Thayer Award Criteria

The Award is given to a citizen of the United States, other than a West Point graduate, whose outstanding character, accomplishments, and stature in the civilian community draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.” The individual selected for the Thayer Award must agree to accept the Award at West Point. The Sylvanus Thayer Award is funded by a generous endowment from E. Doug Kenna ’45 and his wife, Jean.

Nominations for the Thayer Award

For the Thayer Award, the following guidelines apply with respect to nominations:

  • Classes, Societies, and individual Regular Members of the Association may submit nominations for the Thayer Award.
  • The number of new annual nominations that Classes, Societies, and individuals may submit is unlimited. The intention is to present the award to a single individual, not to a group or conceptual individual.


  • The nominee’s stature and reputation will draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.”
  • National public service is prominent in the career of the nominee.
  • The nomination should acknowledge a lifetime of service. Because the recipient will be forever associated with West Point and its ideals, selecting a receipting whose professional life story is nearly complete.
  • The nominee should have respect and national stature (i.e., national name recognition and wide based respect among the general population). Ideally, they will be recognized by the Corps as a “great American.”


  • The nomination shall take the form of a letter to the Chairman of the Thayer Award Committee.
  • The nominating letter shall be signed and no longer than three pages.
  • Letters of endorsement supporting the nomination, attesting to the candidate’s character and accomplishments, may be submitted with the packet, or they may arrive separately. At least one letter of endorsement is needed, except for widely known nominees, e.g., former Presidents. Endorsement letters shall be no more than one page.
  • Pictures and embedded links to other documents may not be included in the nomination letter or endorsements.

Selection and Presentation

Normally, the recipient is approved by the Board of Directors and announced in late winter. The Award is presented in the following October.

The deadline for Award nominations is November 3. Nominations are considered active for three years.

Please submit your submission as follows:
By email: Laurie.Fontana@wpaog.org
Please indicate in the subject line: Thayer 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