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U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Graduates 224 at Kings Point

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Graduates 224 at Kings Point

KINGS POINT, N.Y.  June 18, 2022 - The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point conducted its 86th commencement exercises on Saturday, graduating 224 new Merchant Marine and Military Officers in the Class of 2022. This year’s commencement was the first since 2019 on Tomb Field with a large crowd in the stands.

The keynote speaker, U.S Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, delivered a message of inspiration and support for USMMA before a crowd of about 3,000. The audience included family members and guests of the graduating class, distinguished visitors representing the federal government, senior officers from the U.S. military, executives from the maritime industry, community leaders, alumni, faculty and staff.

“In a matter of minutes, you will be graduates,” Buttigieg told the Class of 2022,” you will be officers, service members. You are already professionals and you will be something more than that; the newest exemplars and stewards of America’s foundationally important relationship with the seas.”

Buttigieg concluded his remarks by awarding the Class of 2022 the Secretary of Transportation’s Outstanding Unit Award for completing their course of instruction under the difficult conditions of the COVID era. Class President Isaiah M. Nix of Hampton, Virginia, accepted the honor on behalf of the class.

Among the dignitaries who also addressed the graduates were General Jacqueline Van Ovost, USAF, Commander, U.S. Transportation Command; Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips, U.S. Navy, retired, Maritime Administrator; and retiring Head Football Coach Mike Toop, a 1977 graduate of USMMA who has led the football team for the past 17 seasons.

This year’s commencement also marked the final graduation under the leadership of Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Jack Buono, a 1978 USMMA graduate, who announced his retirement from Kings Point several months ago. Buono returned to his alma mater in the fall of 2018 to become the Academy’s 13th superintendent.

In Buono’s remarks to the graduates, he recalled the first time he met members of the Class of 2022, when they were plebes. “The first day we met,” he said, “I spoke to you about leadership and respect. I shared with you that leadership is not standing taller than your shipmates, but that leadership is about helping your shipmates stand taller than yourselves. You have done just that.”

Valedictorian Anders Marius of Sitka, Alaska, was introduced to the dais by Academic Dean and Provost Rear Admiral John R. Ballard, Ph.D, who noted that Marius had completed USMMA’s rigorous academic program with an impressive 3.985 grade point average.

Each graduate received a Bachelor of Science Degree in addition to an unlimited Coast Guard merchant mariners license and a military commission. In exchange for their education, each has the option of sailing as a Merchant Marine Officer while serving in the Navy Reserve or entering active military duty.

All of the graduates took the United States Coast Guard Merchant Marine License Oath, which was administered by Captain Zeita Merchant, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York. Graduates also took an oath, administered by General Van Ovost, as officers in the U.S military.

Of the 224 midshipmen who graduated on Saturday, 74 are entering active duty in the military; five graduates were commissioned into the Army, 58 were commissioned into the Navy, nine were commissioned into the Air Force, 10 were commissioned into the Marine Corps, and 12 were commissioned into the Coast Guard.

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 ABOUT USMMA

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, N.Y, educates and graduates leaders of exemplary character who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation, and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Academy, which was established under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1943. It is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.

On the web: U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

On Facebook: @USMMAOfficial

On Twitter: @USMMAo

Last updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Applications for the Class of 2027 Open May 1

Learn more about the requirements and expectations of Midshipmen.