Alumni News


Why I give to Maine Maritime Academy

Timothy S. Jackson ’97

Timothy S. jackson

Timothy S. Jackson ’97

I have long known I owe much of my success in life to my experience at Maine Maritime Academy. I give gladly to the Academy, both to thank the institution for the life it helped me create, and to help the Academy offer that opportunity to others. Here’s my story.

I graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1997 with a degree in nautical science. I also volunteered for a commission in the United States Naval Reserve. For two years following graduation, I followed the same path as many of my classmates: I went to sea for shipping companies. But I quickly realized that such a career, while adventurous, exciting, and well-paying, was not the career for me. Beyond often getting seasick in bad storms (something I should have investigated before going to a maritime academy), I knew I wanted to go home to a family every night.

It was hard to think about what else I could do with my specialized degree. Fortunately, I had developed an interest in investing while at sea. I did not have much else to spend my wages on at the time, so figured I should do something vaguely responsible with them. I decided to see if I could parlay my interest in investing into an actual career and began sending résumés to investment banks and asset management firms.

To be honest, my expectations were low. Reading through the résumés of the junior staff members at the firms I was applying to, I saw that nearly all had attended well-known business schools and studied finance and economics. It was hard to believe I had much of a chance. To my surprise, I started receiving invitations for interviews. In no time, I had three job offers from well-respected firms. It seemed incredible that I was having to choose among offers. I selected an analyst position with Northern Trust—a prestigious private bank based in Chicago.

Maine Maritime Academy gave me the skills and habits to succeed, and I remain grateful to this day.

Shortly after starting, I asked my boss why I was chosen. I did not have a business degree or internship. The most I could claim was having read a few books on investing while at sea. My boss replied with two points. The first was maturity. Apparently, I did not carry myself as the typical 23- or 24-year-old. The second was his assertion that anyone who could do the calculations to sail by celestial navigation had all the quantitative skills finance required (a field that had become mathematically driven by the 1990s).

Maine Maritime Academy gave me the skills and habits to succeed, and I remain grateful to this day. The example (and occasional fair reprimand) of the Commandant of Midshipmen, Gunny, and outstanding professors such as Captain William McKinley, taught me the discipline and bearing that would one day land me that job at Northern Trust. From there, the rest seemed easy. I studied for my MBA at night after long days at the bank, but for someone used to standing watch in the middle of the night or getting up early every day for colors, it did not seem all that hard.

I was promoted quickly through Northern Trust and later became a partner at a leading investment consulting firm before I was thirty. I became a principal at a global investment bank, and then co-founded a private equity firm before I was thirty-five. Best of all, I have the wonderful family I dreamed of when I was out to sea as a 22-year-old. I have never forgotten how much of my success I owe to Maine Maritime Academy and the lessons I learned there. They are lessons I still draw upon to this day.

  • Alumni Award winners
    Alumni Award Recipients

    Alumni and campus officials were recognized with the Alumni Banquet during Homecoming 2022.

    Larry Burrill, class of 1977, was named to MMA’s Wall of Honor. After graduating from MMA, Burrill spent 24 years of dedicated service in the United States Navy, retiring in 2001 at the rank of captain. In 1995, he was recognized by the Navy League as the Military Shore Officer of the Year.

    He also received two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, a Navy Achievement Medal, and other service awards.

    In 2006, Burrill co-founded McKean Defense Group, LLC, serving as president until 2021. Burrill provided leadership and focus to meet the formidable challenges the Navy faces. The company had over 650 employees with offices in six U.S. cities when it was purchased by Noblis in May 2021. Noblis is a leading provider of science, technology, and strategic services to the federal government. Since 2010, Burrill has served on the board of Bringing Hope Home, a nonprofit focusing on keeping individuals in their homes following surgery and during their chemo treatments for cancer. Burrill was chair of the Alumni Advancement Committee when MMA secured a $750,000 challenge grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. He also co-chaired Opening Doors, Changing Lives: The Scholarship Campaign for MMA. This $20 million scholarship campaign surpassed its goal ahead of schedule.

