Update Your Profile

Stay up to date with all West Point news and stay connected with fellow grads

Update your Register Entry

Cullum Files

historical records

Class Notes

login required, available to graduates & widows

2004 Distinguished Graduate Award

Mr. Denis F. Mullane '52

For over five decades, Denis Mullane has built up an extraordinary record of achievements both in private pursuits and public service. He has exemplified outstanding devotion to the principles expressed in the motto of the Unites States Military Academy - Duty, Honor, Country - and proved himself a truly distinguished graduate of West Point.

After graduation from the Academy in June 1952, Denis Mullane served four years of duty as an Engineer officer in the United States and Germany, with assignments that included two company commands. Having resigned his commission in 1956, he joined the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company as an agent and thus began a civilian career that would witness his eventual rise to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer for the firm and later as Chairman of its Board.

That career also witnessed an extraordinary array of contributions to the betterment of his fellow citizens. Always interested in youth activities, he coached baseball and football teams, directed dramatic presentations, and taught Sunday school classes. He worked with Catholic charitable organizations, schools, and hospitals to improve their facilities, programs, and funding. Among many other things, he was a member of the Hospital Foundation for Public Giving and the Board of Regents of the University of Hartford. He was a co-chairman of the Governor's Partnership to Protect Connecticut's Workforce: "Drugs Don't Work." He was the President of the Greater Hartford Arts Council and Junior Achievement of North Central Connecticut. He was the Chairman for Public Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the American Society of Corporate Executives.

But while he was devoting great energy and effort to public service elsewhere, he never forgot his alma mater in the Hudson Valley. Beginning in 1957 when he was first appointed to the West Point Society of New York's Admissions Committee and continuing to the present day, his service has been energetic, wide ranging, and profoundly beneficial to the Long Gray Line and the Academy. He founded the West Point Society of Connecticut in 1968 and the West Point Parents' Club of Connecticut soon after. Having been elected to the Association's Board of Trustees in 1977, he chaired several important committees, including those responsible for alumni support, communications, and the Thayer Award. In 1989, he became the Association's Chairman, and during his two terms in that position, he effected a remarkable transformation in the organization. Building on the achievements of his predecessors, he brought the organization fully up to date in its business practices and set a foundation in place that would later support its first major capital fundraising campaign for West Point. He also changed the character of the Association's alumni relations program so that it deployed a full support system for West Point graduates, working through their classes and societies. Finally, he completed the functional upgrading of AOG committees, so that each was a productive working group dedicated to the cause of improving the AOG's value to its graduates and strengthening the relationship between the AOG and the Academy's leadership.

Even after he stepped down from the Chairmanship in 1993, Denis Mullane continued to participate in the affairs of the Association. He again took charge of the Thayer Award Committee and oversaw its work for two years. He was a member of a committee whose efforts resulted in sweeping changes for the better in the structure and process of organizational governance. He chaired the committee that completely overhauled and modernized the system used for compensating the Association's staff.

During his lifetime, Denis Mullane has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Connecticut, St. Joseph's College, the University of Hartford, and Trinity College. He has also been made a Knight of St. Gregory, the highest honor given by the Pope to a Catholic lay person. The time has now come to confer on this richly deserving man his alma mater's highest honor. Therefore, considering his lifetime of selfless service to his fellow citizens and to West Point, the Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2004 Distinguished Graduate Award to Denis Francis Mullane.

Chairman and CEO