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MMA Announces the Appointment of an Interim President

On Tuesday, May 21, MMA President Jerry Paul announced his intent to retire this summer due to extenuating family circumstances. The MMA Board of Trustees assembled a special meeting today to finalize a transition plan for presidential leadership at the Academy.

In a message to the community, Board Chair Wayne Norton said, “Through many of Paul’s initiatives, hard work, and vision, he has been a catalyst for a new trajectory at the Academy. President Paul leaves behind a strong foundation poised for continued growth born of the hard work of our faculty, staff, and Academy leadership team.

Under his watch, MMA has reinstated MMA Football, established the MMA Foundation, reached new records for state and federal funding, prepared for the arrival of a new training ship and pier renovations to accompany it. New strategies in Advancement, Enrollment and communications have reaped solid results, and MMA’s profile throughout the state and abroad is strengthening.  The Academy’s profile on the water through the return of the schooner Bowdoin to the Arctic after 16 years and the return of a nationally competitive sailing team are commendable. While I cannot list the full breadth and depth of his accomplishments, I assure you, they are felt in programs across the campus.”

President Paul wrote in his letter to the Board, “Even more importantly [than our successes], I am pleased to have assembled a strong and capable Administration Vice Presidential team that is performing at high levels of management and leadership.  Together we have plotted a path forward that will be measured on delivering the best possible experience and outcomes for our students so that they may continue to lead in our industry for generations to come. This team of professionals has a shared vision for our Academy and its future.”

Following the special meeting of the board on May 22nd, Chairman Norton announced that the Board had unanimously supported the appointment of Craig Johnson ’91 as Interim President of Maine Maritime Academy effective June 2nd, 2024. Mr. Johnson has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Maine Maritime Academy since August of 2022. In this capacity, he has been integral in all Academy operations from the oversight of our multi-million-dollar construction initiatives to initiating and growing our strategic partnerships to produce additional relationships in the maritime industry and revenue streams. During his tenure, he has served as the temporary overseer of our financial, operational, and facilities operations, as well as Advancement and Alumni affairs.

As an alumnus, his connections within the Academy community are deep and meaningful. As someone who has served in the maritime industry for over three decades, his industry relationships are equally as strong. Mr. Johnson has the respect of those from all corners of our campus and will deliver continuity. We are pleased that he has accepted this appointment.

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