Alumni News
MMA Alumni Chapter points of contact met via Zoom to discuss area alumni engagement. (Top, left) Sam Rowe ’65, Bay State; Jeff Wright, Alumni Relations; David Lane ‘68, Jacksonville, FL; Pat Zrioka ‘87, Casco Bay; (middle, left) Kevin Davis ‘85, Casco Bay; Josh Collamer ‘98, DC; Minh Harriman ‘90, Puget Sound (WA); Jason Grabelle ‘98, DC; (bottom, left) Jay Stewart ‘00, Southeast Atlantic; Rich Slack ‘93, CT/RI; Dave Knapp ‘86, Tampa, FL; Karen Cukierski, Alumni Relations. Michael Chambers ‘80, Northern CA, also joined.

Alumni Connect Virtually

The COVID-19 outbreak has had a profound impact on us all. The Alumni Association recognizes an extraordinary situation that leads to uncertainty in how to meet as a chapter or class, what events are allowed, and how do we keep alumni engaged.

Enter videoconferencing, which, at this time, is the strength of our outreach and interaction.

From class reunions to chapter meetings, Commencement to Homecoming, the use of virtual communications allows us to stay connected. Here are some ways which our alumni have engaged with MMA and each other.

Class of 1965
This class has been meeting via Zoom since March, initially to plan their Summer Reunion in July 2020, which was postponed to July 2021. The class still meets via Zoom on the first Thursday of every month. Other classes are considering following suit.

Attending the meeting this spring, were Cal Lechman, Bill Fenton (class agent), George Grimes. Peter Wurshy, Charlie Raymond, Will Hamilton. Ron Vallee, Skip Bracy, Denny Driscoll.

Delaware Valley Chapter
In May 2020, President of the Delaware Valley (PA/NJ) chapter, Tom Lord ’87, hosted 18 area alumni via the first Zoom chapter meeting in MMA history. There was considerable discussion regarding programming to support area alumni and MMA. Thank you Delaware Valley members who worked tirelessly to arrange for the TS State of Maine to visit Philadelphia for a port visit during Cruise 2020, but COVID-19 cancelled the visit.

Virtual Homecoming
MMA celebrated Homecoming with a week of Honor Class Virtual Reunions and, on Saturday, October 3, 2020, the annual Alumni Meeting, and a virtual Homecoming, featuring alumni welcomes, campus videos and award presentations. If you missed it, view: All 2020 Honor Classes have an invitation to attend and participate in Homecoming 2021, date TBD.

  • MMA Alumni Association Announces AwardsWall of Honor

    In 1997, MMA created a Wall of Honor to recognize alumni who, through their achievements in professional and civic life, and service to MMA, have brought honor to themselves and the Academy. This Wall was established not only to recognize and honor those alumni for their achievements, but also to allow their accomplishments to serve as inspiration to students and alumni, current and future, to strive for excellence.

    The awards recognize professional achievement and service.
    Outstanding Alumnus Award

    The Outstanding Alumnus Award is given in recognition for outstanding and uncommon service to the Alumni Association and Maine Maritime Academy. This year’s recipients are Chet Manuel ’67 and Mark Coté ’83.

    Sherri & Coronado Hickman
    Wall of Honor

    This year, we are honored to induct Captain Sherri Hickman ’85 of the Houston Pilots Association. Capt. Hickman graduated from MMA with a degree in Nautical Science.

    Following graduation, Hickman sailed with Marine Transport Lines, obtaining her 2nd Mate license. She then sailed for Keystone shipping, where she accumulated the sea time and experience to earn her USCG Captain’s license. She was the first female Master for Keystone Shipping.

    She was also the first woman to be voted into the Houston (TX) Pilot Association, where she is a partner, a bay pilot, and past vice president and training master. A very busy port, Houston consistently ranks first in the U.S. in foreign waterborne tonnage; first in U.S. imports; first in U.S. export tonnage, and second in the U.S. in total tonnage.

    She was featured in the PBS film Shipping Out, The Story of American Seafaring Women, in 2007. Filmed on board merchant ships in coastal waters from Alaska to New York, Shipping Out looks at the little-known history of women and seafaring in America.

    Her list of professional accomplishments and service is lengthy and admirable.

    Chaet Manuel Photo
    Outstanding Alumnus Award

    Chester “Chet” Manuel received his Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering, a U.S. Coast Guard license, and a commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1967. He was involved in many extracurricular activities, serving as Class Treasurer, top runner on the cross-country team, and first Battalion Commander Regimental Officer and he graduated first in his class.

    Following graduation, he began sailing later that same day on a Gulf Oil Corp. tanker and stayed at sea until 1972, when he was hired as a Project Engineer for Brown Paper Company in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In 1979, he became Project Manager for Scott Paper Company / S.D. Warren Company and Sappi Fine Paper Company in Skowhegan, Maine and managed various and challenging projects including major additions and rebuilds. He was the liaison with various government agencies to assure compliance for the safety of personnel and the laws and regulations of the state and federal agencies.

    Since 2006, he has been semi-retired, while doing some consulting work and traveling.

    His service to alumni started as a founding member of the Bangor Seadogs Alumni Chapter, where he served as Treasurer from 2000-2010. He was also involved in helping start the Kennebec Valley (Waterville), Maine Chapter of the MMA Alumni Association.

    From 2006 to 2020, Manuel served as a Director on the MMA Alumni Association Board. He has also been the organizer for his Class of 1967 for class reunions, mini-musters and fundraising initiatives over the years.

    Mark Cote Photo
    Mark Coté ’83
    Outstanding Alumnus Award

    Mark Coté received his Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering in April 1983. He has been a professor of engineering at the Academy since September 1992 with the exception of a stint as instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy (1999-2001).

