As the Cal Maritime community begins the new 2013-14 academic year, I am pleased to pass along a progress report for a very successful 2012-13. The world-class faculty and staff at our institution spent a considerable amount of their effort last year educating your new president. For me it was a year of discovery and I must say that I liked what I found. Whether you are a student, family member, alumni, campus neighbor or active supporter, you can be rightfully proud of the strong work ethic and abiding commitment that is evident here. The many, many selfless acts of service and the clear determination to frame campus decisions around student outcomes that I have seen each and every day serve to make your academy stronger.
I also discovered some things that you already know: Cal Maritime has tremendous potential, great aspirations and a compelling vision for the future. We are intently focused on training, educating and developing graduates for increasingly challenging leadership responsibilities in the global maritime profession. We seek to serve as the profession's 24/7/365 resource leader in maritime subject matter expertise for business, government and education. The ultimate aim of this collective effort is to sustain and build Cal Maritime's responsiveness and relevance to the Pacific maritime communities.
In addition to planning for a great future, Cal Maritime is entering a period of several years of campus renewal. After almost six years of California state higher education de-funding – totaling nearly $800 million of lost funding annually – the Cal Maritime team is now addressing deferred maintenance backlog, hiring to fill faculty and staff positions and refreshing and renovating classrooms, offices, common areas, and residence halls. Recent improved funding from the state legislature followed prudent financial planning by my predecessor, Dr. Bill Eisenhardt, and the combination of the two has provided the means for Cal Maritime to make ourselves whole over the next few years.
You will find convincing evidence of this renewal throughout the campus. Steel is going up on our new health and wellness center and its accompanying water survival training center on the entrance to Maritime Academy Drive. A new police building and gate are replacing the old guard shack at our front gate. Bodnar Field has new grandstands, a press box and the capability to stream high-definition video from soccer and rugby games. The waterfront has been transformed to meet national maritime security standards including fencing, a security kiosk and video surveillance. The new dining center opens in mid-September which, in one sitting, feeds three times the number of students served in the old mess deck. Renovations in the classroom buildings and a complete facelift of Rizza Auditorium further improved the quality of life for the entire campus community.
It's truly a great time to be a Keelhauler. I invite you to make every effort to visit your beloved academy and to witness the tremendous progress that your superb faculty and staff are making on a daily basis.