Distinguished Graduate Award Criteria
The Award is to be given to graduates of the United States Military Academy whose character, distinguished service, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities that West Point strives for, in keeping with its motto – “Duty, Honor, Country.” With the purpose of identifying to the public and the Corps of Cadets, the broad national significance of West Point as one of America’s cherished institutions, candidates for the Distinguished Graduate Award will be graduates of the United States Military Academy who have demonstrated a strong interest in supporting West Point throughout their lifetime.
The Award will not be given to individuals who occupy, or are candidates for elective office, those serving in high-level government positions (these include, but are not limited to, appointed positions requiring congressional approval), or who are still on active duty. Active duty members must be fully retired and not on transition leave when the nomination is submitted. The individuals selected for the Distinguished Graduate Award must be alive and agree to accept the Award at West Point whenever possible. If an awardee should die between the time of selection and presentation, a designee appointed by the next of kin may accept on behalf of the deceased.
International graduates should be judged using the same criteria, but in the context of service to their nation or the international community. They should have served and contributed at home in a manner that has enhanced the reputation of West Point and has encouraged partnerships between the United States and their country. To ensure equitable and appropriate consideration, international nominees will not displace US graduates who would otherwise be selected, but rather be additive to the total selected.
For the Thayer Award, the following guidelines apply with respect to nominations:
A Nomination Packet must Adhere to the Following:
- Nominations may be made by Classes and Societies only. If a class is submitting the nomination, the recognized leader of the class according to its constitution must sign the letter; if a society is submitting the nomination, the society president must sign the letter.
- A Class/Society may have a maximum of two nominations under consideration during any given year. Nominees need not be a member of the Society or Class submitting the nomination.
- There is an expectation that the nominating official will have knowledge of a nominee’s character, distinguished service, and stature. There is further expectation that the nominators will recommend only those individuals who exhibit the highest standards of honorable living embodied in the ideals of West Point’s motto, “Duty, Honor, County.”
- Nomination packets and endorsements must be submitted no later than November 3. Items received after this deadline will not be considered.
Nomination and Endorsement Letters must Adhere to the Following Format:
- The nomination letter must be signed, and no longer than three pages of single-spaced typescript.
- It must take the form of a letter to the Chair of the Distinguished Graduate Award Committee. After identifying the nominee, the letter shall continue with a narrative detailing the nominee’s contributions and distinguished service, justifying selection as the recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Award, and that makes clear to the reader the way in which these contributions draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.”
- In addition to the Nominating Letter, each candidate must have a minimum of two endorsements. Signed endorsement letters of no more than one page will be accepted. Endorsement letters must endorse the candidate for the Distinguished Graduate Award. Endorsers need not be West Point graduates. Endorsements may come with the nomination packet, or they may be mailed in separately by the endorser. All must be received by the deadline of November 3.
- Pictures and embedded links to other documents may not be included in the nomination letter or endorsements.
- Based on committee feedback, an excessive number of endorsement letters is not productive. The quality of endorsements is more meaningful than the quantity. Letters of endorsements with specific statements reviewing the nominee’s character, service, and stature, should be sufficient.
Selection and Presentation
The deadline for Award nominations is November 3.
Please submit your submission as follows:
By email: Laurie.Fontana@wpaog.org
Please indicate in the subject line: Distinguished Graduate Award Committee
By postal mail:
Thayer Award Committee
c/o Laurie Fontana
West Point Association of Graduates
698 Mills Road
West Point, New York 10996
(If you mail your submission, please inform Laurie so she can ensure it was received.)