KINGS POINT, N.Y., August 18, 2015 – Friends, colleagues and midshipmen of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point held a memorial service yesterday, remembering and honoring CAPT Elwood Charles Baumgart, USMS, Professor in the Department of Engineering, who died on July 31.
CAPT Baumgart was remembered not only as a consummate professional and knowledgeable dedicated professor, but also more personally as a sports fan, and as a generous friend and shipmate with a big heart. About 100 guests, including leaders from the Maritime Administration and USMMA, professional colleagues, midshipmen, alumni, family members and friends from the greater USMMA community, attended the service led by Command Chaplain, Lt. Commander Jerry Durham in the Mariner’s Memorial Chapel.
Academic Dean, Shashi N. Kumar, PhD, said, “He was the most perfect colleague one would want, a quiet unassuming mariner who went about doing everything that was right to provide the finest marine engineering education at USMMA. He was a former Chief Engineer, a Full Professor, an excellent colleague and mentor, and the Engineering Department STCW Coordinator during my entire tenure here. There was no STCW issue impacting our engineering curriculum that Elly could not resolve. He was a consummate professional, an architect of the current (Manila 2010) engineering curriculum, and an expert on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and tanker operations. Above all, he was a thoughtful and caring individual and educator, and as remarked by one of our Marine Transportation colleagues, ‘the Chief Engineer that every deck officer would want to sail with.’”
The service closed with a final muster, a rile salute from the USMMA Drill Team and the playing of taps.
In addition to the eulogies at the service, in recent days, CAPT Baumgart was remembered by colleagues, midshipmen and alumni.
Superintendent, Rear Admiral James A. Helis said, “CAPT Baumgart was a treasured and respected member of the Academy, who will be greatly missed by our Kings Point community. For over ten years, he served the Academy with distinction, educating thousands of future Merchant Marine officers. His lifetime of service created a lasting legacy in the U.S. Merchant Marine.”
“Professor Baumgart’s service and dedication to duty truly exemplify the Kings Point Motto: Acta non Verba, Deeds not Words,” said Deputy Maritime Administrator Michael J. Rodriguez. “His memory will continue to bring strength and comfort to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and to all of us who were fortunate enough to know him.”
CAPT Baumgart was fondly remembered by his students. Mary Silk '15 recalled, “He taught the system engineers tanker class out of the kindness of his heart, even though that meant being at Kings Point at 7:45 am on a Friday morning, when it could have been an off day for him. No matter how much we hated having a Friday morning first and second period of tankers class, he always was there for us with his huge Jets coffee cup that he had to refill half way through class.” Midshipman Alexander Hughes 2/C noted, “CAPT Baumgart was more than just a professor, he was an incredible mentor to the midshipmen in the Kings Point Family. He devoted a great deal of time and energy to bettering each and every individual. Kings Point has suffered a tremendous loss and my thoughts and condolences go out to CAPT Baumgart’s family and friends.”
His colleague, CAPT Brian Hall, USMS, remembered CAPT Baumgart as a “consummate professional who was a respected marine engineer, a dedicated professor and a great friend!” CAPT David Palmer, USMA, noted, “Elly Baumgart will be remembered by me as an Avid Sports Fan, a Professor of Engineering, a Chief Engineer, an STCW Expert and just a truly wonderful individual. Most of all, I will remember Elly as having the great capability and gift of balancing his work life with working hard for our Academy while taking the time to celebrate life talking with colleagues about the “lighter things in life”, such as the outcome of a NY Jets football game, or the next sporting event that he planned on attending. This awesome balance put his colleagues at ease and spread happiness in the work place while still gathering the energy to work hard for the success of Kings Point. Elly could be counted on no matter what was asked of him and he did it with precision and professionalism. There is no doubt that I learned a lot from Elly Baumgart and as a result I will always be grateful to him. I will never forget him!”
Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Maritime College in 1976, CAPT Baumgart served as a USCG Marine Inspector until 1979. He earned a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Steven’s Institute of Technology in 1979, and sailed with Texaco Marine Services from 1979 to 1993. He sailed up to First Assistant Engineer and worked in Texaco’s Marine Headquarters in the U.S. Fleet Operations Group. CAPT Baumgart joined the SUNY Maritime College faculty in 1994, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997, and served as the Interim Engineering Department Chairman from 2001 until 2002. He joined the USMMA faculty July 29, 2002 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering, and was promoted to full Professor in 2013. As the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Coordinator for the Department of Engineering, he was involved in all aspects of the curriculum related to meeting the USCG requirements for the licensing of USMMA graduates. He was also the Academy’s lead Engine Simulation Training instructor.