Week of Gratitude

As each calendar year comes to an end, the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation, like so many other organizations, look back on all the goals reached, milestones met and achievements realized in service to its mission. 2020--challenging as it was--was no exception. Now, as we look forward to all the opportunities that lie ahead in 2021, we're kicking the year off with a new tradition that's fast become one of our most meaningful: the Week of Gratitude. 

All week long 11 -15 January, we'll be calling and sending messages to the thousands of donors, volunteers and friends who played a role in the accomplishments of 2020 and will be so critical to our continued support of the Naval Academy and its mission in 2021. We'll be sharing our thanks--and looking to learn more about what has inspired your incredible contributions of time, talent and treasure. And we'll share those messages here. 

You can learn more about exactly how your generosity has strengthened the midshipman experience by exploring our Impact Underway website


Wall of Gratitude

Thank you for the Foundation’s support to our family. Our two daughters Ashlyn Dawson (‘20) and Maura Dawson (‘23) have been recipients of the Foundation’s generous support. Your scholarship support helped them have successful post-graduate years at the Kent School. This extra time had a huge impact on their academics, maturity, organization and overall readiness to be a midshipman and serve in the fleet. Go Navy!

Amy Dawson P'20 and P'23

My wife and I would like to thank the Naval Academy for providing our daughter the education the Academy offers and especially her safety - as well as the health/safety/welfare of all midshipmen-- as our nation faces the national crisis combating the coronavirus. From us here in American Samoa (U.S territory) here in the South Pacific and Covid-free,... "FAAFETAI TELE" (thank you)!”

Philo Jennings P'21

I value everything that the Academy had to offer me -- opportunities during my years at the Academy as well as opportunities while in my career.

CDR Graham K. McAllister '02, USN

I volunteer because I feel very fortunate to have been accepted to the Academy. When I think about what it did for my life, I am very thankful to have served. I feel like all of us owe something back to the Academy for what it has done for us. The Naval Academy has played a big part in my success and this is my way of giving back.

CAPT Jim Minderlein '65, USN (Ret.)

I volunteer because I want to give back to the organization that gave me so much, and create and continue camaraderie with new alumni.

LT Vikram Kanth '15, USN

[The Naval Academy] is the centerpiece of my life. I owe it a lot of credit towards where I have gone and done with my life.

Col Frederick Dietrich '62, USAF (Ret.)

When I left in 1955, the Naval Academy was in my rearview mirror. When I got older, I knew I needed to help. After being a company officer, I got a feel for what Naval Academy is all about. It doesn’t just make sailors and Marines – it makes leaders.

BGen Paul Slack '55, USMC (Ret.)

I volunteer to serve my classmates, and to be a catalyst for classmates helping each other.

CAPT Kevin Stone '76, USN (Ret.)

The Academy gave me the baseline for life along with the church and my parents. I will forever be grateful.

Robert K. Pearce, Jr. '71

The reason our class gives back is because we want to do something that impacts people. What we do for the Naval Academy impacts midshipmen every day and it has drawn us together as a class.

CAPT William S. Johnson IV '63, USN (Ret.), Class President

The Academy gave me a lot. I just want to give back

CDR James P. Kelly '66, USN (Ret.)

I am proud to be a member of the Robert Means Thompson Society.

CAPT Barbette H. Lowndes '80, USN (Ret.)

I came from a poor rural background and the Naval Academy gave me the opportunity to get an education that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. I appreciated my time at the Academy and my career in the Navy and hope to stay in the Navy for as long as possible. I really don’t know what I would have done had the Naval Academy not accepted me and I will continue to support because of the opportunity it provided me.

LCDR Bradley Pennington '09, USN

I'm happy to do anything to support the Academy.

LT Felicia M. "Crockett" Goodell ’15, USN

It was a wonderful experience to be among such quality people and get such a quality education and to pave the way for a good future.

Rev. Douglas Metzger '65

I feel like I should give back considering how much I received from the Naval Academy.

W. John Clevenger '67

I volunteer because I love the institution!

CDR George Lipscomb '87, USNR (Ret.)

I volunteer because the Alumni Association gives us the opportunity to get closer together when so much right now is driving us apart.

CDR Frederick LaTrash '87, USN (Ret.)

I'm grateful for the Foundation Scholarship Program. If it wasn't for the Foundation [my son's] dream may not have been a realty. He is now in San Diego and passed the exam for Lieutenant.

