Seventeen foreign exchange students also graduated from the academy today, hailing from Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Georgia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Montenegro, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. These officers will return to serve in their home countries' militaries.
U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter addressed the Class of 2017 about the momentous occasion.
“You are joining a long and storied lineage,” said Carter. He referenced the Class of 1917 who a century ago graduated early to join the fight in World War I.
He also spoke about the Class of 1967 who 50 years ago graduated and went on to fight in Vietnam, returning home to civil unrest.
“Still they sacrificed, still they endured,” said Carter. “This legacy of selfless service continues today with the Class of 2017.”
Carter went on to talk about the academic and athletic prowess of the graduating class.
Six midshipmen received prestigious graduate scholarships, including one Rhodes Scholarship, one Truman Scholarship, one Gates Cambridge Scholarship, one Fulbright Scholarship and two Schwarzman Scholarships.
The Naval Academy varsity sports record for the 2016-2017 academic year is 306-184-6.
In just its second season in a conference, Navy football won the AAC West Division title after sharing the division crown with Houston in its first year. Specifically, Navy’s senior class finished with a 37-16 (.698) record, the most wins by a class over a four-year period.
Eight Navy teams made it to the 2017 NCAA Apr Honors List.
The Navy women’s lacrosse team recently beat #2-ranked UNC and will play Boston College tonight in their first Final Four.
The midshipmen also excelled on the community service front, giving approximately 25,000 volunteer hours to the local and national community. More than 500 midshipmen were involved in the Midshipman Action Group, which organizes more than 50 service projects throughout the academic year.
“I can state one indisputable fact: the Class of 2017 is prepared,” said Carter. “You are ready to join our Navy and Marine Corps team, to lead fight and win.”
Guest speaker Vice President Michael Pence agreed.
“Today you’ll become leaders in the world’s greatest force for good,” said Pence. “All of you who do so are patriots. You’re the pride of your family, and you’re the pride of the American people. You’re the best of us.”
Pence encouraged the graduates to mentally write their own story, then “go live it.”
“Trust your training, and the principles you learned here, and you’ll have success. Remember that character is destiny,” he said. “Be men and women of integrity.”
“You bear the burden with honor, courage and commitment,” Pence continued. “All of you will be called to duty. Always remember you follow in the wake of heroes.”