The 56th Superintendent On West Point As A National Treasure

William J. Lennox


LTG(R) William J. Lennox graduated from West Point in 1971 as a Field Artillery Officer. He attributes his decision to attend the Military Academy to the influence of his grandfather, a career Naval Officer with 48 years of service. He felt that he owed service to the nation, and entered West Point during the Vietnam War. As a junior officer, he learned that it is acceptable to make good mistakes as long as you learn from them, and that every organization has a tempo that must be understood in order to get the most out of subordinates without decreasing their performance. He served as an aide-de-camp early in his career, and learned to get as elevated a perspective as possible when you are not in command so that when you are commanding, you understand how the Army operates above your level. He received a PhD from Princeton, and returned to West Point to teach in the English Department from 1979 to 1982. He then served in Germany, as a White House Fellow with the Department of Education, and at the Pentagon. In 2001, he was appointed the 56th Superintendent at West Point, and had just begun that assignment when the United States was attacked on September 11th, 2001. That event changed many of the ways in which West Point operated on a day-to-day basis. He was also in charge of executing the bicentennial celebration of the Military Academy, including events planned by the Association of Graduates, and sought to update the Academic, Physical, and Military programs while supporting the force with leaders in various fields to keep West Point at the cutting edge. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his West Point experiences, and his service in the Army. He provides lessons he learned as a junior officer, and discusses how they shaped his career. He reflects on his time as Superintendent, highlighting some of the initiatives he led during his time at West Point. He explains his involvement with the honor code, and how the honor system had evolved since he was a Cadet. Finally, he reflects on what West Point means to our country and the American people.


name William J. Lennox
institution USMA
graduation year 1971
service Field Artillery
unit 20th Field Artillery; Department of English; 5th Battalion 29th Field Artillery; 24th Infantry Division
specialty Superintendent
service dates 1971 2006