Members of Maine Maritime Academy’s 76th graduating class (2019) take the administrative oath required for all new U.S. Merchant Marine officers. FILE PHOTO

MMA to host in-person, students-only graduation

CASTINE — Maine Maritime Academy will hold an in-person, students-only graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021 on Thursday, April 8. This year’s commencement speaker is retired United States Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne.

“I am very pleased to be able to offer this traditional experience to the Class of 2021,” said MMA President William J. Brennan. “Despite having endured so much during this last year, there is also much to celebrate. Nothing could overshadow their accomplishments at MMA.”

The college is nearing the end of the spring academic semester and Brennan credits its ability to maintain in-person instruction to a commitment to safety. In addition to masking and social distancing protocols, MMA has enacted a surveillance testing program for students, faculty and staff.

The campus has been closed to the public since last March. Despite recent changes announced by Governor Janet Mills, that policy will not change. Only graduating students and a limited number of employees will attend the ceremony in-person on April 8. However, the ceremony will be live-streamed on the college’s website and social media so friends and family can participate virtually.

“I wish I could see 1,000 people in our field house celebrating the wonderful accomplishments of their son, daughter, niece, spouse, family member or friend, but we have to keep everyone in this community safe,” said Brennan.

“This is not what anyone expected the end of our career at MMA to look like,” said Hayden Sattler, president of the Class of 2021. “But we will make the most of it and we’re excited about having a chance to celebrate together!”

In addition to commencement activities, the college is planning for a busy summer training season, with five shipboard cruises aboard the T/S State of Maine and the schooner Bowdoin. Correspondingly, the fall semester calendar is being developed to accommodate the co-ops and sea requirements for those students seeking a license in the U.S. Coast Guard. 

“As an educational institution, we must do everything we can to make sure our students meet their academic requirements and graduate on time, despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic,” said Keith Williamson, MMA’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Additional details about the event will be released as they become available and will be shared on the college’s website and social media.

MMA 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. 

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