    In January of 2020, Coté accepted the position of acting provost, while a professional search was underway. He had only been in the position for little more than two months when the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic was recognized and, within three months of taking the position, he had to cancel all classes, send all students home, ramp up the entire academic capability to transition to online instruction, and preside over the complete retooling of the academy as it attempted to address its responsibility to the students.

    While overseeing all aspects of alternative delivery of programs, Coté was significantly involved in the development of the Fast Cruise and served as the senior training officer and a watchstander. President William Brennan notes, “During this time of deep challenge to the academy, Mark went above and beyond what would be expected of a dedicated employee – he demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to his alma mater and the academy’s success in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is largely due to Mark’s unstinting efforts.”

  • Alumni Board Election

    The biannual election of MMA Alumni Association officers and board members was conducted this summer. Voter turnout for new officers and board members was the largest in recent years, with alumni casting more than 700 ballots.

    Elected as officers for two-year terms are: Bill Full ’76, Cumberland, ME, president; Frank Tepedino ’58, San Diego, CA, vice president; Cal Lechman ’65, Harpswell, ME, treasurer; and Andrew Strosahl ’05, Dover, NH, agent (clerk).

    Board members elected to a four–year term are incumbents Myles Block ’06, Bangor, ME; Mary Hutchins ’11, Grantham, NH; and Shawn Longfellow ’86, Leland, NC.

    Newly elected members include Paul Gallagher ’87, Seattle, WA; Curt Nehring ’71, Chinook, WA; Jim Proulx ’85, Concord, NH; and Ron Ward ’80, Anchorage, AK.

    MMA Alumni not on the board are invited and encouraged to offer input and actively participate in board committee work. If interested, contact

  • advancement
    Alfond Challenge Success

    In September, President Brennan announced the receipt of a $750,000 grant to support MMA scholarships, thanks to the generosity and spirit of 1,797 alumni and many other friends and donors.

    In 2017, the Alfond Foundation challenged MMA to raise a cumulative total of $2.25 million and increase the alumni participation rate to 20% in annual fund giving over three fiscal years. Vision 20|20 raised over $2.7 million and reached 24.5% alumni participation by the end of fiscal year 2020, June 30th.

    “We have increased our alumni participation rate by 15% in the last decade, which is a significant accomplishment,” said President Brennan. “This momentum, due in large part to the challenge and the energy of our alumni, will propel Maine Maritime Academy toward the goal of creating a culture of giving to ensure the school’s sustainability well into the future.”

    Alumni participation now in giving aligns the Academy with some of the very best private colleges in the U.S.

    Approximately 80 percent of MMA students require need-based scholarship assistance annually. The $750,000 grant will be added to the Harold Alfond Engineering Scholarship Fund, established in 2014.

    “We are extremely grateful for our outstanding staff and our dedicated Alumni Advancement Committee, a group of 38 alumni volunteers who emailed, called, wrote letters, and reached out to classmates via social media to encourage support for the academy,” said Capt. Larry D. Burrill ’77, Alumni Advancement Committee Chair.

    “We are so pleased that Maine Maritime Academy not only met this challenge, but substantially surpassed it,” said Harold Alfond Foundation Executive Chairman, Greg Powell. “Our goal was to assist the Academy in creating a culture of giving, and by raising well over the challenge goal of $2.2 million and reaching 24.5% alumni participation, this fine school is well on its way.”

    Alumni participation now aligns the Academy with some of the very best private colleges in the US. This expression of the value of an MMA education is further highlighted by recent “Best Colleges” and “Best Return on Investment” rankings as reported by US News and World Report, The Washington Post, and Money.

    Help maintain the momentum of this success at

John Burns III ’85
51 Ash Lane
Hermon, ME 04401

Samuel Rowe ’65
195 Eagle Drive
Mashpee, MA 02649

Pat Zrioka ’87

Rich Slack ’93
32 Joy Lane
Uncasville, CT 06382

Tom Lord ’87

David Knapp ’86
5008 Longfellow Avenue
Tampa, FL 33629

Jon Fortier ’86
5 West Baker Street
Winslow, ME 04901

Ben Cameron ’93
Brunswick, ME

Michael Chambers ’80
2233 21st Street
San Francisco, CA 94116

David Lane ’68
St. Augustine, FL

Juan Molino ’89

Lindsey Pinkham ’04
111 Greenwood Avenue
Warren, ME 04864

Minh Harriman ’90

Mike Grigware ’87
30 Riverview Drive
Biddeford, ME 04005

Norman Laskay ’62
5848 Catina Street
New Orleans, LA 70124

Capt. Jay Stewart ’00

Ralph Staples ’71
299 OakValley Lane
Escondido, CA 92027

Sherri Hickman ’85

Michael T. Ward ’10
Virginia Beach, VA

Josh Collamer ’98
Silver Spring, MD

Jason Grabelle ’98
Ellicott City, MD

  • alumni news
    Mariner Survey Results

    Three years ago, alumni were surveyed to evaluate the editorial and design of Mariner magazine. Generally, readers liked what they saw. A recent new survey that asked many of the same questions indicates readers are even more pleased with subsequent issues.

    Nearly 450 alumni responded and more than half indicated they obtained most of their news about MMA from the magazine. Eighty-five percent read every issue. Rated “excellent” were the magazine’s covers (70%); and more than half of respondents also rated the magazine’s photography, writing, and ease of reading excellent. Favorite topics were classmate updates, news about strategic plans, and MMA academics.

    The many story suggestions submitted are greatly appreciated by the magazine editors.

MARINERS: Stay in Touch

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