Most diverse class in academy's history graduates from West Point
A record-breaking 34 African American women graduated from the United States Military Academy Saturday.
The class of 2019 is also graduating with its 5,000th female cadet. The first class of women graduated from the academy in 1980.
Vice President Mike Pence delivered West Point's commencement speech, saying, “I could not be more proud to stand before the graduating class of 2019 that includes the highest number of African American women cadets in the history of the United States Military Academy.”
Over 980 cadets graduated this year.
West Point also graduated its 1,000th Jewish cadet. The first international student to graduate from West Point is from the Netherlands.
Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno pushed the academy in 2013 to increase its efforts to diversify.
"It meant that we definitely had to reach out and include one another, but also reach out to people who are unlike us and lean on them as well because diversity means nothing without inclusion,” said graduate Tania Nash.
The Academy's Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams is the first African American to head the service academy.
Two fallen cadets and a second lieutenant were also honored at the event.