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United States Merchant Marine Academy Announces Class of 2024 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Midshipman Zachary Almadani named Valedictorian

KINGS POINT, N.Y., June 10, 2024 – The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) is proud to announce its valedictorian and salutatorian for the 2024 graduating class, both of whom have demonstrated exceptional academic prowess during their Kings Point careers.  

Midshipman Zachary Makram Almadani, a Marine Engineering Systems Major and Kings Point Scholar*, with a GPA of 3.902 from Colorado Springs, CO, has been named valedictorian and Midshipman Nicholas Paul Walker, also a Marine Engineering Systems Major, with a GPA of 3.829 from Bethel Park, PA has been named salutatorian. 

After graduation, Almadani, who will commission as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, will be attending Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) at Sheppard AFB, in Wichita Falls, Texas, said, “I am honored and thankful to be the 2024 valedictorian. At the end of the day, graduating Kings Point is a huge accomplishment itself, and I am proud to be a Kings Pointer.” He added, “the unique challenges and difficulties associated with KP build some of the most adaptable, successful, and resilient alumni in the Nation.” 

Walker, who will commission as Ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve, plans to sail in the U.S. Merchant Marine as a member of the American Maritime Officers Union aboard cable-laying vessels operated by SubCom. He said, "I am honored to be awarded the title of Salutatorian for the great Kings Point Class of 2024. To be equally recognized are my fellow classmates, who I wouldn't have been able to make it without – imparting on me priceless memories and life-long lessons while we ushered each other through thick and thin. Because of them, we could find comfort in the uncomfortable.” He concluded by saying, “I must also thank my family and faculty who kept me motivated and supported me in more ways than my education along the journey. I am very grateful." 

"I am extremely proud of the Class of 2024," said Vice Admiral Joanna M. Nunan, Superintendent. "Kings Point is not like any other college, university, or federal service academy. These graduates have earned three credentials – a Bachelor of Science Degree, a commission as an officer in the uniformed services of the United States, and a U.S. Coast Guard License as a Third Mate or Third Assistant Engineer. Their achievements are a testament to their steadfast determination and commitment to service. I am confident knowing that their contributions to our nation will be immediate and lasting.” 

USMMA will hold its 88th Commencement Ceremony on June 22, 2024, at 9:00a.m. on the Academy grounds, at Captain James Harvey Tomb Memorial Field.

National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, will deliver the commencement address at the ceremony.  Sullivan is the 28th Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In the Obama-Biden Administration, he served as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to then-Vice President Biden, Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, and Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During his time in government, Sullivan was a lead negotiator in the initial talks that paved the way for the Iran nuclear deal and played a key role in the U.S.-brokered negotiations that led to a ceasefire in Gaza in 2012. He also helped shape the Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy at both the State Department and the White House.

In the years following his service in the Obama-Biden administration, Sullivan was a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he helped conceive and design a bipartisan task force project on a foreign policy for the middle class. He also held teaching posts at Yale Law School, Dartmouth College, and the University of New Hampshire. He co-founded and co-chaired the advisory board for National Security Action, a nonprofit national security advocacy organization, and served on the advisory boards of a number of organizations involved in foreign policy and national security. Sullivan was a senior policy advisor on Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.

He holds a BA in political science and international studies from Yale College; a Masters of Philosophy in International Relations from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar; and a JD from Yale Law School. He clerked for Judge Stephen Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He grew up as the second of five children in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a proud product of the Minneapolis public schools. He and his wife Maggie Goodlander have a permanent home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

* Kings Point Scholars are midshipmen who successfully complete many hours of research, under the guidance of a faculty advisor, on a topic outside the required curriculum.  Each Scholar presented their project to an audience of alumni, industry representatives, faculty and midshipmen in May. Almadani’s project, entitled: “Flettner Rotor-Powered Marine Vessel – Design Evaluation and Systems Optimization” explores how the optimization and use of Flettner Rotors on vessels could assist in reducing CO2 and Green House Gas emissions to better meet future IMO goals and regulations.

Now Accepting Applications for the Class of 2029