October 5, 2018
Dear Maritime Alumni and Friends,
With Homecoming just a week away, we are excited and busily laying out the welcome mat for the thousands of alumni and family members who will be “coming home.” There is so much to be excited about at Maritime College which I am so pleased to share.
Fall 2018 had the largest entering class with 500 undergraduate (freshman and transfer) and graduate students. This follows a record-breaking year when over 500 students graduated in January, May, and September 2018. Even with the increased number of entering students, the selectivity continues to improve, with entering freshman having higher SAT scores than previous years.
As the students get quickly immersed in their academics and training, they are also working hard and demonstrating great teamwork and spirit on the athletic field. The men's soccer team is doing an excellent job of defending Reinhart Field, as they are currently 6-0 at home. The football team currently sits at 2-2. They beat both Maine and Mass Maritime but had a heartbreaking loss to Kings Point. The women's volleyball team has been without their star player for the past few games, but have picked up three wins. Kim and I have had the pleasure of getting to know these fine young student-athletes off the field at dinners we host for each team at Quarters 1.
On the waterfront, sailing won its first conference title in recent history at the MAISA Match Race Championships at Kings Point. The win also qualified the team for Match Race Nationals in Newport Beach, CA in November. Further, with generous support from the Marine Society of the City of New York, in September, we hosted the first George C. Previll Memorial Inaugural Inter-Maritime Academy Monomoy Race which brought together teams from Maritime College, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, Maine Maritime, and Massachusetts Maritime. This was an expansion of the traditional Monomoy race between SUNY Maritime MUGs and Kings Point Plebes. Maine took the overall event trophy with Maritime College coming in second. The Maritime MUGs did beat the KP plebes in our longstanding rivals’ race.
Last weekend, nearly the entire MUG class rallied to support the Tunnels to Towers Race, an annual run to honor firefighter Stephen Siller who ran with full gear from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. The race raises money to assist the families of men and women killed in the line of duty. Over 300 students contributed 2,777 hours to assist in setting up, tearing down and running in the race. This is the third year our students have volunteered to support and participate in the race.
With the recently adopted strategic plan, “Charting a New Course,” we are already moving forward with its implementation. A great example is the America’s Blue Highway conference held last week in conjunction with the Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler. This conference, attended by more than 300 people from the maritime industry, government, and the private sector, directly advanced a number of strategic plan goals including empowering a faculty of the future and cultivating strong external partnerships.
The conference attendees, including students and faculty, participated in discussions about how to further develop our nation’s waterways to move goods effectively and efficiently with the purpose of reducing pollution and congestion, and creating good-paying jobs. Government and industry leaders talked about the progress made to date in short sea shipping, the challenges involved, and ideas for how to grow this mode of transportation. The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and will help direct learning in the classroom.
I have had the privilege to meet with many alumni and industry leaders over the summer and into the fall. My travels have taken me to Cleveland and Chicago and I just returned from an outstanding trip to Houston. At each visit along the way, I am listening to our partners and making new partners to ensure that our programs are strong and relevant. I have been received so graciously by everyone. I want to thank everyone I met for their support and feedback regarding the direction of the College.
For those of you in the New York City region, it was great to see so many alumni and friends at Yankee Stadium on September 23rd for the New York Yankees vs the Baltimore Orioles game. Even though I am a diehard Red Sox Fan, I did don the Yankee baseball cap since it also had the Maritime College logo and I never miss a chance to promote our great college.
Homecoming and Family Day will be October 13th. We have a variety of fun events and activities planned, including the traditional Pass in Review ceremony, Will it Float Race, tailgating and, of course, an excellent game of Privateer football against the Dean College Bulldogs. This year, we will also host a celebration in honor of Richard Pusatere ’03, who lost his life in the El Faro tragedy. Rich’s classmates will host a barbecue on the point and his photo will join those who were killed in the line of duty in the Hall of Honor in Fort Schuyler.
If you have not already registered for Homecoming event, I encourage you to do so.
Finally, in a few weeks you should be receiving your first copy of the Fort Schuyler, the official magazine of the College and Maritime College Alumni Association.This is the first edition of the joint magazine which replaces Maritime College’s Navigatorand the Alumni Association’s Mariner magazines. We are all very excited to have created this tangible evidence of our close cooperation.
As always, I send good wishes and encourage you to keep in touch with your alma mater. Stop by the Fort any time and let us know how you are doing.
RADM Michael Alfultis