Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 9, 2019
MMA ships off the 2019 graduates
Secretary of the United States Navy Richard Spencer addresses the graduates during his commencement speech on May 4.
by Monique Labbe
Ten years ago, on May 3, Bill Brennan began his tenure as the president of Maine Maritime Academy. On May 4 of this year, Brennan addressed a graduating class for the ninth time in that role.
“I am confident that your years here at Maine Maritime Academy have given you the knowledge to go out into the world, but the learning does not stop here,” he said to the graduates.
He went on to tell them to seek out experiences where their learning can continue, and to work hard in everything they do.
“Be confident, but be gracious,” he said. “Go out into the world and take what you learned here, and do good with it.”
He also reminded the graduates that they will forever be a part of the Maine Maritime Academy family, and that no matter where they are in the world, they will always have someone with ties to the academy to lean on.
“You touched my life in many different ways, and I’m richer for it. I know that each of you have made lifelong friendships, that you’ll stand up for each other,” he said. “I am confident that you know you are Mariners forever. You’ll help each other, rely on each other and support each other. It is up to you to ensure that you will always be proud to say you graduated from Maine Maritime Academy.”
The graduates were also addressed by Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, who served as the commencement speaker for the event.
Spencer began by congratulating the graduates, and applauding them for achieving what they have over the last four years. He also reminded them that the day was theirs, and that they should take a moment to reflect on what it took to get there.
“Today is literally all about you,” he said. “But as you step forward, remember that you did not get here alone. In the Navy, we recruit individuals, but we retain a family.”
Spencer also asked the graduates to acknowledge the family members sitting behind them, because they “could not have gotten here without those people.”
Just over 200 diplomas were handed out at the commencement ceremony, which included several graduates from the Blue Hill Peninsula and surrounding towns. Those graduates were Josephine Schamle of Penobscot (Master of Science), Erik Bailey of Brooksville, Jennifer Burton of Castine, Carter DeRedin of Bucksport, John Fendl of Ellsworth, James Gillway of Orland, Joseph Maier of Blue Hill, James Markos of Blue Hill, Samuel Reed of Castine, Brandon St. Germain of Ellsworth, Matthew Stewart of Bucksport, Jack Weeks of Ellsworth, and Jeffrey Weeks of Ellsworth, all with Bachelor of Science degrees.