California State University Maritime Academy

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California State University Maritime Academy
CSU Maritime Academy seal.svg
Former names
California Nautical School (1929–39)
California Maritime Academy
Motto Laborare Pugnare Parati Sumus (Latin)
Motto in English
We are prepared to work and fight
Type Public university
Established 1929[1]
Endowment $8.2 million (2017)[2]
President Thomas A. Cropper
Students 1,107 (Fall 2016)[3]
Undergraduates 1,079 (Fall 2016)[3]
Postgraduates 28 (Fall 2016)[3]
Location Vallejo, California, United States
Campus 89 acres
Athletics National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
California Pacific Conference (CalPac)
Affiliations California State University system
Mascot Keelhaulers
CSU Maritime Academy logo.svg

The California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime or CSU Maritime Academy), formerly known as the California Maritime Academy,[4] is one of 23 campuses in the California State University system and is one of seven degree-granting maritime academies in the United States and the only one on the West Coast.[5] It is located in Vallejo, California. The university offers six different Bachelor's degrees, and one Master's degree, but no Doctoral degrees.[6][7]


The California Nautical School was established in 1929, when California State Assembly Bill No. 253 was signed into law by Governor C. C. Young. The bill authorized the creation of the school, the appointment of a Board of Governors to manage the school and the acquisition of a training vessel. The school's mission was "to give practical and theoretical instruction in navigation, seamanship, steam engines, gas engines, and electricity in order to prepare young men to serve as officers in the American Merchant Marine." By 1930, a training vessel and a school site was acquired; the original location of what would become California Maritime Academy was California City (now Tiburon, California) in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Due to the Great Depression, the early days of the Academy were full of financial uncertainty. As early as 1933, some state legislators were calling for the school's abolition. In order to save money, the cadets and instructors alike lived and held classes aboard the training vessel, the T.S. California State. Only after the passage of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 did the funding for the Academy stabilize.

For the Collegiate Wind Competition 2014, California Maritime Academy developed a small-scale wind turbine.
TS Golden Bear after it was hauled out and painted a navy blue.

In 1939 the California Nautical School adopted the name, the California Maritime Academy. By 1940, the Academy was granting Bachelor of Science degrees and Naval Reserve commissions to its graduates; this step marked the beginning of the transition from the status of trade school to college. In 1943, the Academy moved to its present location in Vallejo, California.

In the 1970s, after surviving another round of budget cuts and calls for the Academy's abolition, California Maritime Academy became a four-year institution. The 1970s also marked the time when the first minority and female cadets graduated from California Maritime Academy.

In 1996 California Maritime Academy became the twenty-second campus of the California State University system. The new affiliation improved the Academy's funding prospects considerably. The current training vessel is the T.S. Golden Bear, and is the third training ship to carry that name.

In September 2015, President Cropper proposed a campus name change before the California State University Board of Trustees from the California Maritime Academy to California State University Maritime Academy. It was approved.[8]

Superintendents and presidents[edit]

A rear admiral's flag.

Since the passage of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970, the position of President of the California Maritime Academy is commissioned as a Rear Admiral (Upper Half) in the United States Maritime Service. Two past Presidents are alumni of the Academy itself.

From To Name Rank Notes
May 11, 1930 February 14, 1934 Emil Topp LCDR, USN (ret)
February 15, 1934 June 30, 1937 Dr. Richard C. Dwyer See Note 1
July 1, 1937 June 30, 1940 Neil E. Nichols CAPT, USN (ret)
July 1, 1940 October 31, 1947 Claude B. Mayo CAPT, USN (ret) See Note 2
November 1, 1947 February 15, 1955 Russel M. Ihreg COMMO, USN (ret)
February 16, 1955 June 20, 1955 Carroll T. Bonney CAPT, USN (ret) Acting Superintendent
June 21, 1955 November 1, 1965 Henry E. Richter CAPT, USN (ret)
October 15, 1965 October 1, 1971 Francis T. Williamson RADM, USN (ret)
October 1, 1971 August 1, 1972 Edwin C. Miller CDR, USN (ret) '34-D CMA, Interim See Note 3,
August 2, 1972 November 11, 1983 Joseph P. Rizza RADM, USMS CAPT, USN (ret), See Note 4
November 11, 1983 August 31, 1990 John J. Ekelund RADM, USMS RADM, USN (ret)
August 31, 1990 June 30, 1996 Dr. Mary E. Lyons RADM, USMS CDR, USNR
July 1, 1996 June 30, 2001 Jerry A. Aspland RADM, USMS '62-D CMA
July 1, 2001 June 30, 2012 Dr. William B. Eisenhardt RADM, USMS[9] Unk, USN
July 1, 2012 January 2, 2018 Thomas A. Cropper RADM, USMS[10] RDML, USN (ret)
  1. R.C.Dwyer replaced by N.E. Nichols due to Navy requirements for regular Navy officers to be in charge of Navy-owned ships.
  2. Early WWII – Superintendent and Master became separate positions.
  3. Edwin C. Miller appointed Interim Superintendent October 1971 – July 1972.
  4. On February 27, 1975, the title of "Superintendent" was changed to "President."

Training Ships[edit]

From To Name Former Name
1931 1946 T. S. California State/ T. S. Golden State USS Henry County (IX-34)
1946 1971 T. S. Golden Bear USS Mellena (AKA-32)
1971 1995 T. S. Golden Bear II USS Crescent City (APA-21)
1996 Present T. S. Golden Bear III USNS Maury (T-AGS 39)


Demographics of student body
African American 3.3%
Asian American 11.6%
White American 46.1%
Hispanic American 7.5%
Native American 1.1%
Ethnicity unreported/unknown 30.4%

Degree programs[edit]

Cal Maritime offers one graduate and six undergraduate degrees, all of which are tied to a nautical curriculum.


