WEST POINT, N.Y. (March 9, 2011) -- The West Point Association of Graduates recently announced that Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is the recipient of the Sylvanus Thayer Award for 2011.
"The Association of Graduates is honored that Secretary Gates will be forever associated with West Point through the Thayer Award," Chairman of the Association Jodie Glore said. "He is a truly great American, who has spent his life in the service of our national security."
The award will be presented at West Point later this year during ceremonies hosted by Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr., U.S. Military Academy superintendent.
"West Point is excited about the Association of Graduates' selection of Dr. Robert M. Gates as the 53rd recipient of this prestigious award," Huntoon said. "Secretary Gates' extraordinary life of selfless service to our nation is an exemplar of West Point's motto Duty, Honor, Country. The academy looks forward to hosting him in the company of the United States Corps of Cadets, our alumni and guests."
Gates has served eight presidents in his career of public service. Previously, he served as president of Texas A&M University and as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In total, Gates has served 27 years as an intelligence professional, including nine years at the National Security Council, serving four presidents of both political parties.
Gates' awards include the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal and the CIA's highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. He is a native of Kansas and holds degrees from the College of William and Mary, Indiana University and Georgetown University.
West Point's Sylvanus Thayer Award has been presented annually since 1958. The award honors an outstanding citizen of the U.S. whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to West Point's ideals.
The award is named in honor of the acknowledged "Father of the Military Academy," Col. Sylvanus Thayer, superintendent from 1817 to 1833.