WEST POINT – Elizabeth Dole received the prestigious Association of Graduates Thayer Award in a ceremony hosted by the U.S. Military Academy on Thursday, Sept. 21. The Corps of Cadets conducted a parade in her honor, on the Plain, prior to the award presentation dinner.
Dole received national recognition in 1991 when she became the second woman to lead the American Red Cross (the first being the founder of the organization, Clara Barton). During her tenure, she restructured the world’s largest humanitarian organization, transforming the way the Red Cross collects, tests, and distributes half of the nation’s blood supply. Dole announced her departure from the Red Cross in January 1999 and two months later announced her candidacy for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. Two years later, she became the first woman to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate, serving for one term. While a senator, she served on the Armed Services Committee.
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation was established in 2012 after her respected husband, Bob Dole, suffered a medical emergency, and she was inspired to create the “Hidden Heroes” campaign to shed light on the hardships of being a military caregiver. Through this she leads in raising awareness of the millions of spouses, parents, and others who care for wounded loved ones. She served as former Chair of the VA’s Veterans’ Family, Caregiver and Survivor Federal Advisory Committee, helping create critical resources and improving benefits and support services.
“West Point’s distinguished graduates are some of our nation’s finest examples of, ‘Duty, Honor, Country,’ so it will be my great honor to receive the Thayer Award that reflects their values and patriotic spirit,” said Dole. “I have been inspired by so many of the accomplished servant leaders who have also accepted this award, including my late husband, Bob Dole, just as I continue to be inspired by the bravery and determination of the young Americans who join West Point’s alumni each year, this rising generation of Army leaders.”
The Thayer Award, established in honor of Col. Sylvanus Thayer, “Father of the Military Academy,” is presented to an outstanding citizen whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify the military academy’s motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.” The Association of Graduates has presented the award annually since 1958.
Past recipients of the Thayer Award include Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Bob Hope, Neil Armstrong, Barbara Jordon, Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger and former President George W. Bush. Last year’s recipient was Philanthropist Ken Fisher.