Maritime Memory Oral History Project

The goal of the Maritime Memory Oral History Project is to foster understanding of life at the Maritime College through recording the memories and stories of its graduates. Below is a selection of recordings available for streaming. The full collection is available for listening in the Stephen B. Luce Library.

Your story is our history! Share your stories from ashore in the classroom to at sea onboard the Empire State. Recordings are preserved at the Archives at the Stephen B. Luce Library.

Schedule an individual or a group interview with Annie Tummino at (718) 409-7228 or atummino@sunymaritime.edu.

Interview with Charlie Ferrira, Last Lighthouse Keeper of the Throggs Neck Light

    This is a copy of a radio show that was aired in the 1970s that was a replay of an interview with Charlie Ferreira, the last lighthouse keeper of the Throggs Neck Light. There is a good deal of anectdotal information on the history of Fort Schuyler during its period under the army.

    Radio Interview from March 31, 1944
    22 minutes

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Interview with Thomas T. Craven, Former Superintendent of the New York State Merchant Marine Academy

    During the World War II period, Superintendent Admiral Craven appeared on a radio game show called "Double or Nothing." Aside from the game, Craven provides information on the school during that time.

    21 minutes

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Interview with William Heller, Class of 1945

    Interview with William Heller, Class of 1945.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on February 14, 2014
    1 hour, 22 minutes

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Interview with Arthur Murray and Richard Kadison, Class of 1945

    Richard Kadison and Arthur Murray are 1945 graduates of Maritime College (MC). It was Arthur Murray’s ambition since he was a child to go to sea since his father and grandfather had been to sea. Maritime College fulfilled that ambition. What drew Richard Kadison to the sea and MC was his father’s service in the Navy during WWI. Mr. Kadison had also lost a first cousin on an oil tanker and had the idea that he would take his cousin’s place at sea. Both remember regiment life as very strict and disciplined, basically as “hell.” They understood that regiment life was meant to build you up so you wouldn’t crack under pressure. The hazing at the time was brutal but had value explains Mr. Murray. Both were 2nd classman on the training ship and quickly became the upper classman. Mr. Murray was in charge of the mess deck head and tells a funny story of one experience he had trying to get rid of a problem in the mess deck head. With WWII raging on the training ship cruised up and down the Long Island Sound for security purposes. After graduation Mr. Kadison was on a troop ship. Mr. Kadison describes the feelings after WWII ended on the troop ship. Mr. Kadison eventually became a professor of Mathematics and continues to teach at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Murray stayed on with a shipping company after the war and talks about his encounters with Japanese prisoners of war. Eventually Mr. Murray worked as an hyperbaric engineer at Westinghouse and then as a licensing examiner for the Coast Guard.

    Interview conducted by Gregory Murphy on September 25, 2010
    28 minutes

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Interview with Phillip Dilloway, Class of 1946

    Phillip Dilloway, Class of 1946. He recalls his days as a cadet at the Maritime College.

    Interview conducted by Elizabeth Berilla on March 10, 2011
    70 minutes

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Interview with Otto Liepen, Class of 1946

    Interview with Otto Liepen, Class of 1946.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on March 5, 2014
    1 hour, 12 minutes

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Interview with Charles Stromer and Leonard Weiss, Class of 1946

    Charles Strommer and Leonard Weiss are October 1946 graduates of the then Maritime Academy, not yet a SUNY institution. There were (2) graduating classes in 1946, January and October because WWII was raging students were pushed through as fast as possible stated Mr. Weiss. Mr. Weiss was 17 when he decided to attend the academy in an effort to avoid the draft. Mr. Strommer wanted to be a big shot and took every entrance exam possible, the Naval Academy, Military Academy, US Army College program and the Maritime Academy. He received many acceptances but chose Maritime because he thought it had the best long term possibilities after graduation and the war. Mr. Strommer thought Maritime was attractive because it taught a practical course of instruction applicable to land, sea and air. After graduation Mr. Weiss became a merchant marine and sailed until 1950 then went on active duty in the Korean War. Mr. Strommer also sailed after graduation but then returned to Maritime when it became SUNY to further his education. Life in the regiment was austere. There was a lot of hazing and fighting. The school has a history of class distinction. The whole campus consisted of the fort. Everything happened in the fort, dining, sleeping, classes, etc. The ship at the time was the US Newport and it had a reputation. Local parents would threaten their teenagers if they don't behave they would send them to the school ship. There were (2) cruises, one was up and down Long Island because it was too dangerous to sail with the war going on and the other was around South America. Both Mr. Strommer and Mr. Weiss agreed that Cuba was the most memorable stop, a paradise with the most beautiful women. Both also agree that their education and experiences at Maritime contributed greatly to their later successes in business. Their experience of life at sea, travelling, learning how to get along with others and the strict discipline contributed greatly to their success.

