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President Eisenhardt Honored by U.S. Coast Guard Commandant with Distinguished Public Service Award

(Vallejo, CA – May 1, 2012) – Dr. William B. Eisenhardt, RADM, USMS, has been honored with the U.S. Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award. Aside from the Gold and Silver Life-Saving Medals, the Distinguished Public Service Award is the highest public recognition that the Commandant of the Coast Guard may award.

The award was presented by Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft, Pacific Area Commander the United States Coast Guard during the Commencement Ceremony for Cal Maritime's Class of 2012, which took place on Saturday, April 28. One-hundred-and-sixty-six graduates participated in Commencement, all of whom received a bachelor's degree in one of Cal Maritime's six majors: Global Studies and Maritime Affairs, Business Administration - International Business and Logistics, Facilities Engineering Technology, Marine Engineering Technology, Marine Transportation, and Mechanical Engineering.

Eisenhardt was selected to receive the Coast Guard's Distinguished Public Service Award for his extraordinary service as the President of the California Maritime Academy from July 2001 to June 2012. The award specifically commends a number of accomplishments during Eisenhardt's 11-year tenure as president, including:

  • Working with faculty to secure a grant that enabled the Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Game and other state and federal agencies to use Cal Maritime's state-of-the art simulation center to plan and respond to simulated oil spill scenarios in the San Francisco Bay Area;
  • Championing the need for effective education and training in the rapid globalization of the international shipping arena, through his role as a founding member of the International Association of Maritime Universities; and
  • For his proactive efforts in creating The California Maritime Academy Coast Guard Pre-Commissioning Pilot Program, which prepares cadets to become active duty commissioned officers in the United States Coast Guard. The program has strengthened the relationship between the U.S. Coast Guard and has resulted in more than 30 graduates accepting an active duty commission, 12 cadets entering the reserves, and four cadets being assigned to civilian positions within the U.S. Coast Guard.

Commencement 2012

The Class of 2012's Commencement ceremony marked the final graduation celebration under Eisenhardt's "watch." To mark the occasion, he was invited to give the Commencement speech, which he started off on a light note, "Class of 2012, here we are, you and I, a bunch of short-timers!"

He continued on to deliver a more serious message that included his Top 10 List for graduates, that included such advice as No. 10: Continue to Learn, No. 6: Experience and Celebrate the diversity in life, and No. 3: Work on giving and earning respect.

"Cal Maritime graduates do not merely go where life takes them they navigate their own destiny," Eisenhardt said in his closing remarks. "So, as has been my tradition at our commencements, I wish you 'fair winds and following seas' as I, too, continue to navigate my destiny and 'graduate' from this academy with the class of 2012. From my wife, Kathryn, and me, 'God bless and farewell.'"

To read President Eisenhardt's Commencement Speech in its entirety, click here

Established in 1929, The California Maritime Academy, a campus of The California State University, is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Cal Maritime was recently ranked by Forbes magazine as #18 in the “Top 20 Best Value Colleges” in the nation – and the #1 Best Value in California for providing students with the highest quality education for their academic dollar. Located in Vallejo, Calif., the campus serves approximately 900 students and offers undergraduate degrees preparing students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. It also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.

Photo Caption: During Commencement 2012, U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Paul Zukunft presented Cal Maritime President Bill Eisenhardt with the U.S. Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award. Aside from the Gold and Silver Life-Saving Medals, this is the highest public recognition the that Commandant of the Coast Guard may award.


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Last updated: 8/27/20