KINGS POINT, N.Y., July 24, 2015 - U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today joined Maritime Administrator, Paul N. Jaenichen, Superintendent, Rear Admiral James A. Helis, and Academic Dean, Shashi N. Kumar, PhD, at the United States Merchant Marine Academy’s (USMMA) annual Academic Convocation to celebrate the beginning the 2014-2015 Academic Year.
Secretary Foxx addressed the Academy’s faculty, staff and Regiment of Midshipmen, noting that “the charge of this academy is not solely to produce individuals who have impressive degrees and licenses; although that is important. Its charge is to produce folks who will lead. Its charge is to cultivate men and women who can advance the work of previous generations who’ve designed and built and operated the greatest systems of transportation and defense the world has ever seen.”
Foxx continued, “you are the people who will develop technological breakthroughs, who will supply our armed services with the supplies they need, who will answer the call of disaster relief, who will move our economy, and who will serve as officers in our armed services. And your experiences here are going to guide you through every step of your service and professional life. You always will stand out from the crowd because of your discipline, technical skills, and ability to solve problems are second to none.”
Admiral Helis challenged the Regiment of Midshipmen, noting “for all of you—make the most of every day here and at sea. Every day, ask yourself, what did I learn today, and what will I do tomorrow to make myself a better leader? If you really think about it, each day you will have answers.” He reminded them, “you have been given a great gift by the American people: a world class, multidimensional leadership development experience. You owe it to yourselves and the nation to make the most of it. Don’t ever forget that Kings Point is tough because being a leader of character is tough.”
Dr. Kumar encouraged the Regiment of Midshipmen, “I firmly believe that every midshipman on this voyage has the potential to excel academically; the very fact that you are admitted here is a solid testimony to your tenacity, to your self-discipline, and your determination to lead and succeed.” He continued, “we will do all that is possible to help you succeed. We have a team of highly dedicated faculty, coaches and staff who are committed to work with you and help you complete the voyage you are undertaking.”