We asked members of the Keelhauler Community to reflect on their favorite moments at Cal Maritime and submit either a picture from that day or one that represents the memory.

Cadets on boat

Crossing the finish line off of Diamond Head in the 2019 TransPac Regatta, surrounded by the best group of people the world has to offer. 

~Ryan Schack '21 (MT)

Athletes in a group

Everyday is a great day at Cal Maritime, but I’d have to say the best day was the first kickball game. 3E absolutely obliterated 2E in an intense game of kicking balls and it was awesome.

~Andrew Jara '24 (ME)


When this engine cadet said yes.

~Antoine Powell '21 (MT)

Mom and dad

Day on the Bay 2019, All of the guys I entered Cal Maritime with had a killer day from sun up to sun down. From loading stores, to standing watch, and eating an ungodly amount of bratwurst on the fantail.  Special shout out to ma and pa for making it up here to hang with the lads. 

~Johnny Gentile '22 (MT)

Group of cadets pointing at camera

Fun with the boys.

~Kort Ramel '24 (ME)

Two cadets together

The last day of O-week 2018 was the first day I put on the Khaki. It was beginning of many great days at Cal Maritime. Cal Maritime was not my first choice when I got back to Cali, but I turned out the best choice of my life. A stranger standing next to me at the first formation became my best friend. I got so much support from the faculty and staff. More importantly, the chocolate cake was delicious.

~Lauren Silva '22 (GSMA)

Group of faculty and staff

Every day that I get to interact with cadets, particularly when we are involved in a service project (usually off campus) is a great day.  But very memorable days for me are the days when cadets are rewarded for their good deeds -- Senior Awards and other similar occasions.  Most cadets that spend a lot of their free time being of service to others are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, not for the rewards.  So it makes it even nicer when they are surprised by the award they are receiving, as was the case in this picture, when Nicholas Bower received the Community Impact Award for his continued and selfless service during his tenure at Cal Maritime.  

~JoEllen Myslik (Staff)

Goalie making a save in front of soccer goal

My best day at Cal Maritime was the bright and sunny Saturday of my first collegiate soccer game. It was a day that I got over 20 saves and got to truly experience school spirit. Even though we were losing by quite a bit, my friends, classmates, teammates, and teachers, continued to cheer me and my team on. After the game, the school felt less like a school and more like a community. Everywhere I walked there was someone to say hi to or talk to. 

~Madison Dack '23 (ME)



The opening day of the e-Navigation Underway North America Conference held at Cal Maritime, 3-4 April 2014. This day represented the culmination of over a year of hard work on behalf of the planning committee to make it happen. The conference was a great success. I had the honor to serve as Conference Chair.

Samuel Pecota - Director of Marine Programs & CO, TSGB


Cadets who are firefighters

Firefighting with the boys.

~Jeffrey Mueller '24 (MT)

Group of cadets at event

October 29, 2019. A GREAT Day for Cadets and us Cadet Hosts at the Red Door Escape Rooms, Concord, CA. So much fun. Organized by JoEllen Myslik - Coordinator, Community Engagement & Cadet-Community Connection.

~Beverley Heslop (Staff)

Cadets in a group to play kickball

My best day at Cal Maritime was during my divisions first game of kickball. 3E had destroyed 2E with a major lead, was just a really fun day and experience with the whole group of both teams.

~Tyler Hudson '24 (MET)

Kyle Yamamoto with General Peter Pace

My best day was the day I met Gen.(Ret.) Peter Pace. I happened to see a flyer for the event he was speaking at and asked the Commandants if I could attend. I learned valuable leadership lessons and met a man who I thought if never get a chance to meet. He even talked to me face to face and have me valuable information to be a leader in today’s changing world.

~Kyle Yamamoto '22 (GSMA)

Training Ship Golden Bear with rainbow in distance

Formations on my first cruise. Just a little over a month after starting at Cal Maritime I was on cruise. Before formation started and after it ended I had the chance to enjoy the fresh air and get to know many of the cadets I would be working with during my tenure here. The excitement of the first cruise from the upcoming sophomores and the depth of experience of the upcoming seniors started every day off right. 

~Anthony Konecni (Staff)

Event with boy singing

This is one of my best days at Cal Maritime and it was when I completed RHO training two years ago. I had worked so hard my first year and was fortunate enough to be offered a position as an RHO on the golden bear. I got to work alongside some of my mentors from that first year (most of whom were now fellow RHOs) and start to give back to my community and help those in hopefully the same way that I was helped. I love being apart of housing and residential life and look forward to taking another goofy picture just like this one but now, with my staff!!!

~Connor Crutchfield '21 (ME)

Three cadets together

My best day at Cal Maritime has to the day that this photo was taken. We had just finished a big project with one of our business classes and were heading back to the dorms to change and go out for dinner. The morning of this presentation we were nervous but after we had a huge feeling of relief. After getting changed into more relaxed clothing, we went to a restaurant known as Pho 1 and relaxed for the rest of the night. 

