Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blinn Hall, MMA

Meeting called to order at 1830 (6:30 pm)

MMAPA Board Members Present:  Leanne Avakian, Ann Marie Seier, Marilyn Cyr, Carol Eccleston, Marianne MacLeod, Kim Farber, Marie Rossi and Deirdre MacInnis.

General Membership:  35 members present plus 8 Board Members including Wayne Mattson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Cadet Parents, friends, families with several others via video telephone/conference.

WELCOME ADDRESS   President Leanne Avakian welcomed everyone present and others via video telephone/conference.   All Executive Board Officers introduced themselves, identified their cadets and their major with year of graduation.


Wayne Mattson – Board of Trustees Chairman – Introduced himself adding the Trustees support and guidance to the board and its members.  He spoke about the Alumni Association.   Back in the 1980’s MMA did not have a Parents Association.  He was available for any question & shared his e-mail.   Discussing the Alumni, he spoke about the scholarships that are available. A 2-paragraph brief essay is required.   $50k in scholarships was awarded last year.  He reminded parents to have their cadets apply.  They also give Sea Term and academic scholarships two times a year.  Scholarships are need and merit-based.   They have older Alumni that are interested in what the kids are doing and thinking now and are supportive and committed.

Admiral R. Gurnon – MMA President – Gave a brief presentation and congratulated the new MMAPA Board and described the mini cruise that most of the board members were able to attend in August.  He described the spectacular cruise through the New York area.  He then introduced Mr. Mattson, as his boss, an alum, class of 1987, who now has a son here, a 1/C.

Admiral Gurnon shared a briefing that he gave to the cadets last week.   This is a tradition of a face-to-face meeting at the start of every fall semester. “Nobody leaves with just a BA”.

Sophomores learn about their BA and the Regimental paperwork.

Juniors learn to take over the leadership positions of the seniors.

Seniors “in charge” learn as you will be someday be “in charge of somebody else in real life”.   These real life skills are learned here.   The topics included things important to him, the academy and themselves.   It varies with each class.  Admiral Gurnon shared a little bit of inside detail on the current construction going on at the Academy.   This was presented to the Trustees in January.   There is a dramatic addition being done to the Mess Desk.   There will be an addition to the Gym.  New $20mil Academic Building will be started in approximately one year, located next to the ABS Library.

Parent Question-How many seats in mess deck?     600 currently, 800 after renovationsThe patio will still be there for Graduation.

Parent Question – Can they Grab-n-Go food?     Yes.

And where can they go with it?      There are 110 seats in the fantail.  Cadets go back to their rooms, but we don’t like that.  Picnic tables are outside and available for the cadets to use.  Keep in mind cadets do not have to be in uniform for the Grab-n-Go area, gym or sports gear is worn, however, cadets have to be in uniform in the Mess Deck.

Parent Question – Is the ship all set for now?      Admiral Gurnon explained that the TS KENNEDY is not owned by MMA.  It is owned by the federal government and is on loan to us.  We do the maintenance on the ship.  The 3-day mini cruise turns into 10 days in reality, as there is a start up process and a cool down process and it’s very expensive to operate at $50K daily.  Sea Term is a $2 million operation.  The ship burns 44 gallons/mile or one barrel/ mile.  The cost is approximately $110 to $120/barrel for oil.   If the ship is scheduled for a 9,000 mile Sea Term cruise = $900,000 for fuel only.  There is a long range plan to put new training ships in all 6 maritime academies at a cost of $400 million each.   SUNY Maritime’s ship is on its last leg.   We have the best ship and the best staff to operate it and they want it.

Parent Question – Who on our staff would go on the KENNEDY if sent to SUNY?   Our Chief Mate and Chief Engineer will accompany the ship simply because they have a good knowledge of the TS Kennedy.  The balance of the personnel will be from the borrowing maritime college.

Parent Question – During renovations, do you have cadets have hands-on learning with the actual renovations or planning of it?    No – I don’t let them touch it.   If there were different majors offered, that involved this; possibly.  MMA is a tenant here.  We do not own this, the state owns it.  DCAM is the landlord.

Parent Question – How does public access play into this?  Are improvements more accessible to the public?  The campus is very accessible, unless you want to park here.  Fishermen don’t like it.   Parking issues aside, for the most part the campus is open.  The mess deck is open to the public at approx. $8.00/meal.  The “Red Hat” ladies come in often.  The public uses our Library.

Parent Question – Will there be a parking garage?   The neighbors would scream.  We looked into this.  The cost would be somewhere around $30,000 a spot to park.  MMA has the lowest parking fees of any Mass. State university.  We have a long-term arrangement with the person who owns the former theater property, as well as, St. Peters Church, St. Margaret’s Church and The National Marine Life Center, all places where cadets can park.

