ABS Gift to Maine Maritime Academy is Largest Corporate Donation in College's History

By MarEx 2012-11-20 16:01:00

Gift announced on the Castine college campus recognizing the leadership and support to the college by the international ship classification society.

CASTINE, ME (18 August 2008): Maine Governor John E. Baldacci announced earlier today a $2.5 million gift to Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). The gift is the largest single corporate gift to the Maine public post-secondary institution in the college's 67 year history. Governor Baldacci praised the expanded mission of ABS to support maritime education and research around the world and thanked ABS Chairman and CEO, Robert D. Somerville, for the gift to the college on behalf of the people of Maine. The gift was announced as part of a brief ceremony and press conference held earlier today on the Castine college campus recognizing the leadership and support to the college by the international ship classification society.

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, students, staff, and faculty of Maine Maritime Academy, MMA President Leonard Tyler unveiled preliminary plans for a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly classroom building to be named in honor of ABS. While still in the preliminary planning stages, the ABS Center for Applied Engineering and Research is slated to occupy a central location on campus and is envisioned to serve as an educational hub to student residences, student dining and social facilities, and other classroom and athletic spaces.

The proposed facility will embrace a whole-building approach to green technology and will serve as a model of energy efficiency with a focus on alternative energy sources. Accordingly, the building's energy sources will be visible and will be used as experiential teaching tools. The facility will incorporate a renewable and alternative energy laboratory and include a co-generation plant. The proposed building is planned to be 40% more efficient than a conventional classroom building. In keeping with the college's emphasis on student-faculty interaction and small class size, the new building's technologically advanced classrooms will be strategically located near faculty offices to enable an enhanced level of learning.

ABS, a leading international classification society, is devoted to promoting the security of life, property, and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction, and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities. "ABS wants to be a catalyst for helping to make American maritime colleges and universities the best in the world. It is our sincere hope that this commitment is the start of what will continue for generations to come here on the Maine Maritime Academy campus and beyond," said Somerville. The ABS donation is the first of several the class society will be making over the next year to fund infrastructure on the campuses of major U.S. based maritime institutions.

In his remarks, Tyler, an ABS Board member himself, noted that ABS is keenly very aware of a contemporary shortage of highly-trained personnel in the shipping industry. He cited their leadership in providing broad-based solutions to the situation through various means, including awards of sizable scholarships to students at Maine Maritime Academy and other maritime colleges.

"Their [ABS] donation of $2.5 million is the most significant corporate gift we have ever received," said Tyler. "ABS already employs many of our graduates and we hope that in years to come, they, and other companies involved in the shipping industry, will continue to benefit from the training our students receive."

An artist's rendition revealed modern architectural styling and a dramatic staging of the building into the college's hillside typography. The new building will feature high tech classrooms, laboratories, simulators, and faculty offices all in a centralized location. Pending necessary permitting and approvals, groundbreaking is planned for 2010 with a completion date of summer 2011.

According to Tyler, the ABS Center for Applied Engineering and Research will be a key component of the college's engineering programs, historically the most popular area of study at the college. It will also provide a center for research activities currently underway at MMA, including applied research on marine thermoelectrics, engine heat recovery, engine emissions, and propulsion efficiency. It will also support research efforts focusing on renewable energy in the areas of tidal and offshore wind power.

Tyler went on to thank the ABS Board of Directors and the nearly 4,000 ABS employees worldwide for their generosity. He also personally thanked Somerville, a 1965 graduate of the college and a standing Trustee, for his commitment of time and energy to the furtherance of maritime education and the college.

The ABS donation to Maine Maritime Academy underscores an ongoing partnership between the college and the internationally recognized ship classification society to develop and employ highly-skilled technical professionals to advance the safety of worldwide marine transportation. MMA and ABS are also exploring opportunities for joint research projects.

Photo: ABS Chairman and CEO Robert Somerville.

Link to newsletter archive