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Biden to speak at Coast Guard Academy commencement

Biden spoke to graduates at USCGA when he was Vice President in 2013
Credit: AP
Vice President Joe Biden gestures during commencement for the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

NEW LONDON, Conn. — President Joe Biden will speak at the commencement exercises for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy later this month. 

The academy made the announcement Monday morning. 

Biden will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday, May 19. This will be the president's first trip to the state since taking office. Biden addressed a graduating class at the Academy as Vice-President in 2013.

“We are honored to host the Commander-in-Chief as we celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2021, the future leaders of the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Academy Superintendent Rear Adm. Bill Kelly. “It will be a memorable event for our community, as well as a great opportunity to showcase the Academy and the city of New London on a national stage.”

Officials said, "The 140th Commencement Exercises are scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. on Cadet Memorial Field. The event is not open to the public. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the number of guests will be greatly reduced, and masking requirements and social distancing measures will be in place."

Inclement weather plans call for the graduation to be held in Leamy Hall Auditorium, where seating will be limited. The event will be available for viewing at: https://uscga.live/commencement2021

New London Mayor Michael Passero says the city is looking forward to the President's visit. 

“It's exciting the city very used to hosting the President of the United States generally the President comes every four years,” Said Mayor Passero. "Both our Police Chief and our Fire Chief were here for years ago when the last president came to the graduation so they’re used to it. We work with the Secret Service."

President John Kennedy accepted an invite to speak in May 1964. He would have been the first president to speak at commencement, but he was killed in November 1963. President Lyndon Johnson spoke in his place. Previously, other presidents, such as Harry Truman, had delivered addresses on campus but not at graduation.

President Richard Nixon, who gave very few commencement speeches, did not speak at the Coast Guard Academy graduation. Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter did not speak either.

President Ronald Reagan spoke to graduates in 1988. His successor, George H.W. Bush spoke in 1989.

President Bill Clinton spoke to the classes of 1996 and 2000.

President George W. Bush spoke at the commencement in 2003 and 2007.

President Barack Obama spoke in 2011 and 2015.

The last president to speak at graduation was Donald Trump in 2017.

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