Parents Question – With the commuter rail coming to Buzzards Bay, how will that affect parking?    It may happen in a year or two.  This will be great for cadets to have access to Boston, Providence, airports, etc.  I am in favor of it.

Leanne thanked Admiral Gurnon for taking the time to join us tonight.

Capt. E. Rozak – Commandant of Cadets – Introduced himself and discussed the Regiment.

We have a little over 1,400 students in the regiment, which is the largest number yet and keeps growing.  A little over 1,300 cadets are in the dorms.  40 cadets are living on the ship.  There is plenty of room for them to live in the dorms, but they requested to live on the ship.   Cadets want to live on the ship, because they will be doing so in the future with their employment.

TS KENNEDY Update – The training ship will be going into the shipyard in May of 2015.  This is a 3-year cycle for specialized maintenance work.   No cadets will be living on ship during the 2015 Spring term.

Orientation – Orientation was very successful.  416 cadets went through the gym.  We lost 6 candidates during the process, a couple were medical issues and one didn’t pass a drug test.  There were only 3 who didn’t want to continue in the program as it was not the proper fit for them.

TWIC CARD – 3/C Reminder it’s a requirement by September 22nd

Emergency Notification System – All cadets should be registered with the emergency notification system, which is available on the website.  Please talk to your cadet to remind them to log into the emergency notification system used for information dissemination.  The cadets can enter their cell phone number, email or both.  It is very important their contact information is in the system, as it is used for emergencies, school closures, weather issues, etc.

Dates to Remember – Homecoming Sat. Sept. 27th.  4C’s will march onto the field before the football game. Freshmen recognition and family day is Sunday October 5th, which will include presentations about Sea Term, a luncheon and then Pinning Ceremony.

Parent Question – Can you explain this year’s Sea term?     There will be 2 legs – a split Sea Term.

Parent Question – How are the cadets chosen?     There are 3 groups:

Group A:  All Cadet Marine Transportation majors and international students;

Group B:  Cadets (spring athletes) will depart MMA on the ship for the 1st leg of the 2015 Sea Term;

Group C:  Cadets – those left behind will now fly from Boston or Providence to San Juan to replace Group B who will fly back from San Juan and on to MMA.

There are only 2 priorities, all spring athletes need to be in Group B to get them back ASAP to start conditioning and training.  Group A will also include international students as we need to let the state dept. know when an international student is going out of the area. The rest will be split down the middle for the groups.   By November, Cadets should know what group they are in.  Ports of call are St. Thomas, San Juan (5 days needed to make the switch out), Ft. Lauderdale and then back.

Parent Question – A Freshman cadet going to be in Marine Engine and Maritime Business – when do they have to declare?   We know right now how many have chosen Marine Engineering or Marine Transportation by the Accuplacer Test.   He/she has to make up their mind this term by November so they can go in the correct group and let the Registrar know.

Parent Question – And who does the cadet tell?    The Registrar.

Mike Cuff – Next week he will meet with all freshmen to talk about academic standings and academic planning.  Cadets can change their mind, and are not totally locked in.  They just may be behind if they change majors at a later date, they may also be behind a semester.

Sean Hurley-DelVecchio, SGA President added that cadets will go into group A because this major, Marine Transportation, requires more sea time.

Parent Question – They need to know by November?     Yes.

Parent Question – What are the Spring sports?   Baseball, softball, lacrosse, track and field.  Rosters are given to Capt. E. Rozak from the athletic department of all the athletes.  They will be in Group B.

Parent Question – Wasn’t part of the sea term about cadets learning about the majors during the trip to make a decision?    Yes, this is accomplished during the mini cruise – senior cadets answered freshmen questions.  Typically 5% change their majors – not a large number.  Cadets are pretty set on what they want.  For those that are undecided, as long as the change isn’t to Marine Transportation, should be OK.  Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering are a little bit difficult because they need sea time for license requirements.  Actually, Marine Transportation requires more sea time than Marine Engineering.  The other disciplines are much easier to come in and out of.  Engineering programs are tougher.

Parent Question – This is New England, will cadets be flying down in whatever type of weather?       Is there consideration making sure that Marine Engineering might go first and may not get on the ship to get their required time?    Marine Engineering may get there a day or two late, but it shouldn’t interfere with sea time.  We are anticipating approximately 120 people transferred back and forth.  Only freshman are affected by the groups.

