Distinguished Graduate Award

Recognizing exceptional graduates

The Distinguished Graduate Award recognizes exceptional graduates who have set themselves apart by making extraordinarily significant contributions to our nation and/or their communities. It is a unique honor bestowed by the U.S. Air Force Academy and its Association of Graduates, recognizing graduates whose accomplishments are inspirational and elevate the reputation and the standing of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Distinguished Graduates should provide an example to all graduates and cadets of the standards that we value and of the abilities that have made our country and society great.

Award Winners

Col. (Ret.) Leonard “Lucky” Ekman ’63 Dr. William Wecker ’63
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Eugene Lupia ’67
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jay Kelley '64 Mr. Hugh Williamson III '64
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ron Sega '74 Col. (Ret.) Gail Benjamin Colvin '80
Col. (Ret.) Leslie Denend '63 Mr. Fletcher “Flash” Wiley '65
Gen. (Ret.) Norton “Norty” Schwartz '73 Gen. (Ret.) Edward Rice Jr. '78
Mr. John “Jack” Kucera '78  
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Edward R. Jayne II '66 Col. (Ret.) Dr. H. Michael Lambert '70
Gen. (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III '76 Brig. Gen. (Ret.) John C. Inglis '76
John Fox '63 T. Allan McArtor '64
Gen. (Ret.) Steve Lorenz '73
Gen. (Ret.) George Lee Butler '61 Gen. (Ret.) Charles R. Holland '68
Mr. R. David Yost '69 Col. (Ret.) Gary E. Payton '71
Gen. (Ret.) Gregory “Speedy” Martin '70 Paul Madera '78
Dr. Thomas J. Eller '61 Gen. (Ret.) Kevin P. Chilton '76
Mr. A. Bart Holaday '65 Gen. (Ret) William R. "Bill" Looney III '72
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Marcus A. Anderson '61 Mr. Edward E. "Ted" Legasey '67
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Ruben A. Cubero '61 Mr. Richard D. McConn '66
Mr. Max F. James '64 Gen. (Ret.) Ralph E.Eberhart '68
Gen. (Ret.) John Michael Loh '60 Honorable Heather A. Wilson '82
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Donald Shepperd '62 Mr. John Martinson '70
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ervin Rokke '62 Gregg Popovich '70
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Robert D. Beckel '59 Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Edward J. Mechenbier '64
Gen. (Ret.) H.T. Johnson '59 Gen. (Ret.) Michael E. Ryan '65
Col. (Ret.) Frederick Gregory '64 Gen. (Ret.) Ronald W. Yates '60
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Bradley C. Hosmer '59 Mr. Richard T. Schlosberg '65
Dr. Paul G. Kaminski '64 Gen. (Ret.) Robert C. Oaks '59
Gen. (Ret.) Ronald Fogleman '63 Mr. Harry J. Pearce, '64

Nomination Process

The Distinguished Graduate Award is presented annually. Nomination packages are due to the AOG no later than the 30 November of each year. Packets for the 2023 DG Class open in August 2023. The award dinner will be held in the third weekend of August each year.

Packages should focus on the three overall categories judges consider when evaluating the nominee's achievements: a lifetime of service to the nation; favorably promoting the Air Force Academy and its graduates; and promoting and increasing awareness of graduate heritage among alumni and cadets.

While the selection criteria for this award are extremely demanding and the competition is keen, we need the assistance of every graduate to identify deserving candidates for evaluation. Non-graduates are also encouraged to submit nominations. This is our opportunity to recognize our own while identifying those who can serve as an inspiration to future generations of America's leaders.

As summer approaches check back for more tips on how to write an exceptional package.

Nominations for 2023 must be submitted electronically. Check in August 2023 for the link.

For questions please reach out to Michele Bergeman

Academy Heritage

Southeast Asia Pavilion

The pavilion along the Heritage Trail has already become a major point of interest for the Academy ...