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Cullum Files

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Class Notes

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West Point Graduation

Congratulations Class of 2021

The Class of 2021, 'Until The Battle Is Won' graduated on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Moments before the ‘Hat Toss’ tradition, complete silence fell over the crowd of families and friends sitting in the stands at Michie Stadium as they looked to First Captain Cadet Reilly McGinnis ’21 to dismiss the class. No one could contain their excitement after nearly a thousand Cadets hats flew into the air and Cadets turned into Old Grads hugging their classmates in celebration.

This year's graduation took place back inside Michie Stadium where the graduation program is traditionally held. Last year the event took place on the plain due to COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols.

Commencement speaker Lloyd James Austin III Class of 1975 and the 28th Secretary of Defense spoke to the soon-to-be 2nd Lieutenants about how he arrived at the United States Military Academy and what he learned that helped him transform into who he is today. This marks his first visit to West Point as Secretary of Defense and his first time as our graduation speaker. “I learned that focus and discipline are really important. I learned the importance of mastering your trade, and above all, I learned the importance of becoming a team member. Lieutenants, on challenging deployments, you will have to work together with your teams to survive and succeed, and this institution excels at instilling exactly that spirit.”

Members of the 50-Year Affiliation Class of 1971 also attended the graduation ceremony and shook hands with each new 'Old Grad' as they gifted the Class of 2021 with 2nd Lieutenant bars when they came off the stage.

You can watch the entire event on YouTube.

Class of 2021 highlights include:

  • 996 Cadets graduated from all 50 states
  • First Captain - Reilly M. McGinnis, Macungie, PA
  • Class President - Katarina E. Christianson, Carver, MN
  • Valedictorian - Justin M. Gittemeier, McDonough GA
  • 70 percent of the class branched combat arms
  • 122 women commissioned into combat arms branches
  • 38 cadets were national scholarship recipients
  • 13 international cadets  (representing Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, South Korea, Liberia, Malaysia (2), Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Taiwan, and Thailand.)
  • 65 cadets earned certification as Master Fitness Trainers
  • 80 children of West Point graduates