In early 2009, Capt. Robert W. McAllister (D-42) made a gift of $200,000 to Cal Maritime – raising his overall contributions to the school over the $1m mark. McAllister, the largest individual donor to Cal Maritime in its 80-year history, has also indicated he plans to bequeath the balance of his estate to the Academy upon his death.
“We are extremely pleased that Capt. McAllister has continued make these very substantial and generous gifts to Cal Maritime,” said President William B. Eisenhardt. “His initial gifts have provided substantial scholarship support for our cadets. We will be consulting with him about how best to use these additional resources. They come to us at a time of great challenge and of great opportunity. Cal Maritime has experienced substantial growth in enrollment, programs and resources – like our new Simulation Center, residence hall and planned Physical Education/Survival Training Center. They also represent clear signs of the steady growth of private support from business, individuals and foundations which recognize the value and quality of our programs.”
With the intense demand for qualified deck and engineering officers to serve in the U.S. Merchant Marine during WWII, Capt. McAllister rose from 3rd Officer to Master just two years after graduation, and kept that license valid until his retirement, 45 years later, in 1987. Nearly half his career (22 years) was spent as a Panama Canal pilot, and in 1963 he had the proud honor of piloting the Academy Training Ship Golden Bear through the Canal during her summer training cruise that year.
Captain McAllister retired in 1987. Upon his wife’s passing in 2001 and in her memory, he established the Capt. Robert W. and Edith I. McAllister Fund at the California Maritime Academy with an initial gift of $600,000. Subsequent smaller additions, coupled with his latest gift, have pushed his total contributions to his alma mater over the $1m mark.
At the time the Fund was established, Capt. McAllister said, “Since my livelihood was based on what I learned at Cal Maritime, I couldn’t think of a better place to benefit from my life’s work.”