Money magazine ranked California Maritime Academy 82nd in the country for value out of 736 schools it evaluated for its 2015-2016 Best Colleges ranking.[11]

In 2016 Forbes ranked California Maritime Academy as the 516th best university in the nation and 95th in the West.[12]

The 2016 U.S. News & World Report college rankings lists California Maritime Academy as 8th in the category "Regional Colleges (West)".[13]

According to a study by the Equality of Opportunity Project, the California Maritime Academy had the best results of any California college in helping transform students whose parents were relatively poor (bottom 20 percent of the income bracket) into adults who are relatively wealthy (top 20 percent income) within a decade after graduation. 85% of poor students eventually became relatively wealthy. However, only 6% of the students came from poor families.[14]

Corps of Cadets[edit]

California Maritime Academy is the United States' only maritime academy on the West Coast. It is also the only university on the West Coast that requires all undergraduate students to participate in the Corps of Cadets. The only similar program in the Western United States is at the junior college New Mexico Military Institute. Since Maritime Academies comply with Title 46 Part 310 of the Code of Federal Regulations students are referred to as Cadets, required to wear uniforms, and utilize a demerit-based disciplinary system. Participation in Navy Reserve Merchant Marine training program is no longer required, but Cadets still utilize Merchant Marine Navy-style uniforms, customs, and traditions. Based on academic majors cadets are organized into Squads, Sections, Divisions and Companies which regularly muster in Morning Formations several times a week, as well as stand watches on campus and aboard the training ship.[15]

Military options[edit]

There is no armed service obligation attached to graduation from the California Maritime Academy. However, financial aid and additional career opportunities exist for those students who choose to participate in any of the several military programs available on the CMA campus:


Athletics teams at California Maritime Academy are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the California Pacific Conference (CalPac). Men's sports include basketball, crew, cross country, golf, rugby, sailing, soccer and water polo; while women's sports include basketball, crew, cross country, sailing, and water polo. The name of the intercollegiate athletic program is "Keelhaulers". The women's sports teams are informally known as "Sea Hags".

The Keelhauler mascot was chosen as Cal Maritime’s athletic mascot by cadets in 1974, the name taken from a form of corporal punishment that was formerly used in the Dutch and English navies. Keelhauling involved tying the hands of a crewmember to a rope and hauling him under the keel of the ship. While the practice of Keelhauling was formally abolished in 1853, the Keelhauler lives on as the official mascot of Cal Maritime athletics.

Cal Maritime has a long history of athletic activities. Before it joined regular intercollegiate athletics, sports teams from Cal Maritime usually played military teams from local bases. In the 1970s, Cal Maritime began to organize its sports under intercollegiate guidelines, and the student body chose the "Keelhauler" as the Academy's mascot. Until then, the Academy's teams were known as the Seawolves. During the 2004–2005 academic year, the women's basketball team was formed and now also competes in the CalPac.

Cal Maritime's rugby program was started in 1998 and gained varsity status in 2001. Rugby was at one time the school's most successful sport, going undefeated against Division 2 opponents in home matches from 2007-2010.[20] Cal Maritime's rugby team has been nationally ranked in college rugby, won the Pacific Coast League's Western Division Championship in 2009 and 2010, and was the runner up in the 2012 championship of the National Small College Rugby Organization.

The Academy's sailing team captured the Kennedy Cup – the National Collegiate Sailing Championship – in the fall of 2009. That victory earned it the right to serve as the U.S. representative in the annual Student World Yachting Cup championships in October 2010 in La Rochelle, France, where it placed 5th of 14.

In 2012, the Varsity 4+ of the men's crew team took first place in its event at the Head of the American Regatta. It beat teams from UC Davis, UC Berkeley , CSU Sacramento, CSU Long Beach, Humboldt State University, Saint Mary's College of California, Sonoma State University, and the University of the Pacific. At the 2013 WIRA championships, the men's pair placed 2nd out of 16, while the men's novice 4+ placed 6th out of 19.[21] Also in 2012, California Maritime added a men's cross country running team that finished 5th out of 8 teams in the Cal Pac Conference.

In 2014, the California Maritime Academy added a women's water polo team.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vallejo Campus Tour
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2017. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2016 to FY 2017" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Enrollment by Sex and Student Level, Fall 2016". The California State University. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  4. ^ "California Maritime Academy Officially Renamed as California State University Maritime Academy". California State University Maritime Academy. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Search CSU Degrees". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 24, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  8. ^ "CSUM | Support » New Name". Retrieved 2015-12-08. 
  9. ^ Douglas Peterson. (2004). A Brief History: The California Maritime Academy Historical Archives. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 30, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ Cal Maritime Administration (accessed July 17, 2012) Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Money's Best Colleges". Money. 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  12. ^ "2016 America's Best Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Best Colleges 2013". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  14. ^ Which California colleges help transform impoverished students into wealthy adults? , Sacramento Bee, January 24, 2017
  15. ^ "CSUM". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  16. ^ California Maritime Academy. "California Maritime Academy Pre-Commissioning Program". Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  17. ^ California Maritime Academy. "Strategic Sealift Officers Program". Archived from the original on January 11, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b California Maritime Academy. "Navy ROTC". Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  19. ^ "CSUM". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  20. ^ Cal Maritime, Cal Maritime's Highly Successful Rugby Coach Announces Departure, August 25, 2010,
  21. ^ "Collegiate Men & Women: WIRA Championships - complete results". 2013-04-28. Retrieved 2014-08-18. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°4′10″N 122°13′47″W / 38.06944°N 122.22972°W / 38.06944; -122.22972