~Kyle Galloway '22 (BA)

Basketball game

Being an Honorary Men's Basketball Coach at one of their games!

~Carissa Lombardo (Staff)


Photo of basketball players

My best day ever was the day I was asked to play on the Cal Maritime basketball team.  When I started school in 1973, I had one goal in mind - to graduate.  I had no idea what attending Cal Maritime would be like or how demanding it would be.  I just wanted to keep a low profile, study hard and get through my three years with as few distractions as possible.  About a week after instruction began, Athletic Director Harry Diavatis cornered me as I was walking across campus and said "Betz, why aren't you trying out for the basketball team?"  Apparently Harry spotted me because at 6 ft. 6-1/2 inches, I was the tallest guy on campus.  I told Harry that he didn't understand, despite my height, I was a surfer from Southern California.  I had never played organized basketball (or any team sport for that matter) at any level and had zero skills.  But Harry was relentless.  He continued to hound me day after day and eventually, and just to get him to stop pestering me, I caved in - I told him, "OK, I'll try out for the team, but you'll be sorry.  I don't know one end of the court from the other."  So I played ball.  And I loved it.  I started spending more and more time in Mayo Hall, day and night - weekends - sometimes I'd finish my homework and go to the gym at 2300 to shoot baskets.  My first year I was second string center.  By year three I was the starting center and team captain.  I will be forever grateful to Harry Diavatis for having the patience to work with a surfer kid from Socal who didn't know which way to run when he got the ball and turn him into a legitimate basketball player.  And I will forever be grateful to Cal Maritime for affording me the opportunity to play college ball.

John Betz (#44) - Alumnus


Group of cadets

The best days at Cal Maritime are always the days I have cross country practice or races! One particular moment, at Cal Maritime, is when the team and I ran the Carquinez bridge and it was pouring rain. What made it even better was the trucks that would hit the puddles and spray us. I remember I ran four miles that day, completely soaked! Rain or shine...we’re always running. To top it off, we went to the dining center soaked as well, but Mama gave me a huge cookie so it was a great day. Being a member of Cross Country has been a great experience and I personally thank my coach and team for creating all the memories! 

~Lauren Silva '22 (GSMA)

Company staff

Any & every day with my first ever Company Staff - always a lot of laughter!

~Carissa Lombardo (Staff)

Cadet with Halloween candy

In Fall 2017, I was at Cal Maritime and missed being home to give out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Midterms and the feeling of homesickness were overwhelming me. It was not enough for me to just share how I was feeling to overcome the homesickness. Then I remembered what really makes me happy: community service and making other people smile. Being the festive person that I am, I decided to do something for Halloween. Since I was living on the TSGB with other first year students, I thought that I should flip the switch on trick-or-treating. Thus, I came up with reverse trick-or-treating. On Halloween night, I had several large candy bags that my family sent me, so I put them all in a large box for me to carry around the ship. I went all around the first and second floors of the TSGB offering people candy. Every person who opened the door had their face light up as soon as I said, "Happy Halloween! Free candy?". Once I got back to my room, my heart was whole, and I felt so much better after seeing so many smiles on people's faces. 

~Eduardo Alcantar '21 (ME)

Port of Tacoma

One of my top 10 Cal Maritime moments was receiving a tour by a Cal Maritime alumnus of the Port of Tacoma. During the tour we were afforded the opportunity to go to the top of a giant gantry crane and sit in the "Star Wars" operators chair. 

~Bob Arp (Administrator)

Cadets in uniform

It's hard to really describe any one day at Cal Maritime as being the best, as each day presents its own reasons for being great as well as its own set of challenges. There's a lot of adversity and many hardships that we cadets go through from academic trials to trying to find someone to take our watch. What makes it easier though is having a solid group of friends and tight knit connections to get you through. I was extremely blessed to have the friends that I had at our school, many of whom I've known before I even stepped foot on campus. Although some of them have graduated, we are all fortunate to still be very close and, luckily, making new close friends at Cal Maritime to make each day the best day so far is not all that hard to do. 

~Stas Allen '22 (BA)

Three staff members

One of the best days, but I've had several, was Day on the Bay 2014 which was the Class of 1994 reunion.  Several of the students in attendance I knew really well and were extremely fond of when they attended Cal Maritime from 1990-1994.   They used to visit my office several times a week to just talk and let me know how they were doing, and I was both happy and sad when they graduated.  To meet up with them 20 years later, on a beautiful day on the ship, it was like no time had passed.  We caught up, remembered past experiences, laughed -- it was pure happiness that day for me to see them again!  The picture portrays only two of the ones on board -- Deanna, the one in the middle, became a Captain with MAERSKK, and Jennifer, on the right, has been a F/T firefighter with the Oakland Fire Department for I believe 25 years now.  A shout-out to Cal Maritime -- we've produced some outstanding students over the years!  

