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Department of History : Distinguished Graduates

The Distinguished Graduate Award


The Distinguished Graduate Award (DGA) is to be given to graduates of the United States Military Academy whose character, distinguished service, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.”

 Dave R. Palmer '56 Throughout a lifetime of service to the Nation, Lieutenant General (Retired) Dave R. Palmer has distinguished himself as a member of the Long Gray Line and brought great credit to the United States Military Academy. He was a commander and staff officer whose Army service spanned more than three decades. He has been an author, lecturer, educator, and community servant, whose tireless efforts have done much to preserve the legacy and enrich the public´s understanding of the United States Army. Most notably, as the 53rd Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, his vision guided far-reaching and enduring advances at West Point. Dave Palmer has repeatedly set the azimuth for change with a wisdom grounded in history and informed by his prescient view of the future. His extraordinary service has done much to promote the welfare of West Point and to further the ideals: "Duty, Honor, Country."

defrancisco picture.jpgJoseph E. DeFrancisco ’65 – Lieutenant General (Retired) DeFrancisco has had a remarkable active-duty Army career: he served two tours in Vietnam, he spearheaded the deployment of the M119 light howitzer to Panama in Operation Just Cause, he served as the Executive Officer to the Secretary of the Army and as Deputy Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Command, and he directed numerous humanitarian relief efforts. DeFrancisco has also been a leader in enhancing understanding between the Army and its supporting communities, and he currently serves on the Board of the Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association. Through it all, DeFrancisco has remained close to West Point: teaching at the Academy in the 70s, serving on the transition team for three Superintendents, and supporting the efforts of the Association of Graduates.