    Interview conducted by Gregory Murphy on September 25, 2010
    30 minutes

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Interview with Robert Barr, Class of 1947

    Interview with Robert Barr, Class of 1947.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on November 4, 2011
    1 hour, 33 minutes

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Interview with Bernie Kovitz, Class of 1947

    Interview with Bernie Kovitz, Class of 1947.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on February 7, 2013
    38 minutes

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Interview with Robert Preston, Class of 1947

    Interview with Robert Preston, Class of 1947.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on February 14, 2013
    28 minutes

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Interview with Harold A. Parnham, Jr., Class of 1948

    Interview with Harold A. Parnham, Jr., Class of 1948 and faculty at SUNY Maritime College.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on April 26, 2013
    1 hour, 25 minutes

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Interview with A. Parks Honeywell, Class of 1956

    Interview with A Parks Honeywell, Maritime College class of 1956.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Murphy on October 15, 2010
    19 minutes

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Interview with Edward Villella, Class of 1957

    Interview with Edward Villella, Class of 1957.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on July 15, 2013
    18 minutes

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Interview with Charles Hoffman, Class of 1960

    Mr. Hoffman is a 1960 Marine Transportation graduate of Maritime College (MC). What spurred Mr. Hoffman to attend MC was talking with his best friend's brother who graduated from MC in 1952. Coming from a small town in upstate NY Mr. Hoffman also wanted to experience the world and travel. Mr. Hoffman explains how he struggled academically in his first 3 semesters at MC and how he overcame his poor study habits. He found regiment life strict but didn't have much trouble with it. Mr. Hoffman remembers getting in trouble for an "86 Watch" but at the time he didn't even know what an 86 Watch was or that he did anything wrong. Mr. Hoffman remembers there was a lot of hazing at the time but no physical hazing. He felt the hazing hindered him academically. He recalls the "Brace Party" and other things that were expected of underclassman. Mr. Hoffman's training cruise was on the Empire State III, The Mercy. He recalls many ports such as Plymouth, North and South Ireland, Dublin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Oslo. On his stay in Oslo he meant a nice, young lady at a lawn party sponsored by the Ambassador of Oslo. The woman showed Mr. Hoffman all around the city of Oslo and then brought him to her parent's house for dinner. Mr. Hoffman enjoyed meeting the local people. Mr. Hoffman always thought the food on the ship was much better than the food on campus. He recalls some of the unpleasant names they had for the food. Although Mr. Hoffman did not get into any trouble while on the training ship he recalls when several fellows decided to wade in the Trevi Fountain which led to waking up the U.S. Ambassador in the middle of night. Immediately after graduation Mr. Hoffman worked in highway constructions for a couple of months and then joined the Navy in the fall of 1960 and became a Section Leader in Company A. Mr. Hoffman talks about his experiences working for the government for 37 years. Mr. Hoffman explains how he participated in the death of a nation and the birth of a nation.

    Interview conducted by Joseph Williams on September 25, 2010
    34 minutes

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Interview with Kenneth Bishop, Clarence Kenyon, Alfred Longo, and Albert Mackay,
Class of 1960

    Kenneth Bishop, Clarence Kenyon, Alfred Longo, and Albert Mackay are 1960 graduates of Maritime College (MC). Mr. Kenyon, Mr. Longo, and Mr. Mackay all graduated with a Marine Engineering degree and Mr. Bishop with a degree in Marine Transportation. Each had their own reasons for choosing MC for their undergraduate education from wanting to travel to having an interest in ships. All agree the price was right too. They remember regiment life being tough living in WWII barracks, marching every morning before breakfast and having inspections after breakfast. It was crowded too, guys lined up at the sink to wash up and shave. Many times cadets ran down the sea wall if they were running late for breakfast. All cruised on the Empire State III ship and had many stories to tell about their rooms, the smells, and the card games. All remembered many ports and talked about their experiences with the locals, the entertainment, and the receptions they would receive from the host country. After graduation they all realized the quality of the education they received at MC. The hands on, practical experience was invaluable compared to what other elite engineering schools provided. Their advice to future students is to never give up.

