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Harris attends alma mater Howard University’s first round March Madness basketball game

Vice President Harris
Greg Nash
Vice President Harris is seen during ceremonial photo op for Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) following being sworn in as a Senator at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 23, 2023.

Vice President Harris attended the first-round March Madness game between Howard University and the University of Kansas on Thursday.

Harris appeared on the jumbotron at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, during the NCAA men’s basketball game between the Howard Bison and the Kansas Jayhawks. Howard, a historically Black college, is Harris’s alma mater, from which she graduated in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. 

Harris waved from a suite above Howard’s bench while on the jumbotron. Those in attendance appeared to have a slightly delayed reaction to seeing Harris but soon responded with a mix of cheering and some booing. 

A White House official said the second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, made an appearance at the game along with his wife. 

Harris could be seen standing and chatting with others in her suite while watching the game. 

Harris was previously scheduled to travel to Iowa to meet with local leaders to discuss how to protect reproductive rights and participate in a roundtable event. This is her first trip to Iowa since becoming vice president. 

The administration has put Harris at the forefront on the issue of abortion rights as more than a dozen states have taken steps to significantly restrict the procedure in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022. 

Kansas defeated Howard by a score of 96-68 to advance to the second round of the tournament. The last time Howard competed in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament was in 1992. 

The press pool was brought to Howard’s locker room with about three minutes left in the game, and the team’s players gradually came in shortly before 3:15 p.m. Harris and Emhoff walked into the locker room a few minutes after the players. 

Harris complimented the players on their performances despite the loss. 

“You played hard, you played to the very last second — you made all us Bisons proud,” she said. 

Harris said she has seen Howard alumni throughout the world and heard many people talking about the team. 

“You guys did not stop, and that is so inspiring,” she said. “So you keep playing with chin up and shoulders back because you showed the world who Bison are.” 

The first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament began Thursday, while the first round of the women’s tournament will start Friday.

Tags Doug Emhoff Doug Emhoff Howard University Kamala Harris March Madness men's basketball NCAA Tournament University of Kansas

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