August 19, 2019

Dear Maritime College Alumni and Friends,

As summer’s end draws near, I am amazed by the many activities and learning opportunities that took place this summer both at sea and on land. 

On August 9, we welcomed the Training Ship Empire State VI home from its 105-day journey.  In all, 638 cadets divided into two splits traveled to New Orleans, Charleston, Manhattan, Baltimore, and Reykjavik, Iceland.  Their experience at sea provided an environment of classroom learning coupled with managing various mariner tasks and duties.  By working together as a team, they advanced in skill and confidence.

Joining in on the ship’s return was a group of 10 cadets and their commander from the International Maritime University of Panama (IMUP).  Through an educational partnership with IMUP, these Panamanian cadets participated alongside our mariners under guidance (MUGs) to complete the Indoctrination program.  These types of institutional collaborations strengthen our global connection with the maritime industry, showcase the many alternatives we offer for applied learning, and align with our strategic plan.   

Meanwhile, onshore, we hosted two week-long STEM Academy programs that attracted 26 students from around New York State, Philadelphia and Baltimore.  The STEM Academy exposed students to college life by living away from home and helped them learn more about STEM subjects and maritime career opportunities through coursework and hands-on activities.  Our goal for next year is to expand the program to include more students.

Among our other diverse program offerings over the summer was the three-week inaugural Haiti Sustainable Village Learning Community project. The English immersion project presented 20 young women and men from Haiti an opportunity to learn English and leadership skills while experiencing American culture.  We were pleased to welcome SUNY Provost Tod Laursen at the celebratory luncheon on the program’s last day.

Traveling across the North Atlantic Ocean to Glasgow, Scotland this summer for the study abroad program were 12 Maritime undergraduate students.  Study abroad allows students to apply academic coursework theory and concepts from the classroom to real-time practices within the international and global commercial venues.  At City College of Glasgow, students were introduced to the engineering marvels and maritime technological innovations in the Glasgow area.  They visited two of Scotland’s most prestigious shipyards and took part in bridge simulation, ship piloting exercises and team-building challenges at the College’s Riverside Campus.  As we continue to forge relationships with our sister maritime colleges abroad, we aim to prepare Maritime students for careers in the international maritime industry by exposing them to the ingenuity, creativity, and culture of countries around the globe.

Our busy summer ended with the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), an academic support and financial assistance program for economically disadvantaged students entering their freshman year.  During the five-week program, 19 students lived on campus and were assigned to college courses in English and Math.  The tutoring, counseling, workshops and other support activities students receive through EOP are intended to boost scholastic promise.  Programs such as these demonstrate our commitment to student success, development, and academic excellence.

INDOC marks the transition to a new academic year. Last week approximately 340 MUGs began the 10-day program, which will conclude with a graduation ceremony on August 24.  We are thrilled to have as our guest speaker and honor official for the pass-in-review, Rear Admiral John Okon, Class of 1992, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, Oceanographer and Navigator of the U.S. Navy.  He is the only SUNY Maritime College graduate on active duty currently serving as an Admiral in the U.S. Navy.

I am proud that Maritime College has served as a source of educational enrichment for all those who have taken part in our summer programs, and I look forward to seeing you at some of the many activities planned for the fall.  I invite you to save the date for the All-Academy Monomoy Race on September 14, the Yankees game on September 22, and Homecoming on October 19.  Please visit our website for more details.

All the best,

RADM Michael Alfultis, USMS, Ph.D.