    Interview conducted by Elizabeth Berilla on September 25, 2010
    26 minutes

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Interview with James Whalen, Class of 1962

    Interview with James Whalen, Class of 1962.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on May 14, 2014
    1 hour, 12 minutes

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Interview with Robert P. Thompson, Class of 1964
Former Master of the Training Ship

    Interview with Robert P. Thompson, Class of 1964 and Former Master of the Training Ship.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on July 18, 2013
    1 hour, 12 minutes

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Interview with Robert Berner, Class of 1965

    Mr. Berner enjoyed talking about his experiences at Maritime College (MC). One of the main reasons he attended MC was to follow in his dad's footsteps, a 1935 graduate. He also wanted to be an engineer and liked what MC had to offer. In 1965 the existing dormitories were condemned and torn down while the new ones were not yet complete. Mr. Berner lived on the school ship, the Henry S. Gibbons, a WWII C3 army transit which is now known as the Empire State IV. The 4th class “mugs” lived in the cargo holds. Mr. Berner recalls how the very tight quarters were distracting but also very fun. All they had was a 6ft high by 1ft wide by 1ft deep locker to keep their books and uniform. No room for “civvies” as Mr. Berner refers to civilian clothes. Beds were stacked 3 high which consisted of a mattress and a canvas. Not a place for studying. Often Mr. Berner would sneak into the stacks area to study. One of Mr. Berner’s most vivid and fond memories was being on the rowing team and rowing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean during a cruise. They did swim call drills in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean which was also a memorable and exciting experience. Mr. Berner learned the rules quickly and knew how to stay out of trouble. He said getting involved was the best thing he did while attending MC and would advise today’s cadets of the same. He volunteered for many jobs and activities, such as the dance committee, a “guide on”, and welding on the ship. He did mention one rule he broke, having electric hair clippers which he stowed in his stencil box. However, this was overlooked since he cut many 1st classmen’s hair every Friday night. Only until a 2nd classman came along with his own electric clippers and turned in Mr. Berner did the Friday night sessions end. Mr. Berner received 25 demerits for possession of the electric hair clippers. After graduation he basically had (3) choices, go into the navy, wait to get drafted for Vietnam, or sail in the Merchant Marines. He would have chose the navy if they could guarantee he’d be in the CBs and could attend graduate school for civil engineering. The navy “doesn’t make deals” as he was told. So off to sea he went and he never got drafted by the army. Mr. Berner worked at Exxon International for 30 years, retired in 2000 and is a consultant.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on September 25, 2010
    34 minutes

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Interview with Frank Hoch, Class of 1978

    Mr. Hoch is a 1978 graduate of Maritime College (MC). Mr. Hoch explains why his father and cousin contributed to his decision to attend MC. Mr. Hoch notes at the time when his class entered MC it had the largest contingent of women attending in the deck and engine departments. Mr. Hoch describes the campus and technology during his time at MC. Mr. Hoch sailed on the Empire State V. He describes his 1st cruise as a freshman when they sailed through a hurricane. Mr. Hoch recalls what regiment life was like, the challenging academics and some prank traditions at Schuyler which is what the students called Maritime College at the time. After graduation Mr. Hoch was a field engineer at a power plant on Long Island. It was the first power plant to use municipal waste to generate power. After the power plant closed he came back to MC as a 3rd Engineer aboard ship and then worked in the sugar refining industry for 22 years.

    Interview conducted by Gregory Murphy on September 25, 2010
    20 minutes

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Interview with Captain Robert Fay, Class of 1980

    Interview with Captain Robert Fay, Class of 1980.

    Interview conducted by Joseph A. Williams on January 24, 2012
    36 minutes

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SUNY Maritime College Spring 2014 Commencement

    Audio recording of the Spring 2014 Commencement ceremony at SUNY Maritime College in St. Mary's Pentagon on May 9, 2014

    1 hour, 33 minutes

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Interviews available for listening at the Stephen B. Luce Library - By Last Name

