KINGS POINT, N.Y., Sep. 25, 2018 - The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point (USMMA) installed John R. Ballard, Ph.D., as the new Academic Dean and Provost in a brief ceremony at the Academy yesterday. Dr. Ballard will serve as the chief academic officer and principal advisor to the Superintendent in all matters relating to the academic program and faculty. He will also co-chair the educational priority working group for the recently released USMMA Strategic Plan.
At a morning ceremony before the staff, faculty and the Regiment of Midshipmen, Rear Admiral James A. Helis, USMMA Superintendent, welcomed Dr. Ballard to the Academy and to the Dean's office. “Dr. Ballard brings a wealth of leadership and academic experience to the team and we look forward to a bright future with him leading the faculty and the academic program,” said Helis in a previous release.
He also thanked Interim Academic Dean, Captain Preston De Jean for his service at an important time for the Academy and noted his lasting contributions to the development of the academic program. Admiral Helis presented Captain De Jean with the Maritime Service Commendation Medal in recognition of his time as the Interim Academic Dean.
Then, in a ceremony reminiscent of a military change of command, Captain De Jean passed the Academic Mace to Superintendent Helis, who in turn passed it to Dr, Ballard symbolizing the formal transfer of responsibility for the Academy’s academic program was complete.
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. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Merchant Marine Academy. The Academy, which was established under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, was dedicated as the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.
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