May 17, 2018
Dear Maritime Alumni and Friends,
Spring Commencement wrapped up a very exciting and eventful academic year. Although I always have trouble seeing the students I have gotten to know so well over four years graduate, this spring’s commencement was especially poignant for me. Many of the graduating students came to Maritime College the same time I started as President, and we shared much together over my first four years.
As the spring semester came to a close, the campus was energized, packed with activities, and abuzz with uplifting news and events:
- The Annual Admiral’s Scholarship Dinner on May 1, featured a record attendance of more than 650 people, and raised more than $800,000, another record! Dr. James S.C. Chao, founder and honorary chairman of Foremost Group; Ms. Angela Chao, chairman and CEO of Foremost Group; and Mr. Joseph Byrne ’89, vice president and senior operations manager of Turner Construction, were the honorees.
- Commencement for the Class of 2018 on May 4 celebrated the academic achievements of our largest graduating class in the college’s 144-year history. Alumni Association President Dan Gillette ’97 joined me on the commencement stage to congratulate our 269 graduates. He also welcomed them to a special club of individuals with strong reputations, success in industry, and bonds that last a lifetime.
- Commencement for the Class of 2018 also honored Capt. Robert Johnston ’69 with an honorary doctorate. As keynote speaker, he told the graduating students that their degree from SUNY Maritime will serve them well in whatever career they choose. His powerful statement was even more meaningful because Bob, retired CEO of Overseas Shipping Group, will continue to lend his considerable expertise to the college through his chairmanship of the recently formed SUNY Maritime Foundation.
- On May 7, we bid fair winds and following seas to the Empire State VI and 511 cadets, as family, friends, faculty and staff watched the ship sail under the Whitestone Bridge. On their first port stop, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, they will assist with ongoing hurricane recovery efforts. Cadets, alongside colleagues from other SUNY institutions at Albany and the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, will prepare roofs for construction, remove debris, and help farmers repair fields before continuing the summer sea term journey to Palma, Mallorca; Glasgow, Scotland; Gaeta, Italy and Ponta Delgada, Azores.
- In addition to assisting with hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, 30 students will travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands this summer and assist with hurricane recovery, thanks to the organizational help of humanities professor Chris McMillan and Marine Transportation major Austin Ford ’20. This hands-on learning, which is a hallmark of Maritime’s academic preparation, will enhance students’ commitment to service while increasing cultural awareness and preparedness for issues relevant in the global maritime industry.
Please stay in touch over the summer. I’d like to hear about the work that you are doing and look forward to telling you about other important activities at the college in the coming months.