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House Honors Historic First at Coast Guard Academy

On July 22, the House approved, by voice vote, H. Res. 1214, a resolution honoring Ensign DeCarol Davis as the first African American woman to serve as the valedictorian of the Coast Guard Academy.

Sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the resolution contains a number of findings, including:

  • Ensign DeCarol Davis is the first African American woman to serve as the valedictorian of the Coast Guard Academy;
  • she was the 2004 high school valedictorian of Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, Virginia;
  • throughout her four years at the Coast Guard Academy, Ensign Davis made a significant impact on her community through outreach programs; for example she directed a play that introduced engineering as a career to students from a local elementary school;
  • the Coast Guard Academy has few minorities within the cadet population;
  • on April 24, 2008, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 2830, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2008, which included several provisions to improve the diversity of the Coast Guard Academy; and
  • Ensign Davis gave her valedictorian address on May 21, 2008.The resolution also encourages the Coast Guard to seek diverse candidates for the cadet corps at the Coast Guard Academy and to continue to train graduate cadets of a quality that the Coast Guard needs to fulfill each of its missions.

    Rep. Thompson stated, “On May 21, 2008, Ensign Davis graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with a grade point average of 3.96 in electrical engineering. She earned the distinction of being the first African American valedictorian of the Coast Guard Academy…The Coast Guard Academy was founded in 1876, but the first African American did not graduate from the institution until 1966. Women were not admitted to the school until 1976. Today, we honor Ensign Davis, who, through her hard work and perseverance, accomplished what no African American has done before her; she achieved the Academy’s highest honor.”

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