West Point Graduates, Families, and Friends in the Denver Region:
I recently returned from the annual West Point Alumni Leaders Conference (sponsored every year by the Class of ’67). It was a tremendous opportunity to reconnect with West Point and to receive briefings from the Superintendent on down. I’m forwarding a very comprehensive write-up from Stover James, President of the Pikes Peak Society. He did a marvelous job summarizing the many accomplishments and initiatives at the academy. Thanks, Stover!
· The highlight of my trip was the very moving, inspiring, and well-attended (including Army and Air Force dignitaries and the Davis family) dedication of the new General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Barracks. For those who do not know, building #720 was demolished, and the “mountain was moved” for the new barracks (with many modern amenities, including air conditioning), which look great and a welcome addition to the West Point landscape. General Davis ‘36, son of the first African-American General in the U.S. Army (Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.), was the 4th African-American to graduate from West Point, and overcame racism (including being silenced in his class, with his own room, dining alone, and only being spoken to in class and official business) to graduate in the first class of Tuskegee Airmen, command the Tuskegee Airmen, and command at the Squadron, Group, Wing, and numbered Air Force levels.
· The Corps, led by Simone Askew, the first female African-American First Captain in West Point history, looked super in the Class of 2021 Acceptance Parade……no fallouts!
· I am proud to inform you that our West Point Society of the Pikes Peak Region (WPSPPR) was named a Distinguished Society again, a recognition that we have won consecutively every year dating back to at least 2006. Many Thanks to all who have made this award possible over the years.
· West Point Athletics/Competitive Clubs:
o National Championships:
§ Men’s Team Handball/2017
§ Women’s Team Handball/2017
§ Men’s Boxing/2017
§ Women’s Boxing/2017
§ Ethics Debate/2017
o Patriot League/Conference Championships
§ Men’s Tennis/2017
§ Men’s Lacrosse/2017
§ Women’s Tennis/2017
o Other West Point Intercollegiate Athletic/Competitive Club Notable Achievements:
§ .585 overall winning percentage, and Beat Navy in 13 intercollegiate sports
§ West Point AD, Boo Corrigan, was named the National Athletic Director of the Year!
§ Football: 8 wins + Beat Navy + Bowl Win
§ Sprint Football: 300th Win
§ Men’s and Women’s Rugby: Both were Collegiate 7s Bowl Champions
§ Hockey: Goalie Parker Gahagen set new Army career saves record
§ Ryan Nick Atlantic Hockey Sportsman of the Year
§ Numerous Patriot League Scholar Athletes, Players of the Year, and Rookies of the Year Honors
§ Peter Kim: Patriot League Golfer of the Year and All-American Honorable Mention
§ Swim/Dive, Tennis, and Baseball Coaches won Patriot League Coaches of the Year Honors
§ In addition to the 12 Club National Championships listed above, Army Clubs consistently and overwhelmingly beat Navy
§ Sandhurst Competition: Army Teams placed 1st (a UK Team often wins), 3rd, and 4th
· Recent College Rankings:
§ #2 Public College in the Nation (NOTE: The SUPE said a new category for 2017 - “Social Climate” - e.g.,
“Party School” - hurt West Point……Imagine that!)
“Party School” - hurt West Point……Imagine that!)
§ #9 Liberal Arts College
§ #24 College overall in the Nation
o US News & World Report:
§ #1 in High School Guidance Counselor Ratings
§ #2 Public Liberal Arts College
§ #4 Best Undergrad Engineering Programs
§ #19 Liberal Arts
o Princeton Review:
§ #1 Best Classroom
§ #2 Most Accessible Professors
§ #2 Lots of Race/Class Interaction
§ #4 Everyone Plays Intramurals Sports
§ #4 Best Health Services
§ #5 Best College Library
o College Choice: #14 Best Bachelor’s in Engineering Degree Program (NOTE: USAFA #17; USNA #18)
· Class of 2017: 27 Cadet Scholarship Winners:
o 1 Rhodes Scholar (1st African-American in West Point history)
o 1 Marshall Scholar
o 5 Schwarzman Scholars
o 2 Yenching Scholars
o 3 Rotary Scholars
o 2 Fulbright Scholars
o 5 Lincoln Lab Scholars
o 5 Draper Scholars
o 2 GEM Scholars Rotary, Schwarzman, Churchill, and other scholarships
o 1 NSF Scholar
o Plus, numerous Class of 2017 Graduates will go to Medical School
· SUPE’s Priorities:
o Leader Development (West Point Vision: The preeminent leader development institution in the world)
§ Honorable Living
§ Sexual Harassment/Assault/Command Climate
§ Winning Culture
o Force Protection
o New York City (Continue to build our partnership with New York City to enhance cadet development and enrich our connection with the American People)
o BEAT NAVY!
