USMMA Newsletter May 2016

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U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

In the News

May 2016

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Message from the Superintendent

Dear Midshipmen, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, Parents and Friends:

Excitement is building as the Academic Year nears its end – the Midshipmen are fully engaged in their finals, the Class of 2016 is getting ready for their U.S. Coast Guard licensing exams, and our faculty and staff are preparing for our graduation events.  The Commander of U.S. Transportation Command Gen. Darren W. McDew will honor the Academy as our 2016 Commencement Speaker.  His strong support of the U.S. Merchant Marine highlights the significant role that merchant mariners play in supporting our military and keeping Americans safe, and makes him an outstanding role model for the Class of 2016 and all at the Academy.

In March we celebrated Women’s History Month with a series of events.  Kings Point was well represented at the Women on the Water Conference at California Maritime Academy with 34 Midshipmen. First Company Tactical Officer Lt. Fionna Boyle ’07, USN, and Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Ping Furlan represented the Academy at the Department of Transportation's 50th Anniversary Celebration of Women's History at the White House.  Further, our Deputy Superintendent Rear Adm. Susan L. Dunlap, USMS, was the keynote speaker for the Maritime Administration’s National Women’s History Month observance.

Our Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Tamara Jell worked with the Midshipmen, faculty and staff to organize a comprehensive Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign, including a series of guest speakers, student and faculty presentations, displays, and informational programs. We rolled out a new Victim Advocate (VA) Program with five faculty and staff members who serve as additional resources for restricted (confidential) reporting.   Another highlight was Midshipman 1st Class David Gregory’s presentation, “A Course Through Oceans Deep,” providing his reflections about prostitution, industry and personal accountability. The month’s events reminded us that we all need to work together to create a safe, secure and respectful campus, free from sexual assault, sexual harassment and the behaviors that enable it.  This is an important ongoing effort that we will continue here at Kings Point, and in cooperation with MARAD and the maritime industry.

Our reaccreditation process is helping ensure that we provide the best education for our Midshipmen, and is progressing on schedule.  The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) evaluation team completed their visit in April.  We look forward to the MSCHE’s final report, which is expected this summer, and are committed to continued improvement to accomplish the Academy’s mission, and serve the nation as a leader in maritime education and as a unique desirable learning institution and workplace.

In April we underwent our U.S. Coast Guard Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) audit, and received a very positive interim report.  They praised our program overall, noted no non-conformities, and noted that the instructors demonstrated a sincere commitment to the Midshipmen’s academic success.  They also noted that the Midshipmen were positive about their level of preparedness for entering the maritime industry and their learning experience at the Academy.

Leadership and service remain at the forefront of the Academy experience, and the Class of 2016 will graduate having completed the Academy’s inaugural Leadership Development Course series.  It was a good start, and the Commandant and his staff are using input from the 1st Classmen to further refine the program with training targeted for each of the class levels to produce merchant mariners and armed forces officers who are leaders of exemplary character.

Lastly, we started the zero deck basement area renovations that will add modern exercise and recreation facilities, and improved Midshipmen service facilities.  The construction will take about a year, completing the first phase of the Capital Improvement Program, focused on improving Midshipmen quality of life.  Our second phase, focused on upgrading the academic classrooms and laboratories, started with the architecture design solicitation for the Samuels Hall classrooms renovation.  These improvements help ensure the Academy remains a world leader in maritime education and training, making the Academy not simply a more desirable learning institution for our Midshipmen, but a campus with world class facilities and equipment of which we can all be proud.

I want to hear from you.  We completed a town hall session taking questions from our Midshipmen, faculty and staff here last week.  Maritime Administration Deputy Administrator, Michael J. Rodriguez, KP ’79, will join me to take your questions at our upcoming call-in town hall, 26 May, 2-3 p.m., Eastern Time, (800) 230-1092.


Rear Admiral James A. Helis


USPACOM Commander: “Our National Security Depends on a Vital Merchant Marine” – 2016 Battle Standard Dinner

The Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr. addressed the Class of 2016 as the guest speaker at the Academy’s 28th Battle Standard Dinner, an annual USMMA event honoring the memories of the 142 Cadet-Midshipmen who lost their lives during World War II. The event also honored recent graduates who lost their lives serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.


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Midshipmen Gain Practical Skills on Kings Pointer Voyage to Norfolk, Va.

This year’s spring training cruise aboard the USMMA Training Vessel Kings Pointer allowed midshipmen to hone their seagoing skills during spring break. Under the command of Capt. Adam Donohoe, the T/V Kings Pointer sailed to Norfolk, Va. and back with a crew of 31, including 22 midshipmen, professional mariners and US Navy Reserve Officers.  During the weeklong voyage, the midshipmen predominantly ran the watches and conned the vessel under the supervision of the licensed crew, while they completed assigned projects and accumulated creditable sea days required for their license.


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Champions! Mariners Win ECAC Tennis Title with 5-3 Victory over Moravian

The USMMA tennis team captured the 2016 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship with its 5-3 victory over Landmark Conference rival and top-seeded Moravian College at Arcadia University.  The contest was a rematch of the 2015 ECAC title match, in which the Mariners lost to the Greyhounds. With the win, USMMA ends the 2015-16 season on a four-match winning streak with an overall record of 9-5, while Moravian closes out the year with a 13-7 record.


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Thirty-Four Midshipmen Attend Women on the Water Conference

Thirty four USMMA midshipmen attended the eighth Women on the Water Conference at California Maritime Academy. The annual conference, which is hosted by a different U.S. maritime academy each year in conjunction with the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), brought together 287 maritime professionals, licensed mariners, professors and maritime academy cadets. The conference, gave attendees the opportunity to hear from a range of maritime leaders and learn about some of the many exciting careers that are available to them at graduation and beyond.


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Building Blocks of Prevention – Sexual Assault Awareness Month at USMMA

The Academy joined college campuses across the county to support this year’s national Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign entitled “Prevention is Possible.”  Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Tamara Jell, the Midshipmen Human Relations Officers and the Academy’s Regimental Sexual Assault Victim Advocates coordinated the campaign with a full schedule of events, including student and faculty presentations, displays, informational programs and guest speakers. Jell said the campaign focused on “building blocks of prevention by communicating how individuals, the Regiment, and the Academic departments can take action to promote safety, respect, and equality.”


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USMMA Regimental Band and Color Guard March in 255th New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade

The USMMA Regimental Band, “George M. Cohan’s Own,” and Color Guard marched in New York City’s 255th St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, they were one of the first bands to march in the parade. They followed U.S Congress and Senate representatives and led officials from the Government of Ireland. Close to fifty band members, playing snare drums, tenor drums, bass drums, cymbals, trumpets, French horns, trombones, euphoniums, tubas, saxophones, clarinets, piccolos and baritones, joined the Color Guard to complete the 1½- mile march up Fifth Avenue in our nation’s oldest and largest parade.


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U. S. Merchant Marine Academy, 300 Steamboat Road, Kings Point, New York, 11024 Office of External Affairs 516-726-6048