HomePoliticsAt West Point, Vice President Harris makes history as the first woman...

At West Point, Vice President Harris makes history as the first woman to give an opening address

NEW YORK (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris will become the first woman on Saturday to deliver a commencement speech at the U.S. Military Academy, an institution that has made slow strides in diversifying its ranks in the four decades since the first batch of female cadets graduated .

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

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

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

Today, about a quarter of the student population is female. Only a few dozen graduates each year are black women, like 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.

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West Point dates back to 1802. Since then, the college has trained 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, Harris addressed graduates of 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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