To understand the heritage and history of any school is to understand that such institutions do not automatically pop up fully-grown and completely functional. Seeds are planted and events occur which may drive decisions, and prompt responding actions. Such is the history of the California Maritime Academy.
While Cal Maritime’s history officially began when it was authorized in 1929, the school has evolved with the times, and it is now more dynamic and ready for the future, mainly because of its experiences in the past. On July 1, 1995, the California Maritime Academy became the 22nd campus of the California State University System (CSU), which opened new opportunities for educational and institutional enhancement. In 1996, the academy introduced a Facilities Engineering Technology major. In 1997, Cal Maritime joined the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, increasing access for out-of-state students.
Last fall, 18 curious PVE residents — along with PVE’s Julie Baumann — traveled to Vallejo to visit the CSUM campus, which is located in Morrow Cove. When we arrived, we were excited to see such a beautiful campus plus wondrous sights such as the Carquinez Bridge, the San Francisco Bay, beautiful hillside homes nearby with exquisite views of the bay and a large ship docked called the Golden Bear.
Upon arrival at CSUM, three cadets served as our tour guides. We had many questions about the campus, programs, and the school’s connection to the Merchant Marine industry ship the Golden Bear, which we toured from topside down to the engine room.
We learned that the college offers one graduate and six undergraduate degrees, all of which are tied to a nautical curriculum. The California Maritime Academy now has an active enrollment of about 1,200 students and is growing. It is one of the smallest CSUM institutions.
While we were moving from one area of the campus to another, a resident’s grandson joined us and served as a fourth guide. The Cal Maritime students wear uniforms and while there is no requirement to join the military, many cadets participate in the school’s Navy ROTC program.
After spending two hours at the school, we headed to a very good Italian restaurant in Vallejo. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the CSUM campus hidden along Interstate 80.