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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

The United States Merchant Marine Academy Announces 2015 Commencement Speaker

KINGS POINT, N.Y., June 10, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administrator, Paul N. Jaenichen, Sr., will deliver the 79th Commencement address at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point on Saturday, June 20, 2015, Rear Admiral James A. Helis announced today. This year, USMMA will award degrees to 227 midshipmen.

“The United States Merchant Marine Academy is honored to have the Maritime Administrator as our commencement speaker. His lifetime of exemplary service as a leader of character makes him an outstanding role model for the Class of 2015 and all at the Academy,” Helis said.

Paul “Chip” Jaenichen was appointed by President Obama and sworn in as Maritime Administrator on July 25, 2014. Before his appointment, Administrator Jaenichen served as Acting Administrator beginning in June 2013. He joined the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration in July 2012 when he was appointed Deputy Maritime Administrator.

Captain Jaenichen was a career naval officer, retiring in 2012 after serving 30 years as nuclear trained Submarine Officer in the U.S. Navy. His final assignment was as Deputy Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy from October 2010 to April 2012. He served as Commanding Officer of USS ALBANY (SSN 753), a Los Angeles Class Fast Attack Submarine, from September 1999 to June 2002 and as Commander, Submarine Squadron ELEVEN in San Diego, California from April 2007 to September 2008. His shore tours included assignments as Director, Submarine/Nuclear Officer Distribution where he was responsible for career progression and assignment of over 5200 officers; as Officer-in-Charge of Moored Training Ship 635, one of two nuclear powered training platforms in Charleston, South Carolina, where he was responsible for initial operational training and qualification of over 1200 officer and enlisted operators annually; and as Chief, European and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Policy Division on the Joint Staff where he was responsible for military-to-military engagement on security cooperation and involvement in coalition operations with all 26 NATO member nations.

Captain Jaenichen’s hometown is Brandenburg, Kentucky. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University. His personal military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards) and the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards). His wife, Paula Auclair Jaenichen, is a retired National Board Certified teacher and is currently a small business owner in Vine Grove, KY.

“Each year USMMA educates and graduates the world’s best trained mariners and future transportation leaders,” said Jaenichen. “The faculty and staff at the Academy have ensured that today's graduates become an integral part of a maritime tradition that has protected and provided for our Nation for more than two centuries.”

USMMA is a federal service academy that educates and graduates licensed merchant mariners and leaders of exemplary character who serve America’s marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war. With 95 percent of the world’s products transported over water, these leaders are vital to the effective operation of our merchant fleet for both commercial and military transport. Academy graduates abide by the motto “Acta Non Verba" - deeds not words. USMMA is administered by the U. S. Maritime Administration under the auspices of the U. S. Department of Transportation.

Class of 2029 Applications Open 1 May 2024