Our Academy is standing tall and looking good. The Staff, Faculty and Cadets I spoke to were impressive and remain committed to keeping West Point the preeminent leadership development institution in the world.
1. I am pleased to report that the activity level of the West Point Society of Denver once again earned for us the designation as a Distinguished Society, one of 63 Distinguished Societies out of a total of 142 worldwide.
2. AOG Chairman, LTG (Ret) Larry Jordan '68, spoke to us, highlighting the success of the For Us ALL fund raising campaign (details below) and unequivocally stated that our Association of Graduates is financially sound.
3. AOG President Bob McClure '76, COL (Ret), provided many interesting facts about alumni, (some listed below) and described the costs and challenges of funding an endowment. The AOG's endowment currently totals about $300MM, divided into two major funds: a West Point Fund providing support for "margin of excellence" and other needs validated by the Superintendent; and a second Fund used by the AOG to support alumni activities and events validated by AOG's Board of Directors (included publications, Herbert Hall and reunion activities, among others). The overall cost of AOG's fund raising efforts is about 12% of contributed funds, with a goal of lowering that to 10% by 2019. This compares to fund administrative costs of 14% for the USO; 16.7% for Wounded Warrior Project; 21.4 for ACS and Navy at 32.3%!. Overall 56% of graduates have contributed financial to the academy, with last year coming in at 32%, as compared to 22% for Navy and 15% for USAFA. The gold standard is Princeton at 60%. Harvard is at 35%. Regular AOG Income is sourced as follows: 40% Long Gray Line Endowment; 28% Gift Shop; 10% Affinity programs; 22% Other (SACC; publications, etc.). Plans are in the making for a 2019 sesquicentennial (150 year) celebration of the founding of AOG.
4. Superintendent LTG Bob Caslen '75 spoke about the USMA Strategic Plan for 2015-2021 while highlighting his priorities, which are:
· Sexual Harassment/Assault/Command Climate
· Honorable Living
· Winning Culture
· Force Protection (new priority from last year)
· New York City (Continue to build our partnership with New York City to enhance cadet development and enrich our connection with the American People. I see West Point cadets often participating at Yankee games and other Yankee Stadium events)
· Beat Navy!
5. FOR US ALL CAMPAIGN: The AOG's multiyear fund raising campaign, which ends in December 2015, has been a great success. With a goal of $350MM the campaign has raised $389.9MM so far and will likely top out at over $400MM.
6. CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES: West Point is in year 3 of a $650MM 9 year building program. The renovation of Scott Barracks (Lost 50s) is completed and the renovation of Bartlett Hall is nearing completion. The new barracks being built on the hill where building 720 was located, has been named the GEN Benjamin O. Davis ('36) Barracks and will be occupied by cadets by the second semester of the 2016-17 academic year. The Academy will be breaking ground soon for a new Visitors Center. Future construction includes renovation of the remaining barracks, an Arvin Gym Annex near Target Hill Field, a Lacrosse Center and a new Army Cyber Institute.
7. As one drives through Thayer Gate, or any of the gates at West Point, one is greeted by a sign that reflects West Point’s top successes in sports and competitive clubs:
A. NATIONAL CHAMPIONS:
· 2014: PARACHUTE
· 2014: TRIATHLON
· 2015: FENCING
· 2015: JUDO
· 2015: MEN'S TEAM HANDBALL
· 2015: ORIENTEERING
· 2015: PISTOL
· 2015: WOMEN'S RUGBY 7'S
· 2015: WOMEN'S TEAM HANDBALL
B. PATRIOT LEAGUE CHAMPIONS:
· 2014: MEN'S RUGBY
· 2015: GYMNASTICS
· MEN'S TENNIS
8. FYI, USA Today published an article on 11 August ranking the official logos of each of the 300+ professional and college sports teams in the United States, and the new Army West Point Helmet-Sword-Star-Shield Logo was ranked 12th. The Texas Longhorns and the Kansas Jayhawks logos were the only college logos ranked higher than West Point.
