engineering firms and was Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering from 1977 to 1981 and Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1993 to 1994.  As Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1996, Dr. Perry played a central role in guiding our armed forces through critical post-Cold War challenges in eastern Europe, Haiti, Korea, China, Japan, Somalia, and the Persian Gulf.
Known for “hands on” management and concern for the troops, Dr. Perry has frequently traveled abroad, visiting  American forces and defense partners, and seeking solutions to international tensions.  Within the Pentagon, he led development of defense acquisition reform and the preventive defense policy.   His contributions also include his leadership role in developing stealth technology and systems for protecting forces against missile attack and his participation in negotiating nuclear arms reductions.
Recognition of Dr. Perry’s service has been widespread.  He is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, honors from the enlisted personnel of the services, and decorations from the governments of Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Korea, Albania, Poland, Ukraine, Bahrain, Slovenia, Hungary, and Japan.
Dr. Perry’s contributions to our Nation are truly extraordinary, reflecting his lifelong commitment to the ideals of Duty, Honor, Country.  Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates takes great pleasure in presenting the 2008 West Point Sylvanus Thayer Award to Dr. William J. Perry.

Theodore G. Stroup  ’62  
Chairman, West Point Association of Graduates