USMMA In The News: December 2016

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

In the News

December 2016

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Message from Rear Admiral Helis

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

As midshipmen settle into the Second Academic Term and start getting ready for the holidays, I am happy to report: we had an extraordinarily high number of midshipmen (297) earning Gold and Silver academic stars, together with 39 First Classmen who earned Sea Year Ribbons for their outstanding performance at sea. Additionally, 28 USMMA employees were recognized for “excellence” at this year’s Secretary’s Annual Awards Ceremony, 14 USMMA employees were recognized at the recent All Hands ceremony for 20-or-more years of service, as well 14 USMMA medals presented at the 50th Annual Maritime Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to them all.

When you add this to the fact that nine United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) football players were recognized by the Liberty League for this season’s accomplishments, and Dr. Capt. David J. Palmer, PhD, Class of 1991, who received a medal recognizing his outstanding performance as the Interim Dean of Academics (with CDR Preston DeJean stepping in as the new Interim Dean), the USMMA continues to excel in many areas. Many important initiatives are underway. The USMMA Board of Visitors (BOV) held its latest meeting on campus this past November 14. The BOV, chaired by Rep. Peter King, featured senior representatives from USN, NOAA and the USCG, together with the chair of our Advisory Board and a presidential appointee. During that meeting, Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen and Deputy Administrator Michael Rodriguez provided updates on the comprehensive cultural assessment taking place at the Academy, initiated by Secretary Foxx, to rebuild a climate of trust and resolve behavioral issues occurring not only at sea but on-campus.  I was pleased to report our midshipmen are on schedule to meet their graduation requirements.  In addition, I explained that as part of our re-accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), we are implementing new assessment models to improve our campus-wide effectiveness. 

Representative Peter King noted, “I am confident that the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Maritime Administration, and dedicated parents and alumni, support a common mission to educate and graduate licensed merchant mariners of exemplary character who will serve our country’s maritime transportation and defense needs. I am also confident that midshipmen will continue to receive the high quality education for which this Academy is known.”


We are looking toward the future at the Academy and continue to make headway with our Capital Improvement Projects, such as the Zero Deck Project to provide a dynamic living space for midshipmen, and the design of Samuels Hall, where renovations are scheduled to begin in the summer.  These infrastructure investments demonstrate our commitment to a healthy, successful future for the United States Merchant Marine Academy.


Most encouraging to me is that our admissions applications are on par with last year’s, and we continue to recruit quality young men and women to our campus. Yes, we face challenges, but we are moving forward in the New Year, improving our facilities and infrastructure, recruiting great student scholars, and working to create an uncompromising campus culture of safety, dignity, and respect. In all of these matters, I appreciate your ongoing input, support, and encouragement and wish you all a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year. 


 Festival of lights

USMMA Brightens the Holiday Season with 39th Festival of Lights

On December 12th the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) hosted its 39th annual Festival of Lights in the Mariners’ Memorial Chapel.  The Festival of Lights is an interfaith celebration that has become a beloved tradition at USMMA.


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 Grapple at the Garden

Wrestling Competes in "Grapple at the Garden" at Madison Square Garden

On Sunday, November 27th, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy wrestling team competed in the Fifth Annual Grapple at the Garden at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden. Despite the great atmosphere at the famed "World's Most Famous Arena" and wrestling on such a large stage (which also included some big-time Division I matches taking part on the same floor), the Mariners lost their lone dual match of the event to the Colonels of Wilkes University by the score of 32-15.


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USMMA Celebrates Thanksgiving

On November 21, Maritime Administrator, Paul N. “ChipJaenichen joined the United States Merchant Marine Academy’s (USMMA) administration, faculty, staff and Regiment of Midshipmen at the Regimental Thanksgiving Dinner in Delano Hall. The annual celebration is a much loved tradition at USMMA and a special treat for midshipmen. 


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 Captain Palmer

Captain David Palmer Awarded Maritime Service Commendation Medal

On November 10, 2016, during a lunchtime ceremony held  at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, Dr. CAPT David J. Palmer, PhD, Class of 1991, received a medal recognizing him for outstanding performance as the Interim Dean of Academics.


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 Athletes celebrated

Nine Mariners Earn Postseason Accolades From Liberty League

On November 9th, the Liberty League announced the end-of-the-year award winners and All-Liberty honors for the 2016 season and the USMMA football team had nine players recognized for their efforts this year. Four Mariners were named to the All-Liberty First Team, while two earned Second Team honors and three more were Honorable Mentions. 


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