Denny Cresap ’52 received Morgan Park Academy’s highest award for alumni, the Richard L. Duchossois ’40 Integrity and Values Alumni Award, at our 143rd graduation exercises on June 11, 2016.
Returning to campus six decades after his graduation from Morgan Park Military Academy, Cresap brought with him a lifetime of professional achievement and service to his community and country that distinguishes him among his fellow alumni.
“This award, I have to say, was unexpected,” Cresap said. “And not just because I never expected to find myself on a list of Morgan Park alumni prestigious enough to receive the Duchossois Award. But also because — well, let’s face it — it’s been 64 years since I graduated and it’s a little surprising to be remembered after that long!
“But what an honor. Thank you so much. I truly am humbled.”
The Duchossois Award is given annually in recognition of its namesake’s lifetime achievements, outstanding professional success, and service to the Academy, his community, and society. Previous recipients are Duchossois, U.S. Ambassador Al Hoffman Jr. ’52, Spencer Stuart ’40, Bill Hickey ’71, and Jim Mitchell ’61.
“It was wonderful to welcome Mr. Cresap back to campus,” said Head of School Mercedes Z. Sheppard P’21, ’25. “His sterling character as a business leader and his lifelong service sets a tremendous example for the Class of 2016 and all of our students.”
Cresap served three years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant First Class, before moving to Oklahoma and building a small local beer distributorship into one of the 25 largest Anheuser-Busch distributorships in the world.
Through his family foundation and a variety of local organizations, Cresap is committed to service that improves the lives of Oklahomans and beyond, focusing especially on support of youth and families, health and wellness, education, arts and humanities, and animal welfare issues.
“Being recognized by this award is special to me on a deeply personal level. And not just because the Academy made such a big difference in my life — which it did. But also because of the special relationship I had with the man the award is named after.”
When Cresap was a boy, he knew Duchossois as the boyfriend and then the husband of “my favorite babysitter,” Beverly Thrall. Cresap’s parents were close friends with Art and Mildred Thrall P’45, the parents of Beverly and Jerome Thrall ’45.
“Two years before I started at the Academy in 1948,” Cresap said, “Richard Duchossois set the gold standard of achievement for a Morgan Park graduate when he returned from five European campaigns in World War II with two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.
“Richard was an inspiration to all us back then. And I would hope he continues to be an inspiration to graduates for as long as there is a Morgan Park Academy.”