U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) has been appointed chairman of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s Board of Visitors, according to the congressman’s office.
Suozzi, who has sat on the academy’s Board of Visitors since 2017, was unanimously appointed to the position by board members on Monday after announcing the convening of the board’s 16 new members in Kings Point.
“For more than 75 years the United States Merchant Marine Academy, one of five U.S. service academies, has produced Midshipmen and merchant mariners that have faithfully served our nation in times of war and peace,” Suozzi said in a news release. “I am proud to sit on the Board of Visitors of this historically rich institution and truly honored to be named its Chairman.”
The board comprises five members appointed by the U.S. president; one senator from the Committee on Appropriations and appointed by the U.S. vice president; two representatives (one from the Committee on Appropriations) appointed by the speaker of the House; two senators appointed by the chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; three representatives appointed by the chair of the Committee on Armed Services; and ex-officio members, as described by federal law.
According to the board’s bylaws, the appointment of the chairman and vice chairman takes place on a biennial basis.
The role of the board is to maintain oversight on most aspects of the academy such as curriculum, instruction, fiscal affairs, physical equipment, academic methods and any other matters the academy sees fit for the board to monitor.
During his time on the board, Suozzi has sought to improve and modernize the 77-year-old establishment’s infrastructure.
The Department of Transportation was required to work alongside the National Academy of Public Administration to conduct a modernization study of the academy’s facilities as part of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act.
According to the congressman’s office, Suozzi has sent a letter to U.S. Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby asking that the study be expedited. .
“The oversight of the Board of Visitors is crucial to the Academy’s success,” Buzby said in the news release. “The insight generated by its members allows us to provide our midshipmen and faculty with the best academic and professional environment possible.”