Retired Rear Admiral John Ekelund, who served as Cal Maritime’s president from 1983 to 1990, passed away on July 28th.

Born on January 19, 1928, he followed in the footsteps of his father and brother in attending the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating class of 1949.  Over the years, Ekelund served on submarines, was head of OPNAV's Strategic Warfare Analysis Branch, 1969-1972, served as Chief of Staff Commander Naval Forces, Vietnam, 1972-1973, was Commander guided-missile cruiser, USS Albany, 1973-1975, Dean Naval War College 1975-1976, Deputy Director Naval Education and Training, CNO Washington 1976-1977,  National intelligence officer Central Intelligence Agency 1977-1978, Commander United States South Atlantic Force 1978-1980, and President Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Monterey, California 1980-1983.

Ekelund assumed the presidency of what was then called the California Maritime Academy in November of 1983 during a transformational time in the maritime industry due to growth in the “containerization” of shipping.  Ekelund met that challenge by broadening the curriculum to include degrees that would give cadets opportunities in emerging shoreside careers.  Degrees in mechanical engineering and business administration were launched in 1985 and 1986 respectively, and in 1987 a B.A. track in intermodalism was introduced into the business program.  He also focused on increasing the number of female and minority students during his tenure.  President Ekelund retired in August of 1990 and moved to Monterey, California.

He leaves behind his wife of 69 years, Lynn Marie Schumacher, his sister Marjorie Hoeft, six children, twelve grandchildren and five great grandchildren. The Cal Maritime community extends its condolences to the family.

A service will be held in Monterey at the NPS Chapel, St. Thomas Aquinas on August 19 at 10:30 and final internment at U.S. Naval Academy. 

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 offers undergraduate degrees that prepare students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.