~Kris Cranford (Staff)

Thesis presentation

When I finally finished and presented my Senior Thesis, I was very proud to have finished something that big. The Fall Semester of 2019 was one that had constant curve balls thrown our way. When I finished it and Dr. Wade and Dr. Malaquiass came to me to talk to me about it and tell me that my work was very informative made me proud. They have since invited me to sit on GSMA panels for incoming students. 

~Eric Garrard '21 (GSMA)

Cadets with life jackets in boat

One of the first weekends of my freshman year, we were able to get out on the boats in the boat basin and we had the opportunity to drive around the twin propeller boats. It was a great day that allowed me to get to know not only my fellow classmates, but the upperclassmen as well. The first few weeks of school at Cal Maritime were overwhelming and involved a lot of classroom learning, but finally being able to go out on the water made me more excited for the years to come and definitely acted as a motivational pivot point in my first year at Cal Maritime.

~Craig Johnson '23 (MT)

Coastal Cleanup tent

Best Day at Cal Maritime? Coastal Cleanup Day! (every year!) 

~Jennifer Kaiser, Public Information Officer of
Vallejo Flood & Wastewater District (Community Friend)

Fred and Mandy of Red Oak Victory

Red Oak Victory Recruitment Coordinator, Mandy Torres, and I (Director of Marketing at the Red Oak) visited the campus in March of this year.  We toured the Golden Bear, visited the steam simulation plant, and had a very productive discussion with your Community Engagement Coordinator, JoEllenn Myslik.  This was right before we all had to shelter in place, wear masks, and avoid large gatherings.  But the discussions we had will be very valuable and lead to a productive relationship in 2021.

~Fred Klink, Director of Marketing at Red Oak Victory (Community Friend)

Baseball stadium

One of my favorite days at Cal Maritime was August 6th, 2019 during Summer Training for the Residential Housing Officers. We had an action-packed day of situational training. We followed up the training with the entire triad taking a bus over to San Francisco to watch a Giants game. It was great being able to get closer with the other RHO's and members of the Triad in a fun environment. Made a lot of great memories that day.

~Brandon Kolarov '22 (BA)


David Taliaferro with his son, baby Wyatt

My best day at Cal Maritime was October 25th, 2018 - the day my son was born.  Erika and I had just moved in officially on September 11th, 2018. The night before Wyatt was delivered, we both attended the women's basketball game where Erika proceeded to show her enthusiastic support. The next day, we were in the hospital anxiously awaiting the arrival of our son. He showed up on the morning of the 25th and we've been blessed ever since with rewards and challenges of parenthood. The Cal Maritime community made us feel like family and we are very fortunate to raise our son around great cadets, faculty, and staff.

David Taliaferro - Commandant of Cadets


Group of cadets with Mama

After giving tours to prospective students I met up with my brother(Donald Lay), who was working as a 3rd engineer at the time, and his Chief engineer (Niko Lagenn). Both of them are Cal Maritime alumni and all of us were adopted by Mama during our time here. we were able to get a picture of all of us together. This was the day before campus shut down due to the forest fires and it stood out to me as the best during my time here. 

~Caleb Lay '23 (MET)

Group of women at Women on the Water conference

Taking Cadets to the Women on the Water Conference in Galveston, TX.

~Carissa Lombardo (Staff)

Graduating cadets walking down street

My best day at Cal Maritime was seeing the first graduating class that I knew as incoming Freshman. It was amazing to see the culmination of the 4 years from the (back then) pinning ceremony as incoming freshman to the tossing of their caps as graduates at commencement.

~Chelsea McClain (Staff)

Staff and cadet with sunset in background

My best day so far at Cal Maritime was when I joined watch on the TSGB with the the Night Mate and the Night Engineer and they gave me a tour of their respesctive duties. I loved learning about how cadets log the state of the ocean, identifying what the ripples in the sea mean, so that in a storm they would easily be able to monitor the status of the sea. The engine room was overwhelming and I was in awe of the knowledge the Night Engineer had about the various parts of the engine and what can go wrong. The murals suprised me and told stories that I long to hear. And, of course, the sunset gave me a sense of calm and appreciation for the beauty of our campus, the ship, and this marvelous learning lab.

~Kathleen McMahon (Administrator)


Out Fighting Fires with the Boys. Firefighting Day 1, Oct 17 2020. 

