The History of the West Point Society of Greater Houston
In 1958 Bob Pine '45, Charlie Robinson '46, and Jim Giles '44 founded the West Point Society of Houston. BG R. C. Kuldell '12 was elected the first president. BG Kuldell had served in WWI and WWII, had worked for Hughes Tool between the wars and became a rancher following WWII. He was the oldest graduate in Houston and made his large home near Rice University and his ranch south of Houston available for Society functions.
During the early '60s, the Society established the now traditional luncheon meeting. The Army - Navy game party became a Society function as did the Founder's Day Banquet. The Society also established athletic recruiting programs, high school contact programs and job placement programs for alumni, all of which have been maintained to the present. A particularly unique program begun in these early years was a special small risk capital pool for the benefit of Society members. With capital received from the pool, a Society member founded Olympic Geophysical. The company was later sold to Dresser Industries at a substantial profit to all who had contributed to this capital pool.
During the late '60s and into the '70s, the Society felt the effect of the Vietnam conflict and a difficult economy. Membership waned but a cadre of loyal Society members worked hard to keep the Society alive and active. The focus of the Society shifted from social and professional support for each member to support of USMA within the Houston community, particularly within the area of recruiting quality cadet candidates for entry into the Academy. The Society during this time established its reputation with the AOG as a Society capable of consistently providing superior candidates to USMA.
As the '80s began, the Society underwent a significant reorganization and its present management structure was born. The first By-Laws were written in 1981 and a Board of Directors was established. One of the largest Society events in the early '80s was the promotion of USMA Glee Club trips to Houston. As a matter of note, during one such Glee Club visit approximately $125,000 was raised for Texas Children's Hospital. Also during this period, the Society's By-invitational program was created. The '80s were keynoted in its history as a period when the Society's servicing area expanded to the present size and the word "Greater" was added to its name, membership numbers began to increase significantly, and the first Directory was published.
As the '90s dawned, the Society was a healthy USMA alumni organization with a vibrant membership. The Directory has taken on new meaning as a business as well as social tool; additional social activities for the membership have been designed and implemented; and significant efforts continued to be made in promoting USMA among high school students to the point where some 30 to 40 new cadets now enter USMA from the Greater Houston area each year. The '90s have been characterized as an era wherein the Society seeks to maintain its national prominence as one of the premier USMA alumni organizations within the AOG's family of Societies while increasing its efforts to promote professional and social relationships among its many members. In addition, through its offices and individual member efforts, the Society continues to seek out new ways and means of support for the continued enhancement of the US Military Academy and the Society's collective membership in an efficient, cost effective and productive manner.
In 1994, the West Point Association of Graduates began accepting applications for a newly created Distinguished Society Award to be conferred in 1995. The framework of this first application was modeled on the achievements of our own West Point Society of Greater Houston. The WPSGH won the DSA that year and every year since, and in 2015 celebrated the receipt of its 20th DSA.