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Garrison Holt Davidson

Garrison Holt Davidson



Garrison Holt Davidson (1904–1992)
CLASS OF 1927

When Major General Davidson returned to West Point in 1956 as superintendent, his reputation as the academy’s successful prewar football coach and an outstanding soldier in both World War II and Korea preceded him. Having just spent two years leading the army’s Command and General Staff College, he firmly believed that a changing world demanded major changes at West Point. Politically astute and well informed, he became the academy’s most successful academic reformer since Sylvanus Thayer.

Davidson’s foremost achievement was introducing electives to the curriculum. No longer would all cadets follow exactly the same program. He also revitalized the honor code, de-emphasizing football and promoting athletic participation by all cadets. Four years was not enough. His offer to forgo a third star and stay for another term to finish what he had begun was not accepted, but others carried on the school’s continuing transformation. Electives made it possible, a little more than two decades later, for West Point to offer optional majors to cadets.



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Creighton Williams Abrams Jr.




Key Figures






Garrison Holt Davidson
Garrison Holt Davidson
1904–1992
Class of 1927



Creighton Williams Abrams Jr.
Creighton Williams Abrams Jr.
1914–1974
Class of 1936



Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr.
Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr.
1912–2002
Class of 1936





Smithsonian National Museum of American History


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West Point in History Introduction 1802–1860 1861–1870 1866–1914 1914–1918 Epilogue Introduction 1802–1860 1861–1870 1866–1914 1914–1918 Epilogue Restoring the Academy The Class the Stars Fell On Making the Modern Academy Class of 1980