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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the United States Military Academy (USMA)?
As one of the world's preeminent, four-year leader development institutions, West Point's mission is to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country. The student body, or Corps of Cadets, numbers 4,400 and each year approximately 1,000 cadets join the “Long Gray Line” as they graduate and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. 
What is the McDonald Cadet Leadership Conference (MCLC)?
The McDonald Cadet Leadership Conference is the premier transforma­tive leadership experience for young, emerging global leaders. Top undergraduate student leaders will unite together with preeminent world leaders in a lifelong part­nership. These leaders from diverse backgrounds par­ticipate in teams to solve critical world problems in an exercise that bolsters leadership skills, fosters critical thinking and collaboration, and allows the leaders to develop solu­tions to problems with strategic global implications.
How are MCLC and USMA connected?
The United States Military Academy and Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. McDonald Cadet Leadership Conference are united in promoting the development of leaders of character. In our complex world, critical thinking and character are essential to solving complex real world problems today. The leaders are or will be in charge of our media, healthcare, conflict resolutions, education, the environment, and the global economy. These decisions control the course of world events and make today’s break through discoveries and accomplishments into tomorrow’s history.
What should I pack?
We recommend that you pack, at the minimum, business casual attire (x2 or 3 days), casual wear for evenings and free time, exercise clothes if you so desire, a binder and notebook for the conference, and any toiletries or other personal items you choose—like a camera or laptop.
What should I wear?
The attire is business casual during the day. There is the potential for social activities at night, for which the attire is casual. For men: business casual means slacks with a dress shirt; tie and jacket are optional. Casual here is khakis or a nice pair of jeans, a collared shirt (polo, button down) or sweater. For women: business casual means either slacks or a skirt (no shorter than knee length) with closed-toe shoes, a button down shirt, blouse, or sweater. Casual on post is khakis or a nice pair of jeans, and shirt that covers the shoulders (blouses, sweaters, etc.).
What is the weather like?
The weather in New York in early October is usually around 65 Fahrenheit (18 Celsius) during the day with lows at night around 48 Fahrenheit (9 Celsius), but prepare for rain. Check the weather forecast about a week or so out; we will post the weather on our website and Facebook page so you can make your best guess. Regardless of the forecast, you should bring a jacket in case it is cold, and at least one warm-weather outfit in case it is unseasonably warm.
Where will I stay and who will I room with?
You will room with another conference attendee at the Thayer Hotel on post. Please refer to the brochure or feel free to Google the hotel. Unfortunately, we cannot arrange roommates by choice, but the hotel is conducive to spending time with your friends. You will find out your specific roommate upon arrive at the hotel.
Where is the conference located at West Point?
All conference activities at West Point are within walking distance of each other. A bus will transport you from the Thayer Hotel to the conference area every morning and evening. Most conference activities will be held in U.S. Military Academy library, Jefferson Hall, to include panels and keynote speakers in the Haig Room and breakout sessions with your team in various conference rooms throughout the library.  A few other activities will be held in other academic buildings to include Thayer Hall and Mahan Hall, all within walking distance, and in close proximity to the Mess Hall for various meals with the Corps of Cadets.  You can see pictures of Jefferson Hall here:,
What food will there be?
All meals will be provided for you; please inform us if you have specific dietary needs and we will accommodate you (Kosher, Halal, Vegetarian, etc.). Snacks and drinks will be provided between events, and there will be an opportunity to eat one meal in the Cadet Mess Hall.
Where will I park?
Parking is available at the Thayer Hotel and at Buffalo Soldier Field, next to the hotel.  
Who should I contact when I arrive?
A West Point representative will be on-site to welcome you when you arrive at the Thayer Hotel.  If you are arriving by train or plane, then a representative will be waiting for you at the train station or airport when you arrive.  We will then transport you to West Point by vehicle.
What will the day be like?
Your day will be filled with scheduled, conference events. Breakfast will be provided at 0630 and conference activities will begin at 0800. The conference activities will include panel discussions and then time to work in small teams with your mentor guidance. Expect to be in conference until approximately 2000, or 8:00pm, each night. After the conference, we will have social events or free time, which you can spend with attendees in various locations.
How much money should I bring?
All meals will be provided for you. While snacks will be provided between most events, any additional food that you may desire or souvenirs can also be purchased at various locations.  We estimate that $50 should be enough to cover additional needs or merchandise, but use your discretion and bring an appropriate amount. The United States Military Academy is not responsible for lost money or merchandise.
