Medal Award Ceremony Includes Review by Corps of Cadets at U.S. Military Academy
The West Point Association of Graduates is pleased to announce that the highly distinguished and noteworthy philanthropist Kenneth Fisher will receive the 2022 Sylvanus Thayer Award. The award will be presented on October 6, 2022 during ceremonies hosted by LTG Darryl A. Williams, Class of 1983, 60th Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
West Point Association of Graduates Board Chairman, Honorable Robert A. McDonald, Class of 1975, said, “I have had the pleasure and honor of knowing Ken Fisher for many years. Most recently, as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, I personally witnessed the value Ken brings to Veterans and their families as we opened more Fisher Houses around the country. Veteran families were able to be close by while their loved ones were going through treatment at a VA Medical Center. Because legislation prevents the VA from funding or building similar structures, private partnerships like Fisher Houses are critical to Veterans and the military community. Further, I had the joy of working with Ken on the Invictus Games, which he chaired in Orlando, Florida. These games brought disabled Veterans together from all over the world. President George and First Lady Laura Bush, First Lady Michelle Obama and Prince Harry were all involved in this successful event. Ken represents the values of West Point: Duty, Honor, Country. I am so pleased that the West Point Association of Graduates is honoring him for his achievements.”
“I am honored to accept the Sylvanus Thayer Award,” said Mr. Fisher. “I am humbled by the nomination and to join the ranks of the incredible list of past recipients.”
Kenneth “Ken” Fisher, has made a name for himself supporting military personnel and their families. As the Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation. Ken oversees an international network of comfort homes where military and Veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving medical treatment. Presently, 92 such “Fisher Houses” exist throughout the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. Carrying on a legacy that began with his great uncle, Zachary Fisher, Ken and the Fisher House Foundation have provided assistance to more than 413,000 military families, totaling more than 10 million nights of lodging and saving them an estimated
$525 million in out-of-pocket travel and lodging costs. On any given night, more than 1,300 military families are sleeping in a Fisher House.
In 2011, under Ken’s leadership, the Fisher House Foundation partnered with the Department of Defense to establish Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes, which helps provide air travel and hotel lodging for families of service members to stay close by when a Fisher House is not available. Thanks to Ken’s dedication and guidance, the Fisher House Foundation has been consistently recognized for its success and high standards of accountability, receiving the rare A+ rating from CharityWatch.org, and a perfect four-star rating from Charity Navigator for 14 consecutive years.
Ken also serves as co-chairman of the Intrepid Museum Foundation and has helped lead the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum into becoming a unique nonprofit educational institution that provides award-winning STEM programs to thousands of New York City public school children. He also served as the chairman of the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando. Working alongside Prince Harry, Ken led the efforts to bring the games to the United States, leveraging the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick service members.
In 2007, Ken was appointed by the Bush Administration to the President’s Commission on Care of America’s Returning Wounded Warriors and has served on several policy boards in support of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Ken is a member of the Board of Directors for the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the Board of Directors of the Business Executives for National Security.
In addition to a philanthropist, Ken is also a business leader. He is a co-managing partner of Fisher Brothers Management Company, a third-generation, family-owned real estate development and management company. With his nearly 40 years in the real estate industry, Ken oversees Fisher Brothers’ daily operations, including the management, marketing, construction and leasing of the company’s Manhattan portfolio, which includes 299 Park Avenue, 1345 Avenue of the Americas, Park Avenue Plaza and 605 Third Avenue. Under his direction, the company is implementing far-reaching modernizations to its infrastructure and technology.
Over the years, Ken has received a series of distinctions, inductions and high-civilian honors, including being named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. Additional honors include the Phelps Award from the Friends of the Vietnam Memorial (2017); the HillVets 100 (2018); the Secretary’s Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs (2004); the Medal for Distinguished Public Service from the Department of Defense (2012, 2013); the U.S. Army’s George C. Marshall Medal (2009); an “Honorary Green Beret” distinction from the Special Forces Association (2007); an “Honorary Marine” distinction from the United States Marine Corps (2011); induction into the Order of Military Medical Merit (2001); the Public Awareness Award from the Paralyzed Veterans of America; the Lives That Make A Difference Award from A+E Television Networks; the Ellis Island Medal of Freedom (2001), the Heroes of Military Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award (2014); and the VFW Citizenship Award (2019).
About the Sylvanus Thayer Award
The Thayer Award, presented annually since 1958, is the highest honor currently bestowed upon a non-graduate by the West Point Association of Graduates. The selected recipient must be an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the legendary West Point motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.” The Award is named for Sylvanus Thayer (Class of 1808), Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point from 1817 to 1833. Thayer is venerated as the “Father of the Military Academy” for improving West Point’s academic standards, instilling military discipline and emphasizing honorable conduct, and his statue stands today in a place of honor on the historic Plain at West Point. Past recipients of the Thayer Award include General Ann Dunwoody, Leon Panetta, Robert Mueller, Gary Sinise, Bob Hope, Condoleezza Rice, General Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Tom Brokaw, Neil Armstrong, Walter Cronkite, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Dwight Eisenhower. By tradition, the Thayer Award recipient is honored with a full-dress parade by the Corps of Cadets at West Point. Afterwards, the recipient is presented with the Thayer medal, and gives a formal address to the Corps. The honoree also has the opportunity to meet with cadets in the classroom and has his or her legacy of Duty, Honor, Country permanently preserved for future cadets in the Thayer Award Room in Taylor Hall at West Point. For a full list of previous Thayer Award recipients, visit WestPointAOG.org/ThayerAwardrecipients.
About the West Point Association of Graduates
The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG), is among America’s oldest educational alumni associations. Founded in 1869, the Association was established “to cherish the memories of [its] Alma Mater, and to promote the social intercourse and fraternal fellowship of its graduates,” many of whom had recently fought against each other in the Civil War. WPAOG has evolved into a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to furthering the ideals and promoting the welfare of West Point, and to serving and supporting the more than 54,000 living West Point graduates. Its philanthropic pursuits maintain a Margin of Excellence for cadets attending the United States Military Academy. For more information see www.WestPointAOG.org.
About West Point
The U. S. Military Academy at West Point is a four-year, co-educational, federal, liberal arts college located 50 miles north of New York City. It was founded in 1802 as America's first college of engineering and continues today as the world’s premier leader-development institution, consistently ranked among top colleges in the country. Its mission remains constant—to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the U. S. Army. For more information, go to www.westpoint.edu.