150 150 The Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army

Military Academy Class Sponsors Bench

Cadets from the USMA Class of 1950 celebrate.

Members of the West Point Military Academy Class of 1950 have come together to sponsor an exterior bench at the National Museum of the United States Army (NMUSA). The sponsorship comes following a brief campaign—just
under a month—to raise the prerequisite $10,000 for a bench to be placed on the Museum’s campus. To date, the total amount has significantly surpassed this initial goal.

Driving the mission is Colonel Bill DeGraf (USARet.), Chairman of the Class of 1950’s Board of Governors, who, having heard about bench sponsorship opportunities at the Museum, thought one would be an appropriate memorial for him and his classmates. He proposed raising  funds for the bench sponsorship to his fellow board members who enthusiastically agreed with the idea. DeGraf explained, “The Class of 1950 has been a part of a lot of the Army’s history as many of its members served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Having a bench on the Museum campus to remind future generations of our service is an appropriate memorial.”

Colonel Bill DeGraf (USA-Ret.) as a cadet at West Point in 1950.

They quickly reached their goal after the endeavor was announced on the class website and calls to action were sent out. “We were really impressed with how quickly the West Point Class of 1950 reached their goal to sponsor a bench,” remarked Kathleen Holt, AHF’s Associate Director, Donor and Member Programs. “It shows how tight-knit this group continues to be after all these years.”

DeGraf made a point to note that contributions were made not only by his fellow classmates but by the widows and family members of classmates. “We’ve lost a fair number of our members over the years so the donations made by loved ones were really touching,” DeGraf explained. “Together we wanted to make sure all the members of our class were remembered at the Museum site.”

For more information on exterior benches and other sponsorship opportunities, contact Kathleen Holt at kathleen.holt@armyhistory.org or (703) 562-4174.

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