~Michael Pagluica '24 (MT)

Cadets in uniform

My best day at Cal Maritime lasted 5 days!  Last January, eight Cadets and I landed in a very cold Baltimore, Maryland and then made our way to Annapolis to attend the United States Naval Academy’s Leadership Conference. The Power of Mentorship was the theme of the conference, which showcased several notables, such as retired Vice Admiral Stavridisis, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, retired Rear Admiral Peg Klein, now Dean of the College of Leadership and Ethics at thUSNANA, and the Honorable ChristopheWrayay, Director of the FBI.  The conference content was outstanding, but the best part for me was observing our future leaders.  They were excited, fully engaged, developed new friendships, and displayed our core values.  Plain and simple, they inspired me.

~Danielle Pelczarski (Staff)

Commencement with group of cadets

Commencement 2018 – This was the class of Engineers that came to Cal Maritime the same year I did.  We sailed together, took classes together, we grew together.  These folks were my constants for three and half years.  They kept (and continue to keep) me on my toes and never let me stray from my purpose.

~Kristen Tener (Staff)


Electric van ribbon cutting

This photo represents my belief in our environmental future and was one of my favorite days on campus.  We, as a nation, must come together in protecting our Mother Earth for generations to come by reducing and eliminating our carbon footprint.  Thank you Cal Maritime for advancing the use of clean air vehicles.

Bob Sampayan - Mayor, Vallejo



This is not going to be your typical "best day ever" story because when you think of an instance like that, you think of a time where everything went right. Well this is not that. This was during a normal crew session where the ladies were trying to get out on a four. We begged coach and one of the other rowers volunteered to be the coxswain. Coach reluctantly accepted and we were overjoyed. So, we get out on the water and everything is going  well, we are doing drills and up river, and a ski boat goes past us. However, they left us a pretty big wake. Normally when that happens you adjust the boat so it takes on the wave at a forty five degree angle, but we were about parallel with the wake, so when it reached us it went over the lip of the boat and filled the back two foot basins and the coxswains seat. We keep rowing. I happen to be in one of the back seats, so as we row, the water is sloshing back and forth getting my socks wet, splashing my legs, and the boat was jerking due to the water sloshing. The rower behind me yells that her shoes are floating and they're bumping into the back of her legs. We row over to coach and the ladies ask if we can go back in, stop rowing, and being done for the day. But since we bugged coach to get out on the water, all he says is "it builds character." At this point the ladies are frustrated and they don't want to row anymore, and I just can't help but laugh. Like what are the circumstances that we end up in a situation like this, water sloshing at out feet getting us all wet, the boat jerking back and forth? It was supposed to be a serious session, and we were supposed to be practicing for the upcoming regatta, but it was like so much was going wrong that I couldn't help but laugh about the whole thing, and before I know it, I'm wheezing because the more we row, the higher the water starts splashing, and the more I get wet.

The reason I think of this instance as the best day at Cal Maritime, is I think of my friends that I was rowing with, and this memory we made together, and that even when things aren't going as planned, sometimes you just have to laugh about it. 

The picture that I have here is all of us ladies in an eight together with an amazing sunset backdrop.

~Shannon Stel '23 (GSMA)

Save the Date for Convocation

I've had any number of great days since my arrival at Cal Maritime in early August.  I'm in awe of the many ways in which faculty, staff, and cadets alike have pulled together to ensure that Cal Maritime continues to deliver a world-class education during the pandemic--and to pull that off in both virtual and face-to-face settings.  Perhaps my best day to date, though, was September 3rd, the second day of Convocation, which culminated in all employees being invited for a creative and enthusiastic drive-through recognition that involved horn honking, elbow bumping, eye-to-eye greetings, hydration, and delicious cookies.

You see, before that I had spent my entire first month on campus primarily in VIRTUAL conversation with colleagues. Now I was meeting and greeting so many people in person, albeit with masks and at a six-foot distance.  It was an energizing and unexpectedly gratifying experience!  There was Kathy Arnold, who handed me a copy of "The Dictionary of Maritime and Transportation Terms" as a welcome gift to the university.  There was Cynthia Trevisan apologizing over and over for driving her second-string car, which she worried didn't make a good impression. There was Franz Lozano posing for a picture next to every car and driver that stopped at his welcome station. People were connecting.

Of course, at that same event there were also concerns and protests about recent lay-offs being expressed across the way, and that too is part of my memory of the day. Although I certainly do not regard the layoffs as a positive, I was glad that several of my colleagues approached protesting cadets ready to listen and talk. Having been on other campuses where protests were not always met with respect, I was grateful for having joined a university where free speech is valued and heard and where my new colleagues both listened and demonstrated respect.  Above all, it was a day that made me certain that I had joined a community of people dedicated to their shared mission and values.  And in my book, that is a very good day! 

~Lori Schroeder (Administrator)

Established in 1929, California State University Maritime Academy is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Located in Vallejo, California, the campus serves nearly 1,000 students and offers undergraduate degrees preparing students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. The new oceanography degree program launched in the fall of 2020. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.