    Joe Cote, class of 1982, was awarded Outstanding Alumnus. An original founding member of the Bangor Seadogs Alumni Chapter, Cote later served as its president for eight years and among many achievements, raised over $30,000 to endow a scholarship. In 2010, Cote was elected a member of the MMA Alumni Board of Directors, selected vice president in 2012, and elected its president for two terms in 2016 and 2018. During Cote’s tenure, many beneficial changes and improvements to the operation and support of the Alumni Association were accomplished, including: updating the Association’s bylaws and investment policy, increasing volunteerism, creating the class agent program, developing the Shipmate alumni e-newsletter, pushing alumni giving over $25 million, creating the Deck for All Hands gift for new students, and establishing the Honor Alley for honor classes at Homecoming.

    The Humanitarian Award was created in 2018 to recognize MMA alumni who have distinguished themselves by meritorious participation in an act, operation, or for prolonged service of a humanitarian nature directed toward an individual or groups of individuals. Four alumni have received this award.

    Brian Enos ’04 was recognized for his role as chief mate aboard the American Pride in the at-sea rescue of three people 50 miles off the coast of Tampa, Fla.

    Peter Johnson ’64 was recognized for 17 years of voluntary work as a relief chief engineer aboard Mercy Ships and other humanitarian vessels.

    Maureen Jones-Higgins ’87 was recognized for volunteer service with the World Food Programme following retirement from a 25-year career at sea. Since then, her travels and efforts have spanned the globe, delivering and distributing lifesaving food and essential products to areas devastated by famine, conflict, or natural disaster. In 2020, World Food Programme won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and foster peace in areas of conflict.

    Larry Wade ’64 is a dedicated volunteer and involved in numerous local, regional, and national organizations and causes.

    Dr. William J. Brennan, past MMA president, was conferred an honorary membership in the Maine Maritime Academy Alumni Association. Appointed in 2010, Dr. Brennan led MMA during a time of academic enhancement, record enrollment, highly successful fundraising campaigns, and facility growth.

    Professor Emerita Susan Loomis was conferred an Associate membership in the Maine Maritime Academy Alumni Association. Appointed in 1985, Professor Loomis served MMA as professor, department chair, and served on numerous academic and student service committees. She retired in 2021 as Dean of Faculty after 36 years of service.

  • Delaware Valley and Washington, D.C. Host President Reception and Golf Fundraiser

    Over 25 MMA alumni and guests gathered at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Alexandria, Va., Sept. 28, for an MMA president’s reception. President Paul ’89 previewed his purpose for his Washington visit and his vision for MMA. President Paul addressed the golfers prior to the second annual Delaware Valley/D.C. Golf Classic held the next day at the neighboring Army Navy Country Club. He thanked Larry Burrill ’77, Seiden-Krieger, Atlantic Technical Management, Foss Maritime, R & P Technologies, and Baltimore Pilots for their sponsorship and helping the chapters raise over $12,500 for MMA.

John Burns III ’85

Samuel Rowe ’65

Pat Zrioka ’87

John Gasper ’02

Tom Lord ’87

David Knapp ’86

Crystal Maass ’06</p>

Steve Roy ’78

Ben Cameron ’93

Michael Chambers ’80

Juan Molino ’89

Lindsey Pinkham ’04

Mark Keene ’12

DK Horne ’80

Ben Van Der Like ’16

Capt. Jay Stewart ’00

Ralph Staples ’71

Josh Shaw ’12

Michael T. Ward ’10

Eric Dankewicz ’05

  • Alumni at Seadogs game
    Casco And Seadog Chapter Event Biggest Ever

    Take Me Out to a Sea Dog Baseball Game

    About 150 MMA alumni, family, and friends gathered at Hadlock Field in Portland under the Coca-Cola picnic tent on July 15. It was a beautiful evening for a pre-game barbeque followed by a great baseball game between the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox AA affiliate) and Somerset Patriots (AA Yankees affiliate). Postgame fireworks provided a perfect end to a great evening. Sponsored by the MMA Alumni Association, Casco Bay (Portland) and Sea Dog (Bangor) alumni chapters, the event was very well received, with discussions to schedule this as an annual event. The Sea Dogs won 5–0.