Alan Boeck P'15

I chose to support the Naval Academy as it was a turning point in my life when I got the appointment and was able to attend. It turned my life around and gave me the level of success I have been able to achieve. I'm forever grateful for the opportunity.

CAPT Douglas B. Cutter '64, USN (Ret.)

My involvement truly is based on wanting to give back. I had already been involved with some things, but being part of NAMA formalized everything.

Valarie Mansfield '92

It is a labor of love! It's so important to help identify the next generation of leaders and through my chapter work and BGO work, I am able to be part of a team that does that.

CDR Brian Campbell '94, USNR

I've kept up with what goes on at the Academy and follow the USNA Instagram. I'm amazed at what the mids have to do today.

CAPT James V. Ferrero '49, USNR (Ret.)

I went to NAPS – and was discharged for medical reasons. My greatest regret was not going to the Naval Academy. [The Naval Academy] remains a great love of mine.

Friend of the Academy

I'm grateful to have common ground with my nearly 1,000 classmates. We leaned on each other on I-Day, and we still lean on each other today. From celebrating life and career milestones together to pooling together for mental health and financial support, we remain a tight-knit class that I'm humbled to be part of.

CAPT David S. Forman '98, USN

The Naval Academy gave me the values I needed to be successful in life.

Nicholas Nerangis '63

My wife is a '97 graduate. I served with several USNA graduates and found them to be impressive leaders.

Dave Brown, husband of Janel Brown '97

The Naval Academy is my favorite place!

Captain Mike Mazurczak '67, USNR (Ret.)

The Naval Academy changed the direction of my life and gave me lots of opportunities. I'm thankful for the experience and I want to help others have the same experiences.

Ed Biggers '57

I love supporting the midshipmen and our military. I give in part to honor family members who served in the military.

Chris Schrier

"It was the only thing I wanted to be. The only place I wanted to go." (son of LCDR David Thomas '57; brother to RADM David Thomas '81, CAPT Gregory Thomas '82 and CDR Christopher Thomas '89; and uncle to MIDN John Thomas '23)

Col Douglas Thomas '84, USMC (Ret.)

The Naval Academy taught me fidelity above all else -- your word is the most important thing you can give anyone.

CDR Rick Snow '85, USN (Ret.)

I'm grateful for the opportunity that the Naval Academy gave me, to grow and improve myself. I'm grateful for the camaraderie while I was there and afterwards; and grateful that it gave me an opportunity to serve my country.

Douglas Peters '73

I've always trusted that the Academy would use our gifts wisely in support of the Brigade, helping to take the Academy from good to great. And it has, and continues to do so. And I'm tremendously grateful for the many years of service of Ed Wallace and Chris Knott to our athletic trustees. Thank you.

Bill Bruen '74

Service has been imprinted in me by the USNA. Whether it is volunteering for the local chapter or running for office, USNA instills in people that they should be of service all their lives.

Al Burda '68

Our country needs ethics and leadership now more than ever and our institution is more important than ever.

Member of the Class of 1962

It's our way of saying thank you and supporting those at the Academy.

Amber Ray, P'24

It's the connections I have with the best group of people, my classmates, that means the most...

LCDR Donald S. Northrup '09, USN

I love my class and I bleed blue and gold! Happy to give anything back to the USNA community!

Will Roberts `14

The education and experience my daughter received at the Academy and through deployments truly provided her with an outstanding basis for the person she is.

Diana Spencer, P'02

It's a good way to pay back!

Dennis Joyce '61

My first love is the Naval Academy and the wonderful education I received. I plan to continue to support.

Donald W. Sanders '60

I learned good values and had a great career. I contribute to my class and in the past contributed to the Capstone project and try to stay involved with the mids. I received a lot of benefit from attending the Academy.

CAPT Glenn Whaley '69, USN (Ret.)

My dad's 7 brothers and my cousins all worked at U.S. Steel for 50 years. I went to the Naval Academy instead and went all over the world. Grateful to the USNA for giving me a different life.

CDR Alan Lerchbacker '74, USN (Ret.)

Everything else is subordinate to honoring the families of the fallen. We will never forget our fallen Shipmates. We continue the effort through the Virtual Memorial Hall and running events. To Honor!

Dave Paddock '77

The Academy was an integral part of my life - values - integrity; I know I can trust Naval Academy grads.

CDR Gordon Guenter '61, USNR (Ret.)

