July 14, 2016

Dear Maritime College Community,

I can’t believe we are already more than halfway through the summer. While most of our students are gaining practical experience during summer sea term on board the Empire State VI, on commercial ships for cadet shipping, or at various shore-side internships, there is also a great deal happening on campus.

Around Europe in 90 Days

Every berth is full aboard the Empire State VI as our cadets sail the Atlantic, the eastern Mediterranean Sea and up the west coast of Europe, visiting Norfolk, Virginia; Trieste, Italy; Dublin, Ireland; Mallorca and Barcelona, Spain; and Valletta, Malta.

At each port, students have been taking advantage of educational and cultural opportunities.

The first port of call was Norfolk, where, in addition to hosting over 150 alumni and friends for a reception on board the ship, students were welcomed for visits at a number of local companies including Colonna Shipyard and CMA CGM, a leading container shipping company. With the assistance of alumni at each location visited, the students received outstanding access and insight into potential career paths.

After transiting the Atlantic and Strait of Gibraltar, the ship arrived in Trieste, the home of the Wärtsilä marine engine factory.  There, 100 students and faculty were treated to a half-day of presentations and factory tours. I was lucky enough to join this visit and can say first-hand that it was an outstanding educational experience for all. An extensive agenda was coordinated by Wärtsilä and the college with the aim of offering the cadets the opportunity to learn first-hand how a production facility is managed. Technical presentations highlighted key topics of interest for the students, which among other topics included dual-fuel technologies. We left Wärtsilä’s 1.8 million square-foot facility with a greater understanding of the stages involved in assembling a Wärtsilä engine.

I was also honored to host the president and other members of the Wärtsilä Italy management team for a dinner on board the Empire State VI. Our partnerships with Wärtsilä and other leaders in the maritime industry are extremely important to our continued growth as a maritime college.

After Trieste, the ship sailed to Dublin, where 278 underclass cadets who sailed on the first half of cruise made way for the 254 cadets arriving for the second half of cruise. Just over 200 first-class cadets remained on board for the final days of their sea-time license requirements.

The Empire State will return to Olivet Pier Aug. 8. A few days later, the cycle starts again with indoctrination beginning on Aug. 10, and classes Aug. 22.

All is Not Quiet on the Homefront

Back on campus, there is much activity with over 40 renovation and improvement projects. Two of the largest include a new Academic Success Center and renovation of our science labs.

An Academic Success Center is being built in the library with funding made possible through a competitive grant the college was awarded by SUNY administration. This versatile glass-walled classroom will preserve Fort Schuyler’s original features and expand the college’s tutoring program and create a dedicated space for workshops and guest speakers.

In Marvin-Tode Hall, two marine environmental science labs have been combined to make one large room. Funds for this project were a direct result of donations received to the Sallyport fund by alumni and friends. The new laboratory will accommodate biology, environmental science and oceanography. In addition to state-of-the-art equipment, the lab includes instruments for undergraduates to conduct original research.

Projects such as these are essential to ensuring student success and academic excellence: key elements of our Maritime College core values.

Looking Ahead

In the coming year, we will be updating the college’s strategic plan to set the course for continued success and growth in alignment with our mission, vision and core values. The process will involve faculty, staff, students, alumni and industry partners.

While the outcome will help to define our future, the process is extremely important. In the coming weeks, I will announce our strategic planning committee which membership will consist of a broad and diverse group of stakeholders.

As always, I encourage your engagement and can be reached at president@sunymaritime.edu

Have a great summer!

All the best,

Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, USMS, Ph.D.


State University of New York, Maritime College