Coast guardIf you are navigating toward a career in the engineering and maritime industries, consider enrolling in the prestigious State University of New York Maritime College. SUNY Maritime College is an undergraduate and graduate institution located at historic Fort Schuyler in Throgs Neck, New York. The college is rated as one of the top engineering schools in the country and is the oldest and the largest Maritime College in the United States. It should be known that the maritime industry affects everybody’s life – everyday – worldwide. The students, men and women, are integral to the development and sustainability of world commerce, environmental sciences and marine technologies. The graduates of SUNY Maritime College have gone on to careers all around the world in all fields, which signifies the college motto: “Many Drops Make Mighty Oceans”.

Six graduates of the college have been elected to serve mankind and help improve the education possibilities for African-Americans and minority students at SMC. In 1994, this group of graduates formed a non-profit 501 (C) (3) corporation, called The Organization of Black Maritime College Graduates, Inc. The O.B.M.G. mission statement is “to assist and encourage by educating and increasing public awareness regarding minority involvement in the maritime industry through recruitment, mentoring, scholarships and fundraising”. The mission is accomplished by offering scholarship opportunities and financial assistance to the students of SMC based on academic achievement, financial need, leadership abilities, social awareness and work ethics. Since the inception of the Organization of Black Maritime College Graduates, Inc., over 80 scholarships have been awarded to deserving students. The organization provides an education on the history and rich legacy of African-Americans and minorities in the maritime industry. The O.B.M.G.’s role also expands into community outreach to elementary and high school student recruitment, special events and educational partnerships in the maritime industry both ashore and afloat.

In reference to the rich legacy of African-Americans and minorities, these six graduates and board members have blazed the trails for others and have claimed their place in history. Captain Robert K. Cook is a 1980 graduate of SUNY Maritime College with a B.S in Physical Oceanography and Meteorology. He is the founding member and president of the Organization of Black Maritime Graduates, Inc. Captain Cook is a 1st class Harbor Pilot for the Pilot’s Association for the Bay and River Delaware. In 1993, he became one of the first African-American marine pilots in the United States in modern times. Captain Cook explains his excitement, “I am most excited when I hear from our graduates and see them going forward with their careers, becoming viable and productive members of society.”

Captain Howard B. Wyche is a 1979 graduate of the college with a B.S. in Marine Transportation. He is a founding member and treasurer of the O.B.M.G., Inc and is a 1st class Harbor Pilot for the Pilot’s Association for the Bay and River Delaware. In 1980, Captain Wyche was the first African-American to be accepted as an apprentice to the Pilot Association for the Bay and River Delaware. And in 1984, he became one of the first African-American Marine Pilots in the U.S in modern times. Captain Wyche explained, “ I enjoy working with the O.B.M.G., to keep its mission of helping the minority cadets at Maritime College pursue their dream of working in the maritime field.” Captain Wyche further explained, “It is always a pleasure when I return to the college and see the young enthusiastic faces walking around campus.”

Kevin L. Barrow, O.B.M.G. secretary, is a 1995 graduate of SUNY Maritime College with a B.S. in Business Administration. Mr. Barrow is a partner in the Pilot’s Association for the Bay and River Delaware.

Captain Eugene Monroe is a founding member and a 1982 graduated with a B.S. in Marine Transportation. Captain Monroe is a 1st class Harbor Pilot in Nassau, Bahamas.

Joseph Lewis is a founding member and a 1979 graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering. Presently, Mr. Lewis is an electrical engineer with the New York Transit Authority.

David Holman is a founding member and a 1980 graduate of the SUNY Maritime College with a B.E. in Marine Transportation. Mr. Holman is employed as a Federal Defense Attorney.

Mark Bodden is a founding member and a 1978 graduate of the college with a B.S. in Meteorology and Oceanography. Mr. Bodden is a Senior Education Services Consultant with the IRS, Treasury Department and Assistant Director for the Inmate Educational Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

The O.B.M.G. board’s members and graduates of SMC are Edward A. Lenard, Amie Carter and Sean Carswell.

The organization “believes that education is the key to global progress and prosperity”. For continued success, the Organization of Black Maritime College Graduates, Inc. is hosting a Scholarship Fundraising Gala on Saturday October 30, 2010 from 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. The event will take place aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. The O.B.M.G. members and supporters represent diverse ethnicities, professions and affiliations. All contributions are tax deductable and are used entirely for the scholarship fund, as the members absorb all administrative costs. Save the date!