Success story: New tugboat increases options for sea time, credentials
For some Great Lakes Maritime Academy cadets, a literal ship has come in amid the coronavirus pandemic — an opportunity to make up the sea time they need to enter the workforce.
The tugboat Mississippi arrived in NMC’s Great Lakes campus harbor Monday from Cleveland. It joins the Academy’s vessel fleet on a leased basis, and will allow cadets to earn sea time as soon as state and college officials allow.
Earning the required 360 days of sea time during the four-year program was already a tight fit due to high Maritime enrollment, few available berths aboard commercial vessels, and academic schedule constraints. Shutdowns due to the coronavirus worsened the situation. The Academy’s flagship training vessel, the T/S State of Michigan, would normally have set off in early May on its annual two-month spring training cruise, but has been docked due to the pandemic.
“It’s a tight window between semesters when you need to get the days,” said Cadet Zachary Ferguson, right. He is set to graduate in 2021 and needs 96 more days of sea time. “There’s lots of days we’re behind (due to the pandemic). The tug is really going to help to try and make up those days. Every day counts.”
Cadet Margaret Handel is part of the Class of 2020. She needs just 35 more days of sea time.
“We are ready to do whatever we have to do to get back out and sail and move our careers along,” said Handel, right.
Both Handel and Ferguson hoped to sail aboard a commercial Great Lakes vessel this summer, but the pandemic scuttled those plans.
“We’re struggling for opportunities right now and anything we can get would be amazing,” Handel said. Read more »
Remembering an NMC champion: Jim Beckett, 1922-2020
James J. Beckett, among Northwestern Michigan College’s staunchest, most long-lived advocates, died Friday, May 29 at the age of 97.
Beckett became an NMC trustee in 1962 and served in that role for 34 years, chairing countless committees and getting many new projects off the ground, from a physical education space in the 1960s to the University Center in the 1990s. NMC named the James J. Beckett Building on main campus in his honor and he is a recipient of the NMC Fellow award, the highest honor the college bestows. Jim and his late wife Dorothy also found joy in supporting NMC students through the creation of an endowed scholarship and by giving generously to the college every year.
Jim’s service was not limited to the college alone. He served the entire Traverse City community as a Rotary member (for 68 years), Chamber of Commerce president, coordinator for the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools Gladhander fundraiser, and in countless other ways.
Service arrangements are pending at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.