Former NATO Commander Highlights Graduates' Responsibility to the Oceans
President Tom Cropper with Admiral James Stavridis
(Vallejo, California – April 28, 2018) – Admiral James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander at NATO and current dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, delivered the commencement address at California State University Maritime Academy today. Stavridis spoke of the importance of the oceans, and the unique and important role played by graduates from Cal Maritime.
"The seas are the cornerstone of empire, and the hinge of history," said Stavridis. "They are all connected. The British say, ‘the sea is one' meaning that it encompasses us entirely. It connects everywhere and of course covers 70 percent of the world. You have chosen to learn it intimately, many of you will continue to sail upon it, and most of you will be part of the grand sweep of trade and commerce that reflects man's long relationship with the sea.
Part of your responsibility is to be an advocate and a voice for the oceans – for sustainable development of the sea, for rules and regulations and international laws that govern it responsibly."
At the ceremony, Cal Maritime and the board of trustees of the California State University conferred upon Stavridis the honorary degree of Doctor of Law in recognition of his distinguished career, his contributions to leadership development, and his role as an advocate for the maritime industry.
This year's ceremony marked graduation day for 224 students receiving bachelor's degrees and 19 graduate students.
In 2016, Stavridis was vetted for the role of vice president by Secretary Hillary Clinton, and subsequently invited to Trump Tower to discuss a cabinet position with President Donald Trump. Stavridis has published eight books on leadership, the oceans, maritime affairs, and Latin America, as well as hundreds of articles in leading journals.
During the commencement ceremony, the California State University Board of Trustees also conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Trustee Emeritus Ralph R. Pesqueira, Jr. in recognition of his distinguished career, philanthropic contributions to the advancement of higher education, and efforts to help first-generation students and those in under-represented communities.
Pesqueira was and continues to be a strong advocate for efforts improving mathematics and English proficiency for incoming freshmen. He extended his passion for preparing students to be college ready to the deliberations of the California Postsecondary Education Commission. His service on the commission helped authorize cooperative programs, such as the Early Assessment program, to the benefit of the public schools, CSU students, and the university system as a whole.
Ralph R. Pesqueira, Jr. earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Marketing from San Diego State University in 1957. San Diego State University honored him as Alumni of the Year in 1998. He was a founding member of the Campanile Foundation board of directors serving on the board for eleven years and receiving emeritus status in 2011.