Sylvanus Thayer Award

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The Sylvanus Thayer Award is an honor given annually by the United States Military Academy at West Point to an individual whose character and accomplishments exemplifies the motto of West Point. The award is named after the 'Father of the Military Academy,' Colonel Sylvanus Thayer. The awardee is selected by, and the award is endowed by, a committee formed from the West Point Association of Graduates. It has been awarded annually since 1958 and is the closest recognition West Point has to granting an honorary degree.


Official description of the award

Since 1958, the West Point Association of Graduates has presented the SYLVANUS THAYER AWARD to an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto: DU>

The recipient of the Sylvanus Thayer Award receives a medal with a bust in profile of Thayer on one side, with the inscription: "The Sylvanus Thayer Medal Awarded by the Association of Graduates, United States Military Academy, for Outstanding Service to the Nation." The reverse side carries the coat of arms of the Military Academy and the words "West Point" and "Duty, Honor, Country". Around the edge of the medal are inscribed the name of the recipient and the year of presentation. In addition to receiving the medal, the recipient's portrait and name are inscribed on a memorial in the Thayer Award Room in Taylor Hall, [1] the headquarters of West Point.


Active-duty and retired American military servicemen or women are eligible for the award, but the majority are civilians who contributed to the US Government, the US Armed Forces, US national security and diplomacy, US civil rights or support of veterans in a positive way. The recipient must be a US Citizen, must not be a United States Military Academy graduate, and must receive the award in person during a ceremony with the entire Corps of Cadets. Early in its existence, three West Point graduates received the award - Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, and Omar Bradley - but graduates are no longer eligible. One United States Naval Academy graduate, Ross Perot, has received the award.


The following is the list of the award's recipients: [2]


  1. The 2002 award was "dedicated to...all of the men and women who have served in the U.S. the history of the United States."

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