CASTINE, Maine — With a cheer and a flurry of caps and mortarboards in the air, the Maine Maritime Academy Class of 2010 celebrated its 67th graduation Saturday.
The college presented degrees to 201 graduates, including four Associate of Science degrees, 187 Bachelor of Science and 14 Master of Science degrees. The graduates hailed from nearly 80 Maine communities, from 19 other states and Puerto Rico, China, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait and South Africa.
The college also awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees to Frederick J. Harris, MMA Class of 1967, president of General Dynamics NASSCO and a vice president of General Dynamics Corp., and to U.S. 2nd District Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine, who was the commencement speaker.
Michaud told the graduates that the tradition of Maine Maritime Academy is known around the U.S. and the world and encouraged them to face the challenges of the future head-on, to stick to their convictions and to do what they think is best.
He noted that some of the students and faculty are involved in research that could make “profound contributions in the future: hybrid boats, tidal energy, biodiesel fuel, hydro turbine testing and offshore wind energy.”
“But the projects I’ve mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the good work being done here by students and faculty,” Michaud said. “Our state, MMA and all of you are ahead of the curve when it comes to these emerging sectors. Your work, your contributions and your successes are not only transformative for our state, but hold promise for our entire country.”
MMA has a tradition of “answering the call,” and with their graduation, he said, the Class of 2010 too is answering the call in the MMA tradition.
“You are all prepared and ready to take on the challenges ahead of you. While it might not always be smooth sailing, your training here, combined with a belief in your own ideas and principles, will see you through these rough waters.”
The graduates were enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead of them.
“I’m excited; it’s been a long haul,” said Brian York of East Millinocket, who graduated from the marine engine operations program.
York said he hopes to ship out on board a commercial vessel.
“I’m excited about where my career path is going to take me,” he said.
Donald Murphy of Warwick, R.I., also said he hoped to head to sea now that he had his college degree. He said he felt well prepared for a career at sea.
“I love the ocean, and I’m ready to go to sea,” he said. “This is one of the better institutions to get you ready for this type of industry.”
Some graduates were headed off for further studies, such as Katherine McMillan of Belfast, a marine biology major who plans to attend veterinary school in North Carolina.
Others, such as Gillian Faustine of Pittsfield, Mass., will finish their MMA experience on board the State of Maine, the college’s training vessel, which leaves Tuesday on its annual training cruise.
The commencement also marked the last official act for retiring MMA President Leonard Tyler. The college awarded Tyler an honorary doctorate during the ceremonies. Tyler, who has been at MMA for four decades, first as an assistant professor and football coach, and for the past 14 years as president, also received commemorative plaques from the U.S. Maritime Administration and from the faculty senate.