    The Alumni Association will host an event at a Maine Mariners ice hockey game, at the Ice Level Lounge, Cross Arena, Portland, on Friday, Dec. 9. Stay tuned for details. If chapters wish to gather at a similar event or activity in your area, contact the Alumni Relations Office at

  • Cooked lobsters
    Southern California Lobster Feed

    When it comes to live Maine lobster, it seems that the SoCal Chapter can’t resist! Over 50 alumni, family, friends, and guests gathered on Saturday, July 23, to enjoy the chapter’s 42nd annual lobster picnic in San Diego’s ZLAC Rowing Club in the Pacific Beach neighborhood. It was a quintessential sunny San Diego day with near-perfect temperatures and a light breeze off the bay. Many stories—including infamous sea stories of unimaginable feats—were shared about their time at MMA. In addition to MMA alums, they had attendees from King’s Point USMMA and California Maritime.

    The picnic serves to bond chapter members by forging community through shared experiences, networking with other alumni, and developing pride in our MMA heritage.

    Thanks to those on the planning committee and the many helpers who did setup, food prep, and serving: Alex Waller ’15 (lobster chef), Michael Curtin ’04, Wade Mondoux ’11, Joan Fulton, Chris Rodriguez ’12, Jason Johnson ’08, Danna Staples, and Ralph Staples ’71. Special thanks to Chris Devlin ’80 for donating the SS United States model, handcrafted by Frank Tepedino ’58, for the raffle to help defray picnic expenses.

Save the Date

International Workboat Show
Nov. 30 - Dec. 2 | New Orleans, LA

Texas Chapter Event
Dec. 8 | Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, Houston, TX

Maine Mariners Hockey
Dec. 9 | Cross Arena, Portland, ME

Jan. 11 | Fort Lauderdale, FL

Jan. 19 | THE BARKER TAVERN, Scituate, MA




Maine Mariners Hockey
Mar. 17 | Cross Arena, Portland, ME

Mar. 24 | XL Center

Class of ’65 Reunion
Jul. 10-13 | MMA Campus

Class of ’73 Reunion
Jul. 19-21 | MMA Campus

For these event details and more:

  • 2022 Alumni Association Election Results

    Following a great response to the 2022 Alumni Association Board elections, here are the results.

    • Bill Full ’76, President
    • Andrew Strosahl ’05, Vice President
    • Cal Lechman ’65, Treasurer
    • Myles Block ’06, Agent
    Term expires 2026 (top vote getters for six positions)
    • Tom Daley ’70
    • Mary “Molly” Eddy ’09
    • Chris Mercer ’88
    • Curt Nehring ’71
    • Jeff Riedel ’86
    • Larry Wade ’64
    There are many ways all alumni can to contribute to the Alumni Association and MMA:
    1. Association committee participation
      1. Communications
      2. Alumni Engagement
      3. Financial Support
      4. Working with Other Entities
      5. Ad hoc committees
    2. Initiate chapter functions, start a chapter, or host a regional event
    3. Admissions Blue and Gold recruiting
    4. Tell us of Co-ops, cadet shipping billets, and jobs
    5. Alum Speaker group . . . what’s your message
      1. . . . . and much more . . .
  • Class Agent Program

    The MMA Alumni Association Class Agent Program turned five years old this past summer. The Class Agent program was created to expand alumni involvement and empower its volunteers to:

    • Improve communication among alumni
    • Build synergy between alumni and MMA to support the missions of the Alumni Association and the Academy
    • Obtain more accurate alumni contact information, with emphasis on reconnecting with ‘lost’ alumni

    In July 2017, Shawn Longfellow ’86, Alumni Association Board member and chair of the Alumni Engagement Committee, sent every alumnus a letter explaining the Class Agent concept and a charge for volunteers. Within the first two months, the Alumni Relations Office received 76 volunteer requests representing 59 of the existing 74 (at that time) classes. Now, 85 volunteer class agents cover 78 classes.

    Including Mariner magazine, Facebook, Shipmate e-newsletter, and periodic email blasts, alumni receive a lot of information. However, these cannot replace the personal touch of a class member’s message about MMA affairs, a function, or submitting a class note, or a reminiscence. The agents have as much fun delivering the news as receiving it.

