Naval Academy anchors

One of the commencements virtualized by the coronavirus crisis is the US Navy Academy’s at Annapolis, Maryland who have their own tradition of embracing failure at these ceremonies: “The Anchor” This answer in Quora provides an insightful description of honour of graduating dead last at Annapolis:

  • “Traditionally, the class pitches in for an ‘anchor fund’ – it was a dollar per person when I graduated – that goes to the anchor man upon graduation. With around 1000 graduates per class, it’s a nice chunk of change. So it leads to a weird little competition of sorts among the dozen or so Mids who are close to the bottom of the class; do poorly enough to finish dead last, but well enough to graduate. The anchor man usually gets a standing ovation during graduation from the rest of the class, which confuses the spectators because it’s not announced or otherwise annotated. But his classmates know. Just a little subversive celebration. After all someone has to be last in the class. And it’s sort of like finishing last in the Boston Marathon – there’s plenty of pride just in completing the task.”

Congratulations to all the graduating midshipmen especially the anchor.