President’s Watch

Charting a Course

Forecasting the resources we’ll need for MMA’s future

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Jerald “Jerry” Paul ’89

AT THE CULMINATION of my first year as Maine Maritime president, I am heartened by the growth I see across our campus and throughout the professional industries of which we are an important component. Together, we have spent considerable time strengthening our Academy community and focusing on what it means to be a Mariner and become a Mariner at MMA.

We began this academic year by announcing a relationship to create, test, and study vessel-to-grid electrification technologies and what those capabilities could mean for the maritime industry. This evolution of workplace and curriculum is only one example of the modernization of our academic offerings so we can meet the needs of a new generation of mariners and the future of the maritime industry.

We’ve focused heavily on forecasting the resources we’ll need for the MMA of the future. We’re working closely with our U.S. congressional delegation, our governor, state senators, and representatives. I am proud to say they share our vision for MMA, and they have supported our requests for additional funding. This support will transform delivery of our curriculum in classrooms and at sea.

One of my initial focuses has been to strengthen and promote the Center for Professional Mariner Development campus in Bucksport to complement workforce academic needs and simultaneously elevate our graduate programs. We have taken a commercial approach to addressing the maritime industry’s needs. We are listening to our alumni and hiring partners to develop continuing education programs that are current and complement industry desires.

This evolution of workplace and curriculum is only one example of the modernization of our academic offerings so we can meet the needs of a new generation of mariners and the future of the maritime industry.

Our growth this year was not confined to the classroom. We are reimagining and evolving what we offer our students outside of the classroom just as acutely. Last fall we issued an alumni challenge to help fundraise for the reinstitution of a varsity football team. Our alumni heard that call and answered it. We are proud to also have announced the elevation of wrestling to a varsity sport for men and women. Our women’s program will be the first in the state. (See MMA Hits the Mat)

We have also been engaging aggressively in the international maritime industry, both through elevated involvement in the International Association of Maritime Universities and through partnerships with global maritime industry stakeholders. MMA is growing its profile worldwide.

On the water, our sailing team continues to evolve and grow with the addition of new vessels that enable offshore experiences that MMA students had not been offered in recent times. We are committed to a future for our schooner, Bowdoin, the State of Maine’s flagship vessel. She will embark this summer on her first cruise in several years. Next summer, she is planned to return to her roots with an Arctic voyage—a tentpole for our small vessels program.

In just over a year, we will welcome the National Security Multi-Mission Vessel Training Ship, State of Maine V, currently being built at Philly Shipyard. This new ship will complement the evolution of our curriculum to ensure our mariners are trained on the most cutting-edge technologies. It is my belief that she will signify a new chapter for both the Academy and Castine as a landmark in which we will all take pride.

I especially value the time I have been able to spend with our students. In the classroom, on the training ship, and throughout campus, it has helped me do my job by watching them do theirs. Finally, no mention of this year would be complete without a salute to the faculty and staff who have emerged from the pandemic poised to tackle a new frontier of educating mariners. As we look to the ’23–’24 school year, we will be opening our doors to the largest incoming class in many years.

This is just the beginning for Maine Maritime. We are well on our way to our goal of becoming The #1 Maritime College in the World.

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