· SUPE’s Additional Comments:
o Security is being tightened as protecting Cadets and Faculty is now a major concern (BTW, many buildings now have swipe card access).
o Ask: Where does mediocrity exist?.....Cadets deserve better; they will lay it on the line.
o Pursuit of Excellence
o Winning IAW Values, not win at all costs.
· West Point now has a Cadet Creed:
“As a future officer, I am committed to the values of Duty, Honor and Country.
I am an aspiring member of the Army Profession, dedicated to serve and earn the trust of the American people.
It is my duty to maintain the honor of the Corps.
I will live above the common level of life, and have the courage to choose the harder right over the easier wrong.
I will live with honor and integrity, scorn injustice, and confront substandard behavior.
I will persevere through adversity and recover from failure.
I will embrace the warrior ethos, and pursue excellence in everything I do.
I am a future officer and a member of the Long Gray Line.”
· The number and type of Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD - Study Abroad, Exchange, Cultural Immersion, Research, Internships, Projects, etc. – 1067 cadets, including 422 in 50 foreign countries), Military Individual Advanced Development (MIAD - Sapper, SERE, Airborne, Air Assault, Combat Diver, Jungle, Mountaineering, Commando, etc.) opportunities, both domestic and international, for cadets are truly impressive (Example: I met a Firstie who had a Cow Summer MIAD with the Chilean Mountain Warfare School, and then a Firstie Summer MIAD @ Sandhurst, from which he deployed to Grafenwoehr for live-fire training).
· Class of 2021 (“Until the Battle is Won 2021”) Beast Barracks:
o More physical; more road marches
o More time in field
o Class of 2021 started with 1237 members on R-Day, and lost 27 during Beast Barracks
· Camp Buckner Summer Military Training:
o 4 weeks long for Yearlings. 7.1 mile run back from Camp Buckner at end of training; synchronized so that Yearlings running back from Camp Buckner meet/pass the New Cadets marching out in the opposite direction towards Lake Frederick.
o 2 weeks for Firsties. Camp Buckner 11-Day FTX, modeled after the Camp Darby Phase of Ranger School. Firsties must pass patrols to graduate. 15 Late Grads in the Class of 2017 who had to return to Camp Buckner because they did not pass this graduation requirement the first time.
o Yearlings/Yucks promoted to Corporal
o Cows: August Affirmation Ceremony
o Ring Weekend: Firsties in August; presented @ Trophy Point
· Class of 2020 (very diverse and very high-achieving):
o Women: 24.4% (all-time high)
o African-Americans: 16.7% (all-time high)
o Hispanic-Americans: 9.7%
o Asians-Americans 8.0%
o Soldiers: 6.1%
o Recruited Athletes: 26.7%
· Significant Construction
o As mentioned above, the new Davis Barracks is complete and occupied.
- The Foley, Enners, Nathe Lacrosse Center (15,000 square feet; 2 stories; located in the northeast end of Michie Stadium), named for its lead donor, William P. Foley ’67, and for 1LT Raymond J. Enners ’67 and 1LT Michael L. Nathe ’67, both Lacrosse Players who were killed in action serving in Vietnam, is complete, has been dedicated, and is in use.
o Bartlett Hall: 4-year Renovation complete.
o Cullum Hall: Beautiful new Memorial Room renovation, honoring all the West Point Graduates who have fallen in battle, and the 76 West Point Graduates who have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
o Malek Soccer Stadium
o Malek Visitor Center construction ongoing.
o Cadet Barracks Upgrade Program (CBUP): 8-Year Program totaling $643M; Scott and MacArthur Barracks done; will be complete in 2023;
o Longer Term Plans/Project Submissions:
§ Academic Building Upgrade Program (ABUP; like Bartlett Hall renovation): 9-Year Program; 6 buildings, $711M
§ Cyber & Engineering Academic Center (CEAC): $89M; FY19
§ Cemetery: $22M; FY18. BTW, the renovation of the Margaret Corbin site adjacent to the Old Cadet Chapel is complete and looks great; a fitting memorial
§ Parking Structure: $30M; FY20; significant need for parking and Force Protection enhancement.
