MMA receives $10 million gift, launches campaign

CASTINE — Maine Maritime Academy has launched a $20 million fundraising campaign and has received a lead gift of $10 million — the largest philanthropic gift MMA has ever received.

MMA President William J. Brennan announced the campaign launch last week: Opening Doors, Changing Lives: the Scholarship Campaign for Maine Maritime Academy.

“When we reach our campaign goal, we will double the amount of aid available to MMA students,” Brennan said.

“Currently, we can’t compete with schools that have large endowments or are able to offer tuition discounts to prospective students,” Brennan said. “We have approximately 80 percent of our students requiring need-based aid and we want them to be able to afford an MMA education regardless of their financial circumstances.”

As for the $10 million donation, that gift is a bequest through the estate of Captain William L. Bullard, MMA Class of 1959, the president said.

Bullard died in 2018 after leading a life deeply connected with the sea. He sailed as a master mariner for 10 years before becoming a pilot, working in ports ranging from the Caribbean and Hawaii to Panama and Alaska. He was also a U.S. Navy veteran.

“He was a very private man known for his frugality,” said John Carpenter, who is the late captain’s estate trustee. “As someone who worked very hard professionally, I think he would be pleased to know how his gift will enhance the future of MMA and its reputation for excellence.”

A kickoff event was held on March 28 to celebrate the launch of the campaign, to thank donors, and to connect them with students who are scholarship recipients.

During the event, $100,000 was contributed in cash and pledges to add to $3.9 million raised during a quiet phase of the campaign, bringing the total raised to date to $14 million. The campaign is slated to run through June of 2022.

According to the alumni co-chairs for the campaign, there is more than a financial target at stake.

“Our goal is $20 million, but we are focused on building a culture of giving at MMA. We have a short fundraising history, so it’s important that our alumni, faculty, staff and students become educated and involved in giving to help build a sustainable future for MMA,” said Capt. Larry D. Burrill, MMA Class of 1977.

For more information on Opening Doors, Changing Lives: the Scholarship Campaign for Maine Maritime Academy, visit

Maine Maritime Academy is a coeducational, public college on the coast of Maine offering programs of study in engineering, management, science and transportation. The college serves approximately 950 undergraduate and graduate students in career-oriented degree programs.

The annual job placement rate for MMA graduates is approximately 90 percent within 90 days of graduation.

The college is consistently recognized for providing a high-value education by organizations such as the Brookings Institution, U.S. News and World Report, and Money Magazine.

For more information, visit

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