9. Recent College Rankings:
A. US News & World Report
· #2 Public Liberal Arts College
· #3 Best Undergrad Engineering Programs
· #1 Public College in the Nation
· #1 Best Value
· #11 #Overall College in the Nation (Note: USNA was #27, USAFA was #38, and USCGA was #101).
C. Princeton Review
· #1 Most Accessible Professors
· #2 Health Services
· #3 Library
· Everyone plays Intramurals
D. Other rankings
· Top 10 Cyber Program
· Top 10 Business Program
10. Post-Graduate Scholarships (rankings for total all-time awards):
· #5 in Rhodes Scholarships
· #4 Hertz Scholarships
· #6 Truman Scholarships
· #7 Marshall Scholarships
11. The First Captain, Eugene (“EJ”) Coleman from Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia, is also the Class President. He is only the 3rd Cadet to hold both positions of First Captain and Class President. The other two were John J. Pershing (USMA 1886) and Pete Dawkins (USMA 1959).
12. The numerous Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD; 720 in CONUS and 322 OCONUS in numerous countries this summer), Military Individual Advanced Development (MIAD; 1090 Cadets this summer, including 73 international schools, mountaineering, scuba, combat diver, French Commando, Brazil & Republic of Georgia mountaineering schools, etc.), Internship, Semester Abroad, Cultural Immersion, Research, etc., enrichment opportunities available for cadets are truly impressive and extensive. Our cadets are taking advantage of tremendous experiences and are compiling extraordinary accomplishments around the world, while serving as exemplary ambassadors for our Alma Mater.
13. The Class of 2015 led the cadet effort to develop a Cadet Creed (patterned after the Soldier, NCO, and Ranger Creeds), which is now in Bugle Notes.
14. Class of 2019 (most diverse in history and very high-achieving):
· 22% Women (all-time high; Women applicants are up 59% in past 5 years).
· 34+% Minority (all-time high)
· 15% African-American (all-time high; African-American applicants are up 23% in past 5 years).
· 11.4% Hispanic
· 7.8% Asian-American
· 6.5% (82) Soldiers
· 1263 Admitted
· 17 International Cadets
15. Military Training:
· Intensive Combat Survival Swimming Course for all Yearlings; significantly more than just “Bob & Travel” and the 10-Meter Board (1.5 meter waves; darkness; strobe lights; fog on the water; noise; obstacles, etc.)
· Camp Buckner is ½ as long for Yearlings. Cadet Field Training and a 7.5 mile run at the end of Camp Buckner.
· The other half of Camp Buckner Summer Training is a Ranger/RECONDO type training for Firsties, all in the field (Cadet Leader Development Training). Firsties must pass patrols to graduate. There will probably be 2 late Grads for the Class of 2016 who still must pass patrols at Camp Buckner next summer.
· Indoor Obstacle Course: Every year; must pass to graduate.
16. Other expanding major initiatives/centers;
· Combating Terrorism Center
· Cyber/Future Warfare
· Center for the Study of Civil-Military Relations
· Cadet Semester Abroad Program
17. Now have a Parents Weekend for All cadets (like USAFA), scheduled for the 9-11 October Football Game Weekend. This is in addition to the traditional Plebe Parent weekend.
18. Thanksgiving Break is 25-29 November (cadets can leave after last duty on Tuesday).
19. Army Football:
· Only 6 returning starters from last year.
· 77 of 136 players are Plebes.
· I watched a practice and the first full scrimmage with officials, clock, etc., on Saturday, 15 August; The Players and Coaches are working hard.
· 51,358 Living Graduates in the Long Gray Line
· 72,412 total Graduates in the Long Gray Line.
· The mid-point of the living Long Gray Line is the Class of 1989.
· The mid-point of the entire Long Gray Line is the Class of 1978.
· The oldest Grad is Class of ‘33 (103 Years Old).
I must acknowledge my colleague Stover James '76, President of the West Point Society of Pikes Peak, for authoring items 7-20 above.