§ Arvin Annex: vicinity of Shea Stadium and Fieldhouse
· West Point now has a Parents’ Weekend (“Corps Family Weekend”) for all classes (like USAFA); this year it is 20-22 October.
· The West Point Band, the longest continuously serving U.S. Army Music Unit, is celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2017.
o 74,380 Total Graduates 1802-2016; 52,441 Living Graduates from 81 Classes
o Mid-point of the living Long Gray Line is in the Class of 1991; the mid-point of all Graduates since 1802 is in the Class of 1980; many of us may be surprised to realize how far along we are on the “sunset” side of those mid-points.
o Oldest Living Graduate is LTG William J. Ely, ’33 (105 Years Old)
o 139 West Point Societies, including 12 overseas.
o Most engaged alumni of any Service Academy
o WPAOG Goal: Most highly connected alumni body in the world; meaningful engagement that increases affinity; engagement of Grads, Parents, Widows/Widowers, and Cadets
o WPAOG financially strong; sound investments; solid reserves; unwavering stewardship
o >$400M of assets
o Funding Margin of Excellence, Academic, Cultural Enrichment, and Athletic/Competitive Club Programs
o WPAOG has received the highest ratings for charitable organizations:
§ GuideStar: Platinum Award (highest award)
§ Council for Advancement and Support Education (CASE); Only Public Liberal Arts Institution to win the highest CASE Overall Performance and Sustained Excellence Awards.
§ 17,523 donors to date in 2017; 76% Alumni and 24% non-Alumni
§ Current Alumni donor participation rate: 26% of Grads; Goal: 33%
§ Navy: 19.4%
§ College alumni donor participation average: 8.1%
§ Princeton: #1 @ 63%
§ Harvard: 35%
§ 24% Non-Alumni donors:
· 10% parents
· 12% Friends
· 1% Widows
· 1% Others
§ All Academy Challenge: Successful in 2017
· 9.2% of Alumni
· $1,063,674.35 raised
· Alumni participation increased 25% in 2016
· First time donors increased 21% in 2016
o Rockbound Highland Home Program (Grad Pass + Grad Perks + Grad Insider Tours+ Memorabilia/Sales Items)
o Enhanced WPAOG Connect Program in early 2018: mobile and desktop application; search and LinkedIn capabilities; access to WPAOG database; intended to promote professional and social networking
o Recently completed WPAOG/Donor-funded Construction:
§ Foley, Enners, Nathe Lacrosse Center
§ Malek Soccer Stadium
§ Daley Field
§ Goldstein Field
o Future WPAOG/Donor-funded Construction:
§ Arvin Annex (Building #673)
§ Malek Visitor Center
§ Humanities Center
§ Equestrian Center
o Priority Bridge Period Needs:
§ Michie Stadium East Stands
§ Arvin Annex (Building #673)
§ Center for Study of Civil-Military Relations
§ Combating Terrorism Center
§ Center of Humanities
§ Cyber Research Center
§ Army Cyber Institute
§ Academy Scholars Program
§ Semester Abroad
§ Cadet Activities Endowments/Funds
§ Modern War Institute
§ Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
· WPAOG Strategic Plan based on key upcoming event: 2019 will be the 150th Anniversary of the WPAOG (the WPAOG Sesquicentennial for you Hives). The WPAOG started on 22 May 1869 in New York City. The 1st annual gathering was 17 June 1870 @ CCNY.
o Nation: 241 Years Old
o Army: 242 Years Old
o West Point: 215 years Old
o WPAOG: 148 Years Old
· WPAOG will start a website to highlight West Point Grad accomplishments day-by-day: firstname.lastname@example.org (example: Panama Canal project led by George Washington Goethals, West Point Class of 1880, completed 2 years ahead of schedule on 14 August; his Deputies in charge of the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions were West point Class of 1881 Grads). Suggestions for highlights welcomed and solicited.
I was able to watch a couple of ARMY Football practices; very organized/spirited, with lots of energy and optimism from the Brave Old ARMY Team, Coach Monken, and his Staff; 8 returning starters each on offense and defense; the o-line averages 295 lbs.
Go Army! Beat Navy!
Brian MacDonald ‘83
President, West Point Society of Denver