Shropshire Star

Harris to become first woman to deliver US Military Academy commencement address

The Vice President will attend the ceremony at West Point on Saturday.


Vice President Kamala Harris is to become the first woman to deliver a commencement address at the US Military Academy, an institution that has made slow progress diversifying its ranks in the four decades since the first class of female cadets graduated.

This year some 950 men and women are expected to take part in the graduation ceremony on Saturday in West Point, New York.

While Ms Harris visits West Point, about 60 miles north of Manhattan, President Joe Biden is to head to Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday to address graduates at the US Air Force Academy.

Vice presidents typically travel to one of the federal service academies to address graduating classes. Ms Harris’ visit will be her first to the US Army academy.

Today, about a quarter of the student body are women. Only a few dozen graduates each year are black women, like Ms Harris, though the number has increased in recent years.

The academy did not admit women until 1976 and had its first female graduates in 1980.

West Point dates to 1802. Since then, the college has educated future military leaders including General Douglas MacArthur, General George Patton and presidents Ulysses S Grant and Dwight D Eisenhower.

Upon graduation, the cadets will be commissioned as Army second lieutenants.

Last year, Mr Harris addressed graduates at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. The year before, she spoke at commencement ceremonies for the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

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