SUNY Board of Trustees and Chancellor King Announce New Campus Leadership and Reinforce Commitment to SUNY Maritime’s Success as it Enters its Next Chapter

Rear Admiral John Okon to Lead as Maritime’s 12th President Following the Retirement of Dr. Michael Alfultis

Bronx, NY – During a State University of New York Board of Trustees meeting today at SUNY Maritime College, SUNY Board of Trustees and Chancellor John B. King Jr. announced the appointment of Rear Admiral John Okon as the 12th campus president following the retirement of Rear Admiral Dr. Michael A. Alfultis after 10 years at the helm. Rear Admiral Okon’s appointment is effective July 1, 2024.

“As a SUNY Maritime alumnus, Rear Admiral Okon, ’91, has a great perspective on the student experience and how we can move forward to encourage and support more students to pursue careers in the maritime industry,” said SUNY Chancellor King. “At the same time, his extensive background in the U.S. Navy in support of intelligence, technology, meteorology, and oceanography, will help guide SUNY Maritime as it builds on its academic programs to ensure SUNY students are well positioned to succeed after graduation.”

Rear Admiral Okon said, “This is an outstanding opportunity and I am thankful to the SUNY Board of Trustees, Chancellor, King, College Council Chair Thomas J. Higgins, and the search committee for their confidence in my appointment. As an alum of this prestigious maritime campus, I am excitement about the new resources dedicated from the federal and state government, and for Chancellor King’s commitment to our students’ success. I can’t wait to lead SUNY Maritime College as it enters its next chapter.”

About Rear Admiral John Okon

Rear Admiral John Okon is a naval officer of the United States Navy with more than 33 years of naval service. Rear Admiral Okon became vice commander of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command’s Tenth Fleet in 2023. His responsibilities include operating and defending navy networks, providing tailored signals intelligence, delivering cyber electronic warfare, and providing training and certified cyber teams.

He has directed funding, maintenance, and research to support U.S. Navy and Marine Corps intelligence, cryptology, electronic warfare, information technology, meteorology, oceanography, precise time, astrometry, long-range targeting, and manpower. He is also responsible for being the Navy’s chief strategist for a community of 1400 military officers and for multi-year planning of accessions, promotions, career progression, training, education, and talent management.

Rear Admiral Okon previously served as the director of information warfare integration for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations from 2021 to 2023, and from 2017 to 2021, he was the commander of the U.S. Navy’s Meteorology and Oceanography Command. During that time, he served additional roles as oceanographer of the Navy and naval deputy to the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Rear Admiral Okon received his Master of Arts in national security studies from the U.S. Naval War College, Master of Science in meteorology and oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and his bachelor's degree in meteorology and oceanography from SUNY Maritime College.

About SUNY Maritime College

SUNY Maritime College is the first of seven maritime academies in the United States. The College educates dynamic leaders for the global maritime transportation industry, shipping business, engineering, energy, facilities management, finance, the armed forces, and public service. Students choose from 11 undergraduate majors, including five ABET-accredited engineering programs and two master's degree programs. In addition to a college degree, students can earn a Deck or Engine merchant mariner license. The license program prepares students to navigate, operate and manage ships. There are 17 varsity athletic teams and more than 40 clubs and organizations available to students. 

About The State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States. More than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s first maritime academy, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit