Students who finished their degree and Coast Guard license requirements over the summer were recognized in an intimate ceremony at SUNY Maritime College.
Approximately half of the graduating class came back to campus to participate in the traditional graduation ceremony. Of the graduating class, more than a dozen received their master’s degrees, nearly 30 received their bachelor of engineering degrees and more than 50 earned their bachelor of science degrees.
Before the graduates walked across the stage to receive their degrees, a Maritime challenge coin and a handshake or hug from Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, the president of the college offered them a few last pieces of advice and encouragement.
“As you prepare to leave us, I want to encourage each of you to always be a person of exceptional character by always acting with the utmost integrity and respect,” President Alfultis said. “Effective leadership requires both competence and character.
“Your education does not stop here. You will need to continually learn and relearn to maintain your professional competence and to keep pace in the rapidly changing workforce that you are about to enter.”
Many of the day’s graduates also received their U.S. Coast Guard licenses, which are required to pursue careers on commercial vessels. Three of the day’s graduates received commissions into the U.S. Navy.
One student, Kevin A. Wrynn, was recognized as the honor cadet in his major by Edward Kelly. Kelly presented Wrynn with a check on behalf of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Wrynn earned a bachelor’s degree in Marine Transportation and a U.S. Coast Guard license.
Another graduate, Justin Nicholas Zoeller, earned his master’s degree in International Transportation Management. Zoeller’s parents accepted his degree on his behalf. Zoeller, who earned his bachelor’s from Maritime in 2003, is sailing as the chief mate aboard the Endurance, the largest commercial roll-on/roll-off ship in the US fleet.
Before the graduating class walked across the stage, Rear Adm. Alfultis encouraged the graduates to pursue their personal and professional goals with passion and determination.
“Your time and accomplishments at Maritime are just the beginning of what is to become a voyage with stops at many ports along the way,” he said. “To reach each port, you must set your sails, catch the wind, and steer a course.
“If something is really important, and you know it to be true in your heart, stay the course and make it happen – reach that next port. Don’t let worrying about all the things that could go wrong intimidate you.”