Gov. Baker to Give MMA Commencement Speech, Receive Honorary Degree

Mass Maritime - 1BUZZARDS BAY – Massachusetts Maritime Academy is holding its 2016 Commencement Saturday and Governor Charlie Baker will be a special guest.

Baker will be one of three people to receive honorary degrees from the institute and will also deliver the commencement address.

MMA President Admiral Francis McDonald said he is excited to have the governor on campus.

“It will be his first visit down to the campus as governor,” McDonald said. “We’ve had a great working relationship with the administration.”

McDonald said the academy’s message on campus and what they do has been well received by Baker.

“We are excited to have him down and to connect him to this graduating class in perpetuity,” he said.

Retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral Manson Brown, who currently serves as an assistant secretary of commerce in President Barack Obama’s administration, and retiring academy board of trustees member Major Paul Kelly, who served with the Marine Corps Reserves and as a Secret Service agent, will also receive honorary degrees.

McDonald said commencement day is always an incredible day on campus.

“It represents four years of a lot of hard work by the young men and women who are graduating,” he said.

McDonald praised the academy’s ability to graduate its students and said it continues to be at the top of the list for graduation rate in New England.

The academy also offers its students a great opportunity to find employment immediately following graduation.

McDonald attributes the employment opportunities to the school’s philosophy of education, including 100 percent STEM degrees, six months experience of real world co-ops and the regiment of cadets stressing teamwork, followship and leadership.

“It’s a formula we have been using for 125 years and I think we are seeing that really taking off in the industries that we serve,” McDonald said.

McDonald said this year’s graduates are heading out into a changing and difficult market.

“The oil exploration offshore markets are fairly flat so one of the biggest employment areas is probably cutting back,” he said. “We are looking at our graduates looking at different areas – containerships, tug and barge industry and supporting the armed services with the military sealift command.”

McDonald said there are opportunities and cadets will spend time this summer trying to make the final decision on which way they want to go.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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