ABS donates $2.5M to Maine Maritime for green classroom

The following is the text of a press release issued by Maine Maritime Academy:
(CASTINE, Maine) — Maine Governor John E. Baldacci announced earlier
today a $2.5 million gift to Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) from ABS ([
http://www.eagle.org/ ]American Bureau of Shipping). The gift is the
largest single corporate gift to the Maine public post-secondary
institution in the college’s 67 year history.
Governor Baldacci praised the expanded mission of ABS to support maritime education and research around the world and thanked ABS Chairman and CEO, Robert D. Somerville, for the gift to the college on behalf of the people of Maine.  The gift
was announced as part of a brief ceremony and press conference held
earlier today on the Castine college campus recognizing the leadership and
support to the college by the international ship classification society.
Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, students, staff, and faculty
of Maine Maritime Academy, MMA President Leonard Tyler unveiled
preliminary plans for a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly
classroom building to be named in honor of ABS. While still in the
preliminary planning stages, the ABS Center for Applied Engineering and
Research is slated to occupy a central location on campus and is
envisioned to serve as an educational hub to student residences, student
dining and social facilities, and other classroom and athletic spaces.
The proposed facility will embrace a whole-building approach to green
technology and will serve as a model of energy efficiency with a focus on
alternative energy sources. Accordingly, the building’s energy sources
will be visible and will be used as experiential teaching tools. The
facility will incorporate a renewable and alternative energy laboratory
and include a co-generation plant. The proposed building is planned to be
40% more efficient than a conventional classroom building. In keeping with
the college’s emphasis on student-faculty interaction and small class
size, the new building’s technologically advanced classrooms will be
strategically located near faculty offices to enable an enhanced level of
ABS, a leading international classification society, is devoted to
promoting the security of life, property, and the marine environment
through the development and verification of standards for the design,
construction, and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.
“ABS wants to be a catalyst for helping to make American maritime colleges
and universities the best in the world. It is our sincere hope that this
commitment is the start of what will continue for generations to come here
on the Maine Maritime Academy campus and beyond,” said Somerville.  The
ABS donation is the first of several the class society will be making over
the next year to fund infrastructure on the campuses of major U.S. based
maritime institutions.
In his remarks, Tyler, an ABS Board member himself, noted that ABS is
keenly very aware of a contemporary shortage of highly-trained personnel
in the shipping industry. He cited their leadership in providing
broad-based solutions to the situation through various means, including
awards of sizable scholarships to students at Maine Maritime Academy and
other maritime colleges.
“Their [ABS] donation of $2.5 million is the most significant corporate
gift we have ever received,” said Tyler.  “ABS already employs many of our
graduates and we hope that in years to come, they, and other companies
involved in the shipping industry, will continue to benefit from the
training our students receive.”
An artist’s rendition revealed modern architectural styling and a dramatic
staging of the building into the college’s hillside typography.  The new
building will feature high tech classrooms, laboratories, simulators, and
faculty offices all in a centralized location. Pending necessary
permitting and approvals, groundbreaking is planned for 2010 with a
completion date of summer 2011.
According to Tyler, the ABS Center for Applied Engineering and Research
will be a key component of the college’s engineering programs,
historically the most popular area of study at the college. It will also
provide a center for research activities currently underway at MMA,
including applied research on marine thermoelectrics, engine heat
recovery, engine emissions, and propulsion efficiency. It will also
support research efforts focusing on renewable energy in the areas of
tidal and offshore wind power.
Tyler went on to thank the ABS Board of Directors and the nearly 4,000 ABS
employees worldwide for their generosity. He also personally thanked
Somerville, a 1965 graduate of the college and a standing Trustee, for his
commitment of time and energy to the furtherance of maritime education and
the college.
The ABS donation to Maine Maritime Academy underscores an ongoing
partnership between the college and the internationally recognized ship
classification society to develop and employ highly-skilled technical
professionals to advance the safety of worldwide marine transportation.
MMA and ABS are also exploring opportunities for joint research projects.
By Professional Mariner Staff