Every spring, we pause to honor students and community members for their roles in making Maine Maritime Academy a better place to live, work, and study. At the Regimental Awards and Student Life Awards banquets, we recognize strength of character, leadership, accountability, collaboration, courage, fairness, and other positive contributions. I’m always proud and gratified to see just how many of our students become top nominees for such recognition.
I also know that there are many more exemplary alumni, faculty, and staff in our midst who may not be formally recognized for their part, but who are doing their part to improve academy programs and outcomes every day.
As we launch the public phase of Opening Doors, Changing Lives: the Scholarship Campaign for Maine Maritime Academy, the largest single-purpose campaign we have undertaken, I am aware of so many contributions—not only financial, but also personal and professional—that have led us to this critical waypoint. Alumni are jumping in to help reach our goal of $20 million, inspiring others to give of their time and resources. Ultimately, it’s the characteristic MMA combination of vision, intelligence, determination, and commitment that will bring success to this major endeavor.
We are extraordinarily fortunate that Capt. William L. Bullard, Class of 1959, has advanced our effort with a bequest of $10 million for MMA in his will. That single gift, the largest in academy history, has gone directly to the scholarship campaign. To say that we are extremely grateful for that contribution is an understatement, and here is why: there is nothing more important than for qualified students who want an MMA education to be able to afford to attend, regardless of their financial circumstances.
Many contributions have led us to this critical waypoint.
Approximately 85% of student applicants choose Maine Maritime Academy as their first-choice school. In my regular presentations to the Maine State Legislature, I make the point that we operate in a very conservative fiscal fashion in an effort to keep MMA tuition costs as reasonable as possible because I recognize how expensive higher education has become in this country. Many applicants for whom we compete will receive significant offers of financial aid or discounted tuition rates from schools with large endowments, and that makes it difficult for us to attract those students. But you and I—and all the rest of our alumni, family and friends, together—are going to change that with this scholarship campaign.
This is an exciting time, and much is at stake. The success of this campaign over the next three years is a crucial step toward financial sustainability for the college. Also essential are the contributions each of us is making every day to advance our alumni reputation around the world; to educate our legislators and the public about the importance of what we do, and why; and to positively contribute to the lives of our students as they strive for excellence in their academic pursuits and launch their careers. Please keep in touch.█