Are there West Point stores to go to?
Yes, the Cadet Store sells West Point paraphernalia, snacks, and drinks. There is also a gift shop open to the public, and a bookstore in Thayer Hall, our main academic building. These shops also sell snacks and various Academy memorabilia.
Are there fees?
There are not fees for those attending the conference.  All lodging and food will be provided.
When should I get there?
Registration is from 1400-1800 (2pm-6pm) on Thursday, 17 October 2013 at the Thayer Hotel at West Point.  Transportation will be provided from LaGuardia, Newark, JFK, and Stewart International Airports for those flying in and from Penn Station for those taking the train. 
Will we interact with cadets?
Yes, West Point is nominating cadets to attend the conference. You will be working with cadets as well as with students from other schools throughout the conference, and you are encouraged to network and mingle with both.
How are we moving around at the conference?
Transportation will be provided to/from the hotel at the beginning and end of each day; it is about a 20 minute walk if you choose to make it. The conference buildings are within 5 minutes’ walk of each other, and any other locations you may choose to visit—tourist attractions such as Trophy Point or Kosciuszko’s Garden, or the Cadet Chapel—are within 10 minutes’ walk of the conference buildings.
Who is Mr. McDonald?
Mr. Robert A. McDonald is a West Point graduate (1975) and the Retiring Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of Procter & Gamble Company, as well as an Independent Director of Xerox Corporation. He graduated West Point with a B.S. in Engineering, and served as an officer in the U. S. Army to the rank of Captain, and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at the end of an honorable military career. By this time, he had earned his MBA from the University of Utah (1978). In 1980, he started working for Proctor & Gamble, and was promoted from within the company, being elected President and Chief Executive in 2009, and assuming the responsibilities of Chairman of the board in 2010. He and his wife, Diane, have created this conference in order to support and nurture the next generation of global leaders. They have been extremely generous with their time, energy and dedication to the personal growth of young leaders tackling the world’s issues.
What is West Point?
The United States Military Academy at West Point, founded in 1802, is the nation’s oldest and leading service academy. Cadets spend four years at the academy, undergoing rigorous academic, physical, and military tests, as well as developing their leadership among their peers, and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army. Located on the site of an historic, Revolutionary War fortress, West Point is a national monument to the members of the United States Army and the site of excellent military training, attended by cadets from ROTC programs around the country as well as many cadets from foreign military academies. The Corps of Cadets is about 4,400 strong, and graduates 1,000 to 1,100 second lieutenants each May.
What is MCLC?
The McDonald Cadet Leadership Conference, or MCLC, is an international conference for young leaders, from the nation’s premier institutions as well as international colleges and universities selected for their academic prowess, and mentors, our VIPs, who are the forerunners in their fields. We are extremely fortunate to have these men and women participating, and they will run the small groups, in which the attendees will take advantage of their expertise and struggle with real-world problems. Their interaction will drive the development of a tentative solution to the real world problems they are presented with, and also establish mutually supportive, lifelong relationships among rising leaders and their mentors.  During the conference we hope to promote and inculcate ethics based leadership into the global mainstream, and also to increase student self awareness on leadership characteristics and competencies. Each group will create a proposal, a final, polished product, to present to the conference at its conclusion.
Who is planning and executing the conference?
Mr. McDonald is the founder of the conference, which is hosted by the Academy’s Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. The team of officers that are coordinating the conference includes Major Robert “Brett” Lanier, Major Lou Nemec, and Major Mike Erwin.  These officers are instructors in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point and are assisting a cadet staff that is planning and executing this conference in order to bolster their own leadership skills.

Why are we here?
The mission of the McDonald Cadet Leadership Conference is for “top undergraduate student leaders from diverse backgrounds to participate in team-based, problem-solving exercises that bolster leadership skills, foster critical thinking and collaboration while developing a solution to problems with strategic global implications.” Participants from the top universities and colleges from the United States and around the world will engage in an interactive, interdisciplinary, transformative leadership development experience.  Their interaction will drive the development of a tentative solution to the real world problems they are presented with, and also establish mutually supportive, lifelong relationships among rising leaders and their mentors.  During the conference, we hope to promote and inculcate ethics based leadership into the global mainstream and to increase student self-awareness on leadership characteristics and competencies.