Rekindling Friendships and Strengthening Bonds at Homecoming 2019

Reunions and celebrations abounded as hundreds of alumni came back home to Maritime College on October 18 and 19. Homecoming is a longstanding tradition that brings alumni together to renew friendships, relive experiences and create new memories, and this year's celebration drew a record number of alumni back to the College. For the first time in several decades, the Alumni Association held their general meeting on campus attributing to the very strong attendance.

The annual Will It Float Race on the waterfront kicked off a series of two-day campus-wide events as students worked in teams to build cardboard vessels and race on the East River. Taking place at the Maritime Industry Museum in Fort Schuyler was the unveiling of a 6-foot model of the USS St. Marys, which recognized the partnership of two alumni, Richard Brown ’47 and Ronald Parent ’68. The model, 25 years in the making, was begun by Brown in 1994 and recently finished by Parent in 2019. It is the first USS St. Marys model on display in the Museum. The first evening of celebratory events ended with the induction of Kevin Mannix '86, Sean Boughal '92, and Michael Nukk '99 into the Athletics Hall of Fame in honor of their outstanding triumphs as athletes.

On Saturday morning, the sun could not shine brighter over Fort Schuyler where the classes of 1959, 1964 and 1969 celebrated their milestone anniversaries. Thomas Thoens ‘69 returned for his 50th reunion and said, “It’s wonderful to be back with classmates I haven’t seen in 50 years! The highlight of homecoming is rekindling friendships; we went through a lot together so it is great to reminisce and share sea stories.”

Pass in Review began with the beat of the drums as the class of 2023 marched into St. Mary’s Pentagon along with the reunion classes of 1959, 1964 and 1969. Alumni were home again and looked on as a new class of mariners under guidance now stood in formation before them.

Inducted into the 2019 Heritage Hall of Fame were Bethann Rooney ‘91 and Captain Steven E. Werse ‘79, both of whom were recognized for their awe-inspiring achievements and contributions to the maritime industry.

In a touching moment of silence, alumni, their families, friends and guests commemorated Hall of Honor inductee Elizabeth Bonn, ’04, who lost her life during a U.S. Navy training flight crash in 2006. Bonn, the first woman inducted into the Hall of Honor, was memorialized in a heartfelt service at the Maritime Industry Museum following the pass in review ceremony.  

Among the weekend’s highlights was the annual homecoming parade where the reunion groups proceeded onto Reinhart Field proudly displaying their class banners before cheering on the football team. The school spirit of the Maritime Privateers was no match for the Castleton Spartans who were defeated 21-3. It was a spectacular ending to a most memorable weekend.