As the President of the Great Class of 1953 I am thankful for all the support I have received from my loyal and generous classmates. Throughout the years they have sponsored three meaningful and major legacy projects. Attendance at our reunions has always exceeded expectations, a tribute to their closeness and need to see old friends and make new ones. Their sense of comradeship and family, for we are a family, is evident in everything we do and an inspiration.

CAPT Christos Zirps `53, USN (Ret.)

My dad went to West Point and I grew up 5 miles from there. I am very happy to have gone to the Naval Academy and am grateful for my 4 years there.

Bruce H. Dolph '56

The Naval Academy was key. It was a baseline for success in my service in the Marine Corps and later in my 37 years in the private sector.

Bruce Marquardt '73

I cherished my time at the Naval Academy and the opportunities it provided me in my career.

CAPT Brad Stumke ’58, USN (Ret.)

I made lifelong contacts and have gotten together with company classmates for the last 20 years.

CAPT Bruce Keener '73, USNR (Ret.)

I believe in USNA in all aspects of its mission. The Principles of Honor I learned have served me throughout my career in the Navy and out. It's amazing how lessons from USNA and service academies carry over to all aspects of life; I made combat decisions directly tied to my USNA training.

Brian DeJarnett '98

I volunteer with my local chapter because I graduated from the Naval Academy and volunteering is a great way to keep in touch with classmates.

CAPT Peter Peterson '56, USN (Ret.)

I became chapter president to encourage and support other alumni who have forged such strong bonds through a mutual experience. There is a great level of trust between alumni and we value that whether we are networking on a business level or socially. We bring people together. We also enjoy working with potential candidates for the Academy.

Kevin McCloskey '93

I volunteer because I love the Naval Academy and the Naval Academy family. Everything good in my life is from the Naval Academy. My wife, my education, my job, and every opportunity that has come my way. I am incredibly grateful for all the Naval Academy has given me and this is one small way I can pay back the Naval Academy for all it has given me.

LCDR Andrew Poulin `09, USN

Volunteering for my class is an opportunity to give back to my classmates. When I took office, I was appointed by previous classmates to be President, but I feel honored by that!

CDR Robert Shulze `52, USN (Ret.)

Great memories...I was a part of the 8th Wing Players. We cleared the parking lot and created our own shows to entertain the Brigade. We put the speakers in the windows, produced skits, had live music. Everyone came out for the fun. Such great memories...

Brian Bandarra '84

As Chapter President in Pensacola, it's a great place to be and stay connected. We love to support newly graduated midshipmen who come down here for school.

Maj Jose Perez '10, USMC

The comradery stands out in my mind...we went through everything together, for a common purpose. They were special times. I loved being part of the USNA Men's Glee Club and working with Dr. Smith. Great times. Great Memories.

LT Brian Fritz '14, USN

I wouldn't be in the path that I am without attending the Naval Academy, from all the lessons I learned while attending. It is a national treasure and I will continue to do my part to help keep it going.

Douglas A. Staunton '90

I give my time because USNA gave me their time. My time there gave me opportunities not available anywhere else. You have to give back when so much is given to you.

LCDR Shane Skopak '05, USN

Great memories! There was that time we went surfing in the wave tank in Rickover. At 1a.m...

CDR Brett Pasiuk '89, USN (Ret.)

Volunteering for my class is an opportunity to work for and set things up for the most incredible people I know. People I look up to, admire and inspire me to be better! I believe in USNA so much. The students there continue to inspire me and other young officers in the fleet. I am grateful for all the opportunities and experiences USNA has provided me and the ability to give back and help make the place even better. This is important for the students and our country.

Capt Ward Scott '15, USMC

I was 17 when I entered the Naval Academy and received a superb education there. I grew up and matured there and then went on to have a long career in the Navy.

CAPT Bruce L. Runberg '64, CEC, USN (Ret.)

I love the Naval Academy, especially the Center for Academic Excellence!

Frederick J. Yeager '63

Cyber Security is the #1 priority towards the safety of our country.

George W. Gorman '66

A big / true challenge in my life was being able to attend the Academy and I remember if I could get through those four years as I did, that I could get through any challenge I would face after graduation. That's how important the Naval Academy was to me.

Donna M. Johnson '89

It was the foundation of my life. The Naval Academy provided me the basis for my character development, my professional development and some of the best friends I've ever had."

Douglas Cotton '62

I appreciate the camaradarie and being able to stay connected.

