Fun Fact: The Curious Tradition of the West Point Goat

Those who are the best, who rank first, and who are the smartest are frequently recognized in our society. For the West Point Goat, the joke is, “it pays to be the last.”

For more than 200 years, the “GOAT” has been a part of the Academy’s long-standing tradition. This term is used to recognize the last-ranking graduate in the class. It is customary for the Goat to receive $1 from every member of the class, adding to over $1,000, and the loudest applause during the graduation ceremony.

But why?

Getting into West Point and staying there is undeniably difficult. Even if you are the last in your class, you must have something in you to endure everything for four years.

Given how many people fail to make it through the academy, recognizing the last place finisher is particularly appropriate. Being last among the best is still considered a great accomplishment.


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