We are pleased to announce that Mr. William J. Perry is to receive the 2008 Thayer Award for his many years of selfless service as a gifted and tireless statesman. Perry’s tenure as the 19th Secretary of Defense (1994-1997) marked a time of significant change for the armed forces. Perry is widely recognized as the father of stealth technology, though he also directed personnel, infrastructure, and ever-changing mission requirements with brilliant leadership.
There are five recipients of the Distinguished Graduate Award for 2008: Dell Dailey ’71; James V. Kimsey ’62; Clarence E. McKnight, Jr. ’52; Wallace H. Nutting ’50; and John A. Shaud ’56.
Dell Dailey ’71 is currently an Ambassador-at-Large as the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the Department of State. He was nominated by his classmates for over 35 years of selfless and distinguished active military and civilian service to the Nation, service that included assignments as the Assistant Division Commander of the 101st Airborne Division and Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command. Dell Dailey has clearly demonstrated the broad national significance of West Point.
Over the past ten years, a number of new structures have dramatically changed the landscape at West Point; James Kimsey’s name is on one of these. But his achievements go well beyond this building at his alma mater. James V. Kimsey ’62 received a nomination from his classmates for being a patriot, exemplary business leader, philanthropist and global humanitarian. Endorsements from many prominent figures – including Bob Dole, Colin Powell, and Alexander M. Haig, Jr. – echoed this testimony.
The West Point Class of 1952 nominated Clarence E. McKnight, Jr. for over five decades of visionary leadership and powerful dual legacies. He is an internationally recognized authority on military telecommunications, and a pioneer in the application of communications technology to education. Distance learning has poised future generations around the world for lifelong access to education.
Wallace H. Nutting ’50 received his class’ nomination for being a model soldier/statesman, civic leader, and educator. Having attained the rank of general and serving 35 years of active military service, he retired and immersed himself in community affairs and supporting military and civilian (especially adult) education. As recent Mayor of Biddeford, Maine, he restored stability to the administration and led a surge in the renaissance of the city.
The classmates of John A. Shaud ’56 wanted to recognize his service of more than five decades promoting the advancement of freedom and the well-being of all members of the US Armed Forces. Shaud is a member of the proud community of West Point graduates who have attained the rank of four-star general in the Air Force, and his final assignment was leading the largest international military staff in history through the end of the Cold War. Since retiring in 1991, his principal focus has been mentoring and supporting fellow airmen.