More than 100 graduate from SUNY Maritime

The following is the text of a news release from the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College:

(THROGGS NECK, N.Y.) — More than 100 students crossed the stage to receive their degrees at State University of New York Maritime College on Jan. 29. 

Graduates represent 15 fields of study, a quarter of them at the graduate level. More than 60 of them will also graduate with U.S. Coast Guard licenses, the necessary certification to sail on an American ship as part of the merchant marine.

“Some of you will be sailing on your license for the first time. Some will be working in other areas of the maritime industry and others may be pursuing other opportunities,” said Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, president of SUNY Maritime. “As you prepare to leave us and begin your professional career, I want to encourage you to always be a person of exceptional character by always acting with the utmost integrity and respect.”

SUNY Maritime’s graduates come from 15 New York counties, 12 other states and three other countries. 

Morton Bouchard III, president and CEO of Bouchard Transportation Co. Inc., gave the commencement address and received an honorary doctoral degree from SUNY Maritime.

During his address, Bouchard encourages SUNY Maritime graduates to support the Jones Act, the national legislation that protects the American merchant marine, and to give back to their alma mater. He also advised them in their careers to focus on safety and operating safely above all else.

Bouchard is the fourth generation of his family to lead Bouchard Transportation, the largest flat-deck double-hull petroleum barge company in the country. He began his career with the company’s operations department in 1980. In response to the 1990 Oil Pollution Act that threatened the future of the company, Bouchard helped to institute the first double-hull barge construction program in the country.

He was promoted to the company’s president in 1996 when he was 32 and became CEO three years later. Since then, Bouchard Transportation has been honored for its commitment to safety with multiple awards. Bouchard was elected to the Maritime Hall of Fame in 2013.

Bouchard Transportation employs many SUNY Maritime graduates and, with an eye to strengthening maritime education, the company donated SUNY Maritime’s Bouchard Tug and Barge Simulation Center, which opened in 2014. It is used by students and maritime professionals. Annually, the company awards three scholarships in honor of Bouchard’s father, Morton S. Bouchard Jr.

By Professional Mariner Staff