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

Robert S. Mueller III Receives 2016 Thayer Award

A Top Public Servant Imparts Public Service Lessons to Corps During Thayer Award

The Honorable Robert S. Mueller III, the sixth director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the 2016 recipient of the Sylvanus Thayer Award, knows a thing or two about what it means to be a public servant. As LTG Robert L. Caslen ’75, Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, noted in his introductory remarks to the Thayer Award ceremony in Washington Hall, “Honorable Mueller’s service spans nearly five decades.” It started as a Marine officer leading a rifle platoon in Vietnam. Then, after earning his law degree, Mueller served as a litigator, U.S. Attorney, and the Acting Deputy Attorney General for the Development of Justice. Finally, he was an unprecedented two-term Director of the FBI, sworn in one week before the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and, as Caslen highlighted, “guided the FBI’s transformation from a traditional law enforcement agency to a threat-driven, intelligence-led national security organization that balanced the security needs of the nation with the civil liberties of its people.” During his remarks to the Corps of Cadets, Mueller condensed the lessons he learned during his years of public service to four concepts, punctuating each with a personal story and a summarizing statement to help them remember these lessons as they embark on their own careers as public servants.

1)    Service—“As you move through your lives, there are many ways to maintain your commitment to service; the way in which you choose to serve does not matter, only that you work to better the country and your community.”
2)    Integrity—“There will come a time when each of you will be tested…but the leadership skills that you have cultivated here are unparalleled and the traditions to which you have been accustomed are rich with virtue and honor, and you will be charged with upholding West Point’s legacy.”
3)    Patience—“True patience is required at precisely the moment you least have time for it, and you must truly listen to those around you before making a judgment and before taking action.”
4)    Humility—“The idea that the world does not revolve around you should be central to your character; don’t elevate your own status but rather elevate the status of those around you, as this is the hallmark of the truly humble.”

Earlier in the day, Mueller had the opportunity to review West Point’s future public servants, the diverse and inclusive Corps of Cadets, as they assembled in formation on the Plain to honor the Thayer Award recipient. “Trooping the line on the Plain this afternoon is an experience I will always remember,” Mueller said. “I am impressed by the quality of cadets and their capabilities and desire to serve in the military.”

Since 1958, the West Point Association of Graduates has presented the Sylvanus Thayer Award to an outstanding citizen of the United States, other than a West Point graduate, whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto: Duty, Honor, Country. Speaking of the 2016 recipient, Lieutenant General Larry R. Jordan ’68, Retired, the Chairman of the West Point Association of Graduates, said, “The one thing shared by all Thayer recipients is an intense love of country and a strong desire to make it better and stronger.” With his poignant words to the Corps of Cadets, aimed to make them stronger leaders of character and public servants, the Honorable Mueller proved why he belongs in such esteemed company. See Photos