Today, Rear Admiral Thomas A. Cropper began his term as president of The California Maritime Academy. President Cropper is the 14th president to serve at the helm of the Academy since its 1929 founding. Below is a message from President Cropper, which is also located on our Presidential Transition Web page.
As I begin my term as president, I am committed to sustaining what is already a world-class institution of maritime learning. The dedicated and talented team of Cal Maritime faculty and staff deliver a unique student-centered education that prepares our student body for unrivaled employment prospects in the vibrant maritime industry. As the only American maritime academy on the Pacific Rim, our university occupies a privileged position that allows our faculty, staff and graduates to explore rich opportunities with Pacific partners in research, scholarship and advancement of the maritime profession.
Our graduates are leaders in the global maritime industry. The discipline and leadership demanded of every maritime professional is imbued in our students through our Corps of Cadets and a superb faculty who bring a passion for teaching along with their extensive professional experiences into the classroom. The Cal Maritime educator team provides a hands-on, project-based learning environment where students apply theory learned in the classroom to real-world challenges. The fine education our graduates receive will soon be complemented with improved infrastructure. We are on the leading edge of an aggressive capital construction program and, over the next three years, we will cut ribbons on a new dining hall, bookstore, police facility, physical education center and Olympic-sized swimming pool.
One of our particular strengths lies in our responsiveness to changes in industry. Over the last decade, Cal Maritime has added buildings, renovated facilities, and modernized laboratory equipment in an amount exceeding $70 million. We enjoy continued success in our state-of-the-art Maritime Simulation Center – by far, the finest in the United States – where we educate aspiring as well as proven mariners and conduct timely research on globally-important maritime issues. Cal Maritime has also developed new degree programs in business, logistics and maritime affairs that capitalize on the growing need for maritime-trained professionals with critical non-license skills.
Private financial support for our unique institution has been a crucial and necessary supplement to state assistance, and has ensured high-quality programs and expanded scholarship support for our growing number of cadets. Having doubled enrollment, increased diversity (35% of our students are under-served minorities and 18% are women) and extended the opportunity for many students who were the first in their families to go to college, Cal Maritime has been and remains a leader in providing affordable, relevant and life-impacting education. It should be no surprise then that the tremendous efforts of our faculty and staff have been recognized nationally by both U.S. News and World Report and Forbes magazines, placing Cal Maritime among the top colleges in the country.
I am honored and privileged to serve with the Cal Maritime team. As we move together more fully into the 21st century, the opportunities in the maritime industry will continue to grow. The hard-earned reputation of The California Maritime Academy will be sustained through our dedicated faculty and staff, eager-to-learn cadets, talented and supportive alumni, and the global maritime industry teams who have routinely and generously supported our future.
Thomas A. Cropper
President, Cal Maritime