This Past Saturday (5/27/23), Vice President Kamala Harris became the 1st woman to deliver the commencement speech at West Point, New York. In the past, United States vice presidents have delivered keynote speeches to graduating classes, including President Joe Biden when he was the vice president. However, in the military academy’s 221-year history, Kamala Harris became the first woman to address the graduating cadets. Approximately 950 men and women participated in the graduation ceremony.
In 2022, Kamala gave the commencement speech to the United States Coast Guard Academy graduates in New London, Connecticut. In 2021, she became the first female keynote speaker at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It is common for the US vice presidents to travel to one of the federal service academies to address the graduates.
Established in 1802, the military academy did not admit women until 1976. In 1977, Congress passed legislation that allowed women to be enrolled in the federal service academies. The first female, Andrea Hollen, graduated in 1980. More than 5,000 women have since graduated from the academy.
Meanwhile, President Biden will deliver this year’s keynote speech on Thursday at the Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.