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U.S. Merchant Marine Academy celebrates 78th Commencement

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy celebrates 78th Commencement

Since the early days of this nation, U.S. mariners have been central to our economy and to our security. And they continue to play a central role today.

That's why supporting the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, NY is paramount to the Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration. It's why we've invested significantly in the academy's capital improvement plan--including ongoing barracks renovation, a rebuilt Mallory Pier, and the new T/V Kings Pointer.

And it's why Acting Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen and I were so thrilled to join the Kings Point community last Saturday for the academy's 78th commencement.

Photo of traditional hats-off moment at 2014 Kings Point commencement

Whatever we have done to improve the Kings Point campus and its facilities, the responsibility is now on the academy's graduates to uphold the American mariner's longstanding tradition of service and leadership. And the Class of 2014 is up to the job.

Whether they serve as licensed officers on U.S.-flagged vessels or as active duty officers in our Armed Forces, each of this year's 225 graduates will contribute to our nation's commerce--feeding, clothing, and supplying us with the everyday essentials and high-tech tools that are part of our lives--or to our national defense.

And as they continue to grow as individuals, as officers, and as transportation leaders, I know these young men and women will hold fast to the traditions they've learned at Kings Point. Because although our world is always changing, the academy's traditions of honor, integrity, and dedication will always retain their value.

As this year's commencement speaker--Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Vice Admiral Michelle Janine Howard--said of our graduates, "They will continue a tradition of excellence and uphold the academy's motto, Deeds, not Words."

I congratulate academy superintendent RADM James Helis, the USMMA faculty, and the entire Kings Point community.

And most of all, on behalf of the entire DOT, congratulations to the Class of 2014!

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