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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

USMMA Announces Speakers for Class of 2022 Graduation

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, TRANSCOM Commander General Jacqueline Van Ovost, and MARAD Administrator Ann Phillips to speak

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (June 8, 2022) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) today announced that the keynote speaker at the 86th Commencement Exercises will be the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg.  He will be joined by General Jacqueline Van Ovost, Commanding Officer of the U.S. Transportation Command, who will be the distinguished graduation speaker.  The Maritime Administrator, Rear Admiral Ann Phillips (USN, Ret.), will also speak.

The upcoming commencement ceremony honoring the Class of 2022 will be held at Kings Point on June 18, at 9 a.m. The 86th Commencement Exercises will be open to all spectators. The annual event will be held on Tomb Field in Brooks Stadium, and will also be livestreamed to those interested in viewing.

“We are honored to welcome Secretary Buttigieg to his first graduation at USMMA.  We are also very pleased to welcome back families and friends to the annual graduation event after two years that were affected by the pandemic,” said Vice Admiral Jack Buono, 13th Superintendent at USMMA. “The Class of 2022 has embodied our motto of Acta Non Verba for the last four years, and we have high hopes for their success as they leave the Academy.”

The slate of speakers is rounded out by distinguished Alumnus speaker, Mr. Michael Toop, who is retiring after 17 years as head coach of the USMMA football team.

Pete Buttigieg currently serves as the 19th Secretary of Transportation, having been sworn in on Feb. 3, 2021. Prior to joining the Biden-Harris Administration, Secretary Buttigieg served two terms as mayor of his hometown of South Bend, Ind. A graduate of Harvard University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Buttigieg served for seven years as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, taking a leave of absence from the mayor’s office for a deployment to Afghanistan in 2014.

Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost is the 14th Commander of U.S. Transportation Command, one of 11 combatant commands in the Department of Defense. USTRANSCOM’s mission is to project and sustain military power globally in order to assure our friends and allies, deter potential adversaries, and if necessary, respond to win decisively. Gen. Van Ovost graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1988 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. She also holds master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, and Military Arts and Sciences, and Strategic Studies from the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

USMMA Head Football Coach Mike Toop '77 recently announced his retirement after a 45-year coaching career. During that time, and after he graduated from USMMA, he coached six years at the high school level, sailed on his USCG license, and fulfilled his commitment to the U.S. Navy. Toop has spent the last 39 years coaching at seven different collegiate institutions; the last 17 of which were at USMMA.

The 86th Commencement Exercises will be livestreamed starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 18. Livestream details will be released at a later date.



The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, N.Y, educates and graduates leaders of exemplary character who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation, and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Academy, which was established under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1943. It is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.

On the web: U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

On Facebook: @USMMAOfficial

On Twitter: @USMMAo


George Rhynedance

Tel:  516-726-6048


Last updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2022

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