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  POSTED ON: Monday, May 18, 2020 12:20 PM by

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper will give a pre-recorded keynote address to the Naval Academy’s Class of 2020 during the first-ever, virtual graduation and commissioning for the institution.

Esper’s pre-recorded remarks will broadcast during the virtual ceremony Friday, May 22. The event will begin at 2:30 p.m. with a tribute to the Class of 2020, and the ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. EDT.

The virtual graduation and commissioning ceremony will also include recorded segments from the five in-person, swearing-in events being held at the Academy May 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20, as well as remarks from Acting Secretary of the Navy James E. McPherson; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike M. Gilday and Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Robert P. Burke; Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger; Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck; and the USNA Class of 2020 President Midshipman 1st Class Mike Smith. The ceremony will be streamed at: An archived video will be available after the initial broadcast.

In order to comply with current health and safety requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the swearing-in events are closed to all guests, including parents, family members, media and members of the public.

For more information about what the Academy is doing in response to COVID-19, visit


  • The in-person events are not open to media coverage.
  • Imagery of the events will be released and available courtesy USNA, and will be available for download from the homepage, beginning end of the day of each event.
  • Full albums of imagery and video from each in-person event will be available following the May 22 virtual event.       
  • Full video of the individual, in-person events will be available following the virtual event, May 22.

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For more information about the Naval Academy, please visit: or our Facebook page at    

Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service.  More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college.  Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. They also study subjects such as leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, and military law.  Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 25 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.



Category: General Interest, People, Press Releases