June 27th 2019

MM&P President Don Marcus addressed members of the Kings Point Class of 2019 at the USMMA commencement ceremony on June 15, congratulating them on their achievements and “for making the decision to enroll in the academy and become a part of our great industry.”

In his remarks, Marcus, who graduated from Kings Point in 1979, said the Class of 2019 will discover, as he did, that their “education has just begun.”

“Life is a great teacher and aboard ship, as you may have discovered during your sea-year, your best teachers may be from the most unlikely sources and the lessons may be painful at times. But as you have learned at this institution, perseverance, determination and a willingness to listen and grow will see you through the challenges ahead.”

He spoke of maritime labor’s role in passing legislation that protects American mariners’ rights and ensures them family-supporting wages, health care and retirement security.

“Unions were built around the concept of mutual respect and collective action,” he noted.

“In your careers, you will be working with men and women from all sections of society and walks of life.”

“Where you came from–Kings Point, across the water at Fort Schuyler, up the hawsepipe–means very little aboard ship. It is what you know, what you do and how you treat others that have meaning.”

He urged the graduates to maintain the skills necessary to adapt to technical change and to prepare themselves to make difficult choices.

“Do your duty at all times as a merchant marine officer,” he said. “And remember the old adage: the schedule is more flexible than the ship.”

“Don’t be that officer who remains silent when safety issues need to be addressed, but in saying that make absolutely certain that you always leave a paper trail that protects you in discharging your duty,” he said.

“There is no substitute for knowledge and experience,” he added.

“Learn your job. Look around and figure out what the individual who is supervising you is doing and why. Look at the big picture.”

“As professional mariners, if you know your job and persevere–and we know the Class of 2019 can persevere–you will succeed,” he said.