Lieutenant Alec B. Comito '16, USN

I wish I could do more. The Academy is a great cause and it's needed not just for the military, but for the whole United States.

CAPT Gerald Moran '64, USN (Ret.)

More than 65 years ago, the Academy changed my life. The best thing that ever happened to me was when my Congressman called and said "McCarthy, do you want to go to the Academy"? I started at the Academy, returned as a staff person and went on to run the NROTC program at Perdue. The Academy gave me a code and values I live by to this day.

CAPT Gerald McCarthy '54, USN (Ret.)

My fondest memories were being part of the Navy Sailing Team, out on the Chesapeake Bay. The Annapolis to Newport Race was an incredible experience.

CDR Brian Wittick '84, USN (Ret.)

I graduated with the best class (1968) and enjoyed my time on active duty. The experience set me up for a post active career which I enjoyed. I stayed in the reserves and was afforded opportunities I wouldn’t have had if I went anywhere else.

CAPT Robert E. Lawrence '68, USNR (Ret.)

I am now in the age and stage of fulfilling the last piece of the mission statement about command, citizenship and government. I am grateful to continue that mission of citizenship supporting the Alumni Association. I am very grateful for my classmates from ’91 as we are more connected today then we were during our four years in Bancroft Hall. I am very grateful to be able to lean on classmates for thoughts, ideas and suggestions for getting through this unique time in history.

Evan Barnett `91

I have great memories of both then and now. Since 2008, I've worked the Navy Football 10 yard marker with my classmates from the great Class of 82....Great memories with Ward, Russ, Matt, Gary, and of course, the late Bill Dawson.

CAPT Brian Gawne '82, USN (Ret.)

Why I give back: From one end, the government doesn't fund the Academy to "excellence." So I want to help close the gap to provide the midshipmen the excellence they need to carry out the missions that will be entrusted to them. From the other end, if my work can help the Academy and Alumni, then I feel obligated to put in the effort.

CDR Mark Rupprecht '76, USN (Ret.)

I volunteer my time to talk about the Naval Academy to those who don't know about it. It's important to keep the academy's mission present. As a chapter, we network, socialize and help alumni. We recently helped someone get back on their feet and that's what its all about. It's a sense of belonging.

CDR Turhan Hidalgo '93, USN (Ret.)

The Naval Academy was a great opportunity and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to attend .

Alan Morris '96

Great memories of football games & tailgating with 16th Company...

Bret Royston '08

The Naval Academy gave me a good start and a life long vocation...

Col Alan Ross '83, NYANG (Ret.)

Naval Academy was there for him and wants to continue to support the Naval Academy for future Midshipmen.

LT Alan Thornhill '15, USN

There is an incredible appreciation and sense of gratitude for all that USNA and the AA-Foundation have provided over the years, be it foundational values, familial bonds, unforgettable opportunities and experiences and more. In these challenging times, it seems right to continue connecting, serving and giving back in partnership with all alumni, staff and friends who believe in the missions of these valued institutions and contribute in various ways to make them better. Semper Fi! Go Navy!

Tim Wolf '87

Choosing to attend the Academy remains the best decision that I've made in my professional life. It was on The Yard that I learned the values of honor, courage and commitment and I do my best to live those core values each and every day. I give back to the Academy because I believe I owe it far more than it owes me. I am forever indebted to the institution because of the lessons in leadership that I learned in Annapolis. To this day, graduating from the Academy is my proudest accomplishment.

Donnie Horner '08

My four years at Annapolis totally shaped the rest of my life. Bedrock lessons learned there about leadership - teamwork - service above self - hard work - operating under pressure - time management - self-confidence - have influenced every facet of my life for 45 years. Giving back to an institution that made me what I am today is a joy and a privilege.

RDML Craig Quigley '75, USN (Ret.)

The hard answer is that I was more of a man after my years as a Mid than I was before. I did not enjoy those years and I wasn’t very good as a Mid but I learned. For that I am now very grateful.

LtCol Gordon Gerson '58, USAF (Ret.)

The longer I am away from the Yard, the more I grow in appreciation for the mission the Academy serves, the reason it exists and achievements it accomplishes. The Naval Academy and the other service academies are critical to our country’s future in preparing graduates who will defend its tenets and fill leadership roles in government, business and citizenship. I believe so much in helping it maintain its excellence that I encouraged my daughter to apply. She will graduate with the Class of 2022.

CDR Pete Canalichio '81, USNR (Ret.)