After this year, only Marine Engineering and Marine Transportation – licensed majors — will go on the winter sea term.  The percentage of students choosing MTRA / MENG used to be 44%.  It increased to 64% last year and 68% this year.   The other majors will have an international experience – international program perhaps, this is in the works right now.

Parent Question – Splitting the Sea Term, will it impact the price of Sea Term due to the charter flight?  Are fees spread across the board to all groups?     $4k for the entire trip, reduced rate for groups B and C.  This information is posted on the website.

1/C Sean Hurley-DelVecchio – SGA President   This group is a lot of fun and gives cadets a place to go and relax with lots of club programs, encourages cadets to join groups and meet new friends.  SGA gives cadets the opportunity to run for a class position.  They also can create their own clubs.  Rifle club is a new club cadets are trying to create.  A special event is planned:  A Boston Bruins player will be coming in for a meet & greet in October.  Also, the first week of December there will be a Spirit of Boston cruise, which is similar to a prom.  There are also tournaments throughout the semester…video games, arm wrestling, etc.   The SGA pays half of the Sea Term Tours for cadets booking on excursions during their Liberty at port.   In 2014 the SGA paid out approximately $20,000.  The cadets paid the other half them selves.   A shuttle bus is being coordinated for San Juan getting Cadets back and forth from the ship, which is currently scheduled to be in port in the Old San Juan area.

1/C Gale McGilvray – Regimental Commander     Orientation was awesome, one of the most successful.  We have a very motivated group of freshmen, minimal to no problems with this group.  Cadet candidates were following all regulations in place and were very respectful.    His goal is to make everyone a little prouder to go to the school, wear the uniform and respect the regiment.  He would like to teach cadets to be proud of their school and themselves and they are off to a good start and he is very hopeful this year will continue to go well and be a success for all.

Parent Question – Now that orientation is over, do the cadet candidates have mentors?       All squad leaders look after cadets throughout the academic year.  They are constantly with them.  Company TRO (training retention officer) will monitor their academic progress; they are there for advice.

Parent Question – TRO (Training Retention Officer) can get input from the academic staff?  Do they get a warning when cadets are in trouble?      Halfway through the semester TROs will get a report of cadets failing and will meet with them to help them out and get them back on track.

Parent Question – Is the regimental staff spread amongst the classes?       All 2/C staff members are squad leaders.  Anyone with bars will be a senior.  There were 85 cadet leaders at orientation.  There are 150 leadership positions and they are still looking for more.   The 3/C group (sophomores) is sometimes considered the lost class.  This year they are trying to get them more active.  Plans include starting the Petty Officer Program this fall not the spring.  It’s training to be a squad leader.  Everyone has a chance to participate.  Currently looking into having a leadership weekend for the 3/C’s.  This keeps them involved in the regiment.

Parent Question – Is there a timeline for those weekends?     They are targeting October.   Cadets need to read their email.

COMMUNICATION – One of the biggest problems is communicating with the cadets.  They need to check their MMA email account.  They are also using Facebook to communicate.

Parent Question – Is there a ritual where cadets jump in the ocean?     Yes, it’s called the Viking Bath – a relatively new thing.  Capt. Rozak says it causes concern for the administration; however, it means a lot to the cadets.  The freshmen cadets are woken up in the middle of the night and have to quickly get outside and jump into the frigid water.  This is at the start of the final period of the 1st semester.  It is a very important tradition for the cadets. They want to keep this.

MMAPA President Leanne Avakian thanked all for coming and sharing all this important information with the parents and families.

Michele Badger – Director of Advancement   email:   She explained important activities in the near future.  Homecoming is September 26th and 27th.

Parent Question-What do the students participate in?     Freshmen are required to stay on campus for 1st half of the game.  They do push-ups when MMA scores, which is a tradition and fun for them.  There is also a lot of alumni activity.  Another activity will be when author Nathaniel Filbrick comes to MMA for a presentation.  Student athletes will be here helping with a special softball game.  This is the first time putting together a pick-up game of softball.

Work opportunities and volunteer opportunities are available for cadets.

Community Service – Freshman can get 5 hours completed during homecoming weekend.  Lots of volunteers are needed.  Michelle will meet with the cadets this Friday and share this information.

The Admiral’s Scholarship Gala – Another exciting event, October 25th from 6 pm-10 pm in the Clean Harbors Athletic Center.   Tickets are $125/each

Phone-a-thon – This is another opportunity for cadets to earn money.  It is a Phone-a-thon, where cadets call alumnus.  There are usually 20-30 students.  When calling, they ask them to participate in annual fund, scholarships, athletics, etc.  Cadets earn $10/hr. if not on work-study or $12/hr. on Work study.   There is a 4 hour a week commitment, consisting of two 2-hour shifts.  It is an opportunity for a leadership role for cadets who run the program.

