Sunday, January 24, 2016


Yesterday gave the cadets and crew quite a lot of activities – besides liberty in beautiful Panama - there were bus trips to the new locks in Colon (called the Aqua Clara Locks), BBQ and soccer at the Maritime University of Panama (UMIP), Open Ship visits for high school students and their families, and a ship's reception.

We usually host a reception once each SeaTerm – usually at a port where we can engage a strong contingent of alumni, often in a Florida port.  This year we elected for Panama, where, believe it or not, we have a large alumni population. RADM Fran McDonald made the trip down, not just for the reception but some official time at the International Maritime University of Panama,(UMIP) where we have cadets on exchange programs presently and whose cadets and faculty exchange in Buzzards Bay.  Notable people present were the President of UMIP Eng. Fernanda Billard, Deputy US Maritime Administrator Joel Szabat, Panama Canal Chief Pilot Isaias Chang (MMA'89) as well as three Panama Canal Port Captains.

The evening reception on the Helo Deck had our ship's officers, our senior cadet leadership, senior UMIP cadets, alumni and local officials all mingling together.  The UMIP provided a traditional dance performance by Panamanian dancers. It was a fun evening for all.

Of course there were short speeches by RADM McDonald and President Billard – but there was a presentation that threw me off my feet.  RADM McDonald and Ms. Holly Knight, our Vice President of Advancement, Captain Orlando Allard (MMA'79), Captain Chang, Captain Anel Alvarado (MMA '91) and Captain Jose Burgos (MMA '91) announced the newest cadet scholarship program – the Captain Thomas Bushy Panama Student Scholarship!  I must say I was speechless, humbled and indebted to everyone for this tremendous honor.  So I must warn all my friends out there – when I usually say support MMA scholarships – now you know what I am going to say.

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