    “I truly think the Class Agent program has reunited many class year alumni. I know the Class of 1964 enjoys the digital notices and mailings, and individuals often comment on Academy outreach! KUDOS.”
    —LARRY WADE ’64
    “Personally, I like the idea of Class Agents whether or not I get any feedback from my classmates. The info the Alumni Office sends provides an insight to what’s going at the Academy which I’m sure is appreciated by those that read it. I enjoy it. Keep it up.”
    —DOUG WARD ’68
    “…the Class of 1970 has never been more connected thanks to [the] Class Agent Program.”
    —BOB MARTEL ’70
    “I believe that the class agent program was a great idea which has enabled classmates to reunite in a smaller format than the alumni association entity. It brings forth a more personal avenue for classmates to share experiences, ideas, and personal thoughts. Classmates become more involved with each other.”
    —CAPT. RAY MANN ’75
    “I have found the Class Agent program to be helpful in getting information on MMA to my class. I also post the materials on our class Facebook page.”
    “It’s been a pleasure . . . keeping all of us updated on what’s happening at the MMA. Thank you to those who continue to keep in touch and have helped me keep your contact information up to date in the alumni database. It’s been a pleasure to help and give back.”
    —JOSH SHAW ’14

    Thank you, Class Agents, for the personal touch you provide. The memories of shared MMA experiences lend greater meaning and purpose to our efforts.

    Not receiving anything from your Class Agent?
    Contact your Class Agent or with your updated contact address to receive this informative email correspondence.

  • Gallant Ship Award
    Gallant Ship Award

    Capt. Charles Sheahan, SUNY alumnus, visited the MMA campus this summer on a mission: to get contact information for his former shipmate Capt. Thomas Ring ’73. Capt. Sheahan also wanted to make the Academy aware of Ring’s critical role in the events that led to the Tug Stamford receiving the Gallant Ship Award for its actions of June 23, 1986.

    The Gallant Ship Award is presented by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to any U.S. flag or foreign ship “participating in outstanding or gallant action in a marine disaster or other emergency to save life or property at sea.” The award originates from an executive order issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II. The award recognizes excellence and bravery in merchant mariners. Since 1942, just 43 ships have received the Gallant Ship Award.

    According to Capt. Sheahan, “Capt. Ring was serving as chief mate aboard the Tug Stamford and displayed extreme heroism which saved the lives of two dozen New York City firemen along with a crew aboard another tugboat.”

    For Tug Stamford, the Gallant Ship Award citation reads:

    On June 23, 1986, fire broke out at the Hess Oil Terminal, Brooklyn, New York. The fire ignited combustibles on the decks of two tank barges, S.T. 65 and S.T. 85, light with gasoline bottoms, moored at Pier 5. Several Coast Guard vessels, New York City fireboats and commercial tugboats responded to a distress call. At 1920 hours, Tug STAMFORD steamed towards the burning pier. Enroute, the STAMFORD [captained by Sheahan —Ed.] was called by the Tug DAVID MCALLISTER at the scene for assistance. DAVID MCALLISTER main engines were disabled, and she drifted under the bow rake of the burning barge S.T. 65. STAMFORD maneuvered alongside the DAVID MCALLISTER, had lines attached and pulled the disabled vessel clear, averting a collision with the burning barge. Aware of the Coast Guard’s danger warning but also aware that several New York City firemen were in jeopardy, STAMFORD maneuvered toward the burning barge S.T. 65. The barge, known to have explosive gasoline bottoms, was now engulfed in flames. In high winds, dense black smoke and fire, the STAMFORD maneuvered under the bow of the barge and successfully shackled its hawser into the barge’s tow chains [performed by Ring —Ed.] and pulled the barge from the burning pier into New York Harbor where the STAMFORD’s crew, along with New York City firefighters, extinguished the barge fires. The expert seamanship and the skilled teamwork of the crew successfully averted a major disaster and loss of life and earned the name of the STAMFORD to be perpetuated as a Gallant Ship.

    The Stamford crew comprised Sheahan; Ring; Walter Anderson, chief engineer; John Destefanis, AB; Tomas Brody, AB; and Leo Blair, steward.

    Capt. Ring’s actions are a great addition to MMA’s nautical history. Briefly mentioned in the Winter 1989 edition of Alumni News (precursor to the Mariner), this event and those involved epitomize the maritime profession at the highest level and deserves its proper recognition and respect. The Gallant Ship Award is one of the rarest awards bestowed by the U.S. government.

    Are there other alumni involved in an event that led to the Gallant Ship Award? If you are aware of any, please share with

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