Thomas A. Cropper is the 14th president of California State University Maritime Academy, one of the 23 campuses in the California State University system. He began his presidency on July 1, 2012 after a 31-year career in the United States Navy.
President Cropper is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in engineering operations and received his commission from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program in 1981. He was designated a naval aviator in 1982, followed by operational assignments with three aircraft carrier-based jet squadrons. He went on to serve as the commanding officer of an F/A-18 squadron and as commander of the air wing aboard USS NIMITZ. Prior to his arrival at Cal Maritime , he directed education and at-sea training for Navy ships and aviation squadrons deploying to the western Pacific and the Middle East. Throughout his Navy career, he enjoyed a number of challenging shore assignments including attendance at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, service in the Office of Secretary of Defense William Cohen, and as the Navy Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution. President Cropper graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval War College earning a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. He holds additional master's degrees from the University of Tennessee (Aviation Systems) and the Catholic University of America (World Politics). He is the recipient of the Michael Ripley Award as Naval Test Pilot School Instructor of the Year, and was also selected as the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Pilot of the Year. His military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, and various service and campaign awards.
President Cropper has shepherded the academy through a period of change and renewal. A key element of his efforts has been to integrate our academy with the broader maritime profession, the California State University system, and the Solano County and City of Vallejo communities. He has served on several nonprofit boards including the US Navy League National Board of Directors, the San Francisco Marine Exchange, Vallejo Education Business Alliance, Leadership Vallejo, and California Maritime Academy Foundation. His recent awards include the New Dawn Vallejo Agent of Change award, Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Solano award, International Trade Education Programs Educator of the Year, and the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout award.
President Cropper resides on the Cal Maritime campus in Vallejo, California. His two daughters attended CSU campuses and his son is a Class of 2012 alumnus of California State University Maritime Academy.