Horatio Alger Association Announces Former U.S. Marine Colonel Vance L. Cryer as Its First-Ever Scholar to be Inducted as a Lifetime Member 

October 9, 2018

McKenna Young
484-385-2913 (office)
[email protected]

Horatio Alger Association Announces Former U.S. Marine Colonel Vance L. Cryer as Its First-Ever Scholar to be Inducted as a Lifetime Member 
For the first time in its 71-year history, the nonprofit organization will induct an Alumni Scholar into its prestigious Member Class of 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 9, 2018) – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, has selected former U.S. Marine Colonel Vance L. Cryer, Director of Operations and Experimentation at IOMAXISfor membership in the well-respected organization. This special announcement was made on Saturday evening during a gala event and concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which closed the Annual Membership and Board of Directors Meeting.

This marks a significant moment for the Association, as never before has a former recipient of the Horatio Alger Scholarship been inducted as a lifetime Member. Since 1947, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admired leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversities and are passionate about higher education and philanthropy.  The Association’s Scholarship program was established in 1984 to extend the Association’s mission and impact. In its nearly 35 years, the Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $143 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.  

Col. Cryer embodies the Association’s mission, reaffirming that through hard work, resilience and support from others, the American Dream can be achieved by all who seek it. He will be joined by 11 other esteemed business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America during the Association’s 72nd Annual Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C on April 2-4, 2019.  The three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs. The full class of 2019 will be announced in December. 

“This is a tremendous moment for the Association as Vance’s life story is one to be admired and celebrated,” said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “Despite the challenges he has faced, Vance exemplifies the Association’s belief that higher education is a springboard to success in one’s life. We could not be prouder to induct him as an Association Member, and we are confident that he will continue to positively impact the lives of our Scholars just as he has as an engaged Alumni Scholar for so many years.”

Born in 1968 in Fort Worth, Texas, Col. Vance Cryer’s parents – neither of whom graduated from high school –divorced at a young age, creating an unstable home environment. Given these challenges, eventually Col. Cryer’s grandparents assumed primary care of him and his two older siblings, instilling in him the value of a dollar and the work ethic necessary to survive.

He used football as his “suit of emotional armor” as a young man and his motivation to pursue college.   While intending to join the U.S. Marine Corps immediately after high school graduation, he found himself working as an office aid for the dean of students during his senior year.  She saw his potential and encouraged him to apply for the Horatio Alger Scholarship. Shortly before he was to sign papers to join the U.S. Marines, W.W. “Foots” Clements, Horatio Alger Member and former chairman and CEO of Dr. Pepper, visited Col. Cryer’s high school to present him with a Horatio Alger Scholarship. 

Col. Cryer went on to attend the University of Texas, Arlington, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. After graduating in 1991, he began his military career, which would extend to 27 years of active service including multiple squadron tours as a Weapons and Tactics Instructor, serving as an exchange officer with the UK Royal Air Force, completing six combat tours in Iraq and nine deployments, six of which were with the Marine Expeditionary Units. In September 2013, he was promoted to Colonel and the following year was in command of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Pendleton in California. In his most recent role, Col. Cryer served as the Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant for the Commanding General of Marine Corps Combat Development Command and the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration. Earlier this year, Col. Cryer retired from the military and now serves as Director of Operations and Experimentation at IOMAXIS, a technology company that develops innovative solutions in communications, cloud computing, and cyber.  He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife, Juli; together they have three children. 

“I am honored to be inducted as a lifetime Member into an organization that provides such meaningful support to deserving students,” said Col. Cryer. “Receiving the Horatio Alger Scholarship was one of the first moments I ever felt the power of someone investing in me… and believing in me. To be recognized at this point in my life, alongside so many successful men and women in our country, is humbling. I’m so grateful to the Association and its leadership for selecting me as the first Alumni Scholar to join the ranks of Membership and I will pay it forward to Scholars – who have tremendous potential and simply need a helping hand.”

Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students on an annual basis who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges.

“To have an Alumni Scholar become a Member was one of the great dreams of Foots Clements and John W. Rollins, Sr. when they championed the launch of the Association Scholarship Program in 1984,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association.  “This moment is a culmination of their vision and the generous support we have received from our Members, Life Partners and Friends of Distinction over the past three decades.  Our collective pride in Col. Cryer is immense, and while he may be the first Alumni Scholar to receive this honor, undoubtedly, others will join him in the future.  We look forward to formally celebrating his induction in April 2019.”  

For more information about Horatio Alger Association, please visit www.horatioalger.org and/or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans: 
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2017, the Association awarded more than $18 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada, and also provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $143 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.