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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

USMMA announces Graduation Plans for Class of 2020

Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao to speak

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (June 11, 2020) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) today announced plans to conduct a semi-virtual commencement ceremony at Kings Point, on June 20, at 9 a.m.

The 84th Commencement will be closed to spectators, but livestreamed to those interested in viewing. The event will be held near the USMMA War Memorial, a monument to those from USMMA that lost their lives in World War II.

“Given the challenges the Class of 2020 has endured since the beginning of the pandemic, we are very pleased to be able to return them to Kings Point for licensing examinations and commencement,” said Rear Admiral Jack Buono, 13th Superintendent at USMMA. “This will be the first time USMMA has conducted a commencement ceremony in this manner.”

The distinguished speaker slate is headed by keynote speaker the Honorable Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of Transportation, who will participate in the ceremony virtually. She will be joined by the Honorable Mark H. Buzby, U.S. Maritime Administrator, distinguished industry speaker Christopher J. Wiernicki, Chairman, President & CEO of American Bureau of Shipping, and distinguished Alumnus, Mr. Brian Coyne, Managing Director of KPI Bridge Oil in the Americas.

Secretary Chao is the 18th Secretary of Transportation and the featured graduation speaker for the 84th Commencement exercises. The Secretary oversees the operating administrations of the Department of Transportation – which includes the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy - and coordinates policies to provide an efficient and economical national transportation system. She is the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to the President's cabinet in American history. As U.S. Secretary of Transportation, she is a strong advocate for safety, and the importance of infrastructure and innovation in our nation’s economic competitiveness and growth. Secretary Chao has had a distinguished career in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, which included service as the Secretary of Labor, the Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, the Deputy Maritime Administrator, President and CEO of United Way of America and Director of the Peace Corps.

“We are very pleased to welcome Secretary Chao to the first ever semi-virtual graduation at USMMA,” said Buono. “It will be an historic event in an historic location at the Academy, and we look forward to her message to the graduating Midshipmen.”

The graduation ceremony, normally held in USMMA’s Brooks Stadium, will be held this year at the Academy’s War Memorial, a monument on the Long Island campus that honors the 210 graduates and Cadet-Midshipmen that perished at sea during World War II. It will feature a significant virtual component with video speech submissions, live broadcast, and will be held observing current CDC guidelines for social distancing.

The 84th Commencement exercises will be livestreamed starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 20. The actual ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. 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

Last updated: Thursday, June 11, 2020

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