Class of 2014 – Another fundraiser was when Admiral Gurnon jumped into the water when they raised $5,000 and 50% participation.  Hopefully this will be done again for Class of 2015.

Parent Question – Are they gathering alumni information from the alumni association?       The Alumni Association and MMA Advancement are separate from each other.

Parent Question – Community service – Are the cadets required to fulfill their community service commitments only at MMA?        No, they are given opportunities to do community service at MMA; however, they can also do it elsewhere.

Leanne thanked Michelle for sharing all this important information.

SECRETARY’S REPORT – M. Macleod/K. Farber

Review May Meeting Minutes.  A change made on the last page, indicating the next meeting will be the 3rd quarter; however, corrected to read 1st quarter.  A motion to accept the minutes with the mentioned change was made, 2nd, and passed unanimously.

TREASURER’S REPORT – M. Cyr/C. Eccleston

Handout provided to Board & members.  Carol explained all the fundraisers offered this year.   New items include:  Bracelets $25/ea., Playing cards $8.00/ea., with cover photo taken by Leanne, of the TS KENNEDY.

Sea Term mugs and certificates also available.   All items are shown on the MMAPA website page.   Raffle tickets are in, scheduled to be mailed to student families plus sales at various MMA events.   Again, we offer a Caribbean Cruise for Two, April of 2015 with Ports:  San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Thomas from Florida, with air fare.   Proceeds benefit Adm. Bresnahan Sea Term Scholarship Fund.

Parent Question – Any more mugs from last year’s Sea Term?      Yes because there are still leftovers from last year.

Parent Question – Will bracelets be available with sea term orders?    No, they are not in yet, however, arrival date is shortly.

Parent Question – Will the port of calls be on this Sea Term t-shirts?    No because of different groups – which makes it harder to specify where they are going.

A motion to accept the treasurer’s report as presented was made, 2nd and approved unanimously.

ADMISSION LIAISON REPORT – Marie Rossi    Thanked all of the wonderful volunteers who have helped us out throughout the summer.  107 volunteers helped out for Seabag week, 750+ hours total.  The work was finished a day early.  Graduation orientation was a great fundraising night.  Next event will be an open house Sept. 20th.  Parent volunteers are needed to go on tours with each group of visiting students/families.  September 27th is homecoming and we will again need parents to help sell products.  October 5th – Recognition day; October 18th is another open house, and November 15th is the last open house of the calendar year.  Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Marie.  She will be sending out an email via the google group asking for volunteers also.

Leanne explained the donation from Follett’s Book Store donation – the MMAPA received a check for $5,000 for all volunteers from the Sea Bag week.

HOSPITALITY REPORT – Deirdre MacInnis    explained the return dinner and issues with next year’s event due to the Sea Term being split into groups.  Information was shared about previous dinners.  This is not a fundraiser, just an opportunity for family and friends to share experiences regarding their cadets’ sea term.  Any information will be presented at our December MMAPA meeting.

Deirdre will also update the parent list of out of state parents.  The updated list will be put on the MMAPA website.

MMAPA GOOGLE GROUP – VP Anne Marie Seier   Discussed the parent’s google group, as she is the monitor and oversees all new requests.  There used to be a lot of nasty posts.  Anyone who doesn’t follow guidelines will be put on monitored status or could be removed.  She also reviewed bylaws about rules of etiquette.  Anyone who is trying to join the group is asked to please make sure all contact information is submitted.  Any issues or concerns with writing/receiving emails, please contact Anne Marie at

Parent Question – I cannot get access on my IPad.      Yes this is an issue.  A parent would like to speak with Anne Marie after meeting.  She advised anyone with a problem receiving emails to check your settings – it could be set to “no emails”.  You can get every email or an abridged version.  Ipads were an issue last year so they may not work.

Parent Question – How do you change to abridged?  Go to your settings and change it.

Parent Comment – A parent made a comment on how wonderful google group is.

Parent Question – When purchasing items, do you accept just cash or a check?     Yes, we accept both for right now.  We are looking into adding another option.

It was shared with the entire group that 80 scholarships were given away last year.  They are merit based and need based.

Without any further questions, a motion to adjourn @ 2020 (8:20 pm) was made, 2nd and approved.

Motion adjourn 2020 hours (8:20 pm)

Next meeting:  2nd Quarterly

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

ABS Building – Library



Respectfully submitted:  Marianne MacLeod & Kim Farber, Co-Secretaries