Vice President Kamala Harris will ship the keynote speech at West Level’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, making her the primary lady to present a graduation handle within the navy academy’s 221-year historical past.
“We’re honored to have the Vice President as our graduation speaker,” mentioned West Level’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Steven W. Gilland, in a press release. “As an completed chief who has achieved important milestones all through her profession, we look ahead to her inspiring remarks to our cadets.”
Historically, vice presidents have delivered the graduation speech to graduating lessons at U.S. navy academies.
Final 12 months, Harris gave the graduation handle to U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates, and in 2021, she turned the first feminine graduation speaker on the U.S. Naval Academy.
President Biden, in the meantime, is ready to talk at this 12 months’s U.S. Air Drive Academy commencement. Earlier this month, he spoke at Howard College’s graduation ceremony.
As vp, Biden delivered West Level’s graduation speech in 2016.
When requested why it is taken so lengthy for a lady to function graduation speaker, a West Level spokesperson solely mentioned that the function often rotates amongst senior management throughout the academy’s chain of command, which incorporates the president, vp, secretary of protection and the chairman of the joint chiefs.
Traditionally, males have largely held these senior positions in authorities. Though deputy secretaries of protection have delivered graduation addresses at West Level prior to now, Kathleen Hicks — who turned the primary feminine deputy protection secretary in 2021 — has not but spoken on the college’s graduation.
As for the college itself, girls did not begin attending West Level till 1976 — a 12 months after Congress handed laws that allowed girls to enroll on the federal service academies. In 1980, Andrea Hollen turned the first of 62 pioneering girls to graduate from West Level. Since then, greater than 5,000 girls have graduated from the navy academy.