June 19, 2006
Bush to visit Kings Point
President George W. Bush is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at commencement exercises on June 19 for the 202 members of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's class of 2006.
He will be the first sitting U.S. President ever to visit the Academy's campus, located in Kings Point, Long Island, NY.
The members of the class of 2006, who have been trained as merchant marine and Naval Reserve officers, present 34 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The class also includes six students from the Republic of Panama.
During the graduation ceremony, the academy superintendent, Vice Admiral Joseph D. Stewart, will present third mate licenses to 116 members of the class. Third assistant engineer licenses will go to 86 midshipmen. All graduates receive bachelor of science degrees.
Thirty-nine members of the 2006 class are expected to be commissioned for active duty in the Armed Services: 18 in the U.S. Navy: nine in the Marine Corps; seven in the Coast Guard; three in the Air Force; and two in the Army.
Twenty-eight women are part of this year's class, bringing the total number of academy female graduates to 552.
Commencement marks the end of an academic and regimental training process under which each midshipman, in addition to classroom studies, has spent a year at sea in a work-study program aboard various U.S.-flag merchant vessels.
The academy, which is operated by the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1943. Its college level, four-year program is fully accredited. More than 20,000 academy graduates have served the maritime industry and the Armed Forces both at sea and ashore.