Skip to comments.Bush To Speak At Coast Guard Academy Commencement (Connecticut)
Posted on 05/13/2003 12:57:52 PM PDT by areafiftyone
New London The White House has confirmed that President Bush will be the speaker at the 122nd commencement exercises for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on May 21.
This is a special class because it's the first one to graduate under the Department of Homeland Security, so we're very pleased that the president will be here, said Cmdr.-select Glenn M. Sulmasy. It's perfect timing.
In addition, he noted, the president and his family have been big supporters of the Coast Guard, so it's particularly pleasing to have the president here.
Sulmasy said the last-minute confirmation would not mean any particular rush of activity because the service school always makes a production out of commencement.
We always go the extra mile for commencement because it means so much for the families and the students who have spent four years of their life here, Sulmasy said. But it certainly makes it that much more special to have the commander-in-chief here for the ceremony.
Most people involved with the ceremony are praying for fair weather because when the president speaks there is always a larger turnout.
President Clinton spoke at the academy for commencement in May 2000, and in normal circumstances the president would rotate among the four service academies, meaning the academy would have come up next year.
Bush spoke at the U.S. Naval Academy in 2001 and the U.S. Military Academy last year. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta was the keynote speaker at the academy both those years because the Coast Guard fell under the Department of Transportation until March.
But Sulmasy noted that President Reagan was commencement speaker here in 1988, followed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989. The elder Bush also was a speaker at the academy when he was vice president, in 1983.
White House officials were unavailable to comment on whether the scandal at the U.S. Air Force Academy had anything to do with the decision for the president to speak in New London a year early.
Commencement week begins Saturday with a number of events, including a moonlight cruise for the graduates. Sunday there will be a baccalaureate service in the Memorial Chapel and an evening parade at the Washington Parade Ground.
Monday will feature a parent/cadet golf tournament, drill competition and a softball game between the officers and graduates. Tuesday there will be an awards luncheon, and that evening, the commencement dinner and commencement ball.
Graduation day will feature a commencement parade at 8:30 a.m. and the graduation ceremony at 11 a.m. on Nitchman Memorial Field, or in Leamy Hall Auditorium in the event of rain.