  • Gerald Albin, Class of 1950
  • Jack Angel, Class of 1960
  • Ron d'Arcy, Class of 1960
  • Vincent Barone, Class of 1962
  • Robert Barr, Class of 1947
  • Robert Berner, Class of 1965
  • Kenneth Bishop, Class of 1960
  • Stephen Bonina, Class of 1984
  • Donald P. Brennan, Class of 1961, Former College Council Chair
  • Brian Burger, Class of 1965
  • William Caldwell, Class of 1958
  • Michael Cappeto, Former Interim President, Provost, Faculty
  • Amie Carter, Class of 2000
  • Gerald Chaskes, Class of 1960
  • Benedict Ciferi, Class of 1972
  • Nancy Lee Clark, Class of 1961
  • R. Thomas Clark, Class of 1961
  • Tom Colgan, Class of 1970
  • David Cooke, Class of 1972
  • James Cordara, Class of 1985
  • David Cory, Class of 1950
  • Thomas T. Craven, Former Superintendent
  • Frank Cuccio, Class of 1982
  • James DeSimone, Class of 1973
  • Phillip Dilloway, Class of 1946
  • John Dropp, Class of 1963
  • Joseph Dropp, Class of 1963
  • Robert Fay, Class of 1980
  • Jose Femenia, Class of 1964, Former Faculty
  • Charlie Ferreira, Throggs Neck Lighthouse Keeper
  • Ernest Fink, Class of 1975
  • Walter Forester, Class of 1963
  • Gordon R. Fuller, Class of 1962
  • Tim Gardner, Class of 1973
  • Jerry Gerson Goldman, Class of 1962
  • William Heller, Class of 1944
  • Todd Hiller, Class of 1992
  • Frank Hoch, Class of 1978
  • Charles Hoffman, Class of 1960
  • Michael D. Holmes, Class of 1978
  • A. Parks Honeywell, Class of 1956
  • Sheldon C. Johnson, Class of 1963
  • Richard Kadison, Class of 1945
  • Clarence Kenyon, Class of 1960
  • Sean Kirby, Class of 1982
  • Bernie Kovitz, Class of 1947
  • Richard Kulak, Class of 1960
  • Richard Kurz, Class of 1968
  • Robert Landucci, Class of 1947
  • Otto Liepen, Class of 1946
  • Alfred Longo, Class of 1960
  • William Love, Class of 1962
  • Stephen Lyons, Class of 1970
  • Albert Mackay, Class of 1960
  • Norman Maender, Class of 1963
  • Jacon H. Martens, Class of 1952
  • Marjorie Murtagh-Cooke, Class of 1974
  • Arthur Murray, Class of 1945
  • Richard Ohlsen, Class of 1990
  • Harold A. Parnham, Jr., Class of 1948
  • Robert Preston, Class of 1947
  • Ted Pullen, Class of 1960
  • Gary Raffaele, Class of 1960
  • Ronald Rasmus, Class of 1960
  • Jack Ringelberg, Class of 1961
  • Alan Ross, Class of 1963
  • Richard Seel, Class of 1960
  • Michael B. Spring, Grew up on campus
  • Captain Hugh Stephens, Faculty
  • Charles Strommer, Class of 1946
  • Ian Sulzer, Class of 2013
  • Robert P. Thompson, Class of 1964, Former Master of the Training Ship
  • Bill Tuttle, Class of 1965
  • John Uzdevenes, Class of 1967
  • Eugene Viani, Class of 1955
  • Edward Villella, Class of 1957
  • Leonard Weiss, Class of 1946
  • James Whalen, Class of 1962
  • Frank Wiegand, Class of 1973
  • Conrad Youngren, Class of 1967
  • John Zerbo, Class of 1960

  • Change of Command Ceremony, August 31, 2011
  • SUNY Maritime 2012 Commencement
  • SUNY Maritime 2013 Commencement
  • SUNY Maritime 2014 Commencement

Interviews available for listening at the Stephen B. Luce Library - By Class of Graduation

  • William Heller, Class of 1944
  • Richard Kadison, Class of 1945
  • Arthur Murray, Class of 1945
  • Phillip Dilloway, Class of 1946
  • Otto Liepen, Class of 1946
  • Charles Strommer, Class of 1946
  • Leonard Weiss, Class of 1946
  • Robert Barr, Class of 1947
  • Bernie Kovitz, Class of 1947
  • Robert Landucci, Class of 1947
  • Robert Preston, Class of 1947
  • Harold A. Parnham, Jr., Class of 1948
  • Gerald Albin, Class of 1950
  • David Cory, Class of 1950
  • Jacon H. Martens, Class of 1952
  • Eugene Viani, Class of 1955
  • A. Parks Honeywell, Class of 1956
  • Edward Villella, Class of 1957
  • William Caldwell, Class of 1958
  • Jack Angel, Class of 1960
  • Ron d'Arcy, Class of 1960
  • Kenneth Bishop, Class of 1960
  • Gerald Chaskes, Class of 1960
  • Charles Hoffman, Class of 1960
  • Clarence Kenyon, Class of 1960
  • Richard Kulak, Class of 1960
  • Alfred Longo, Class of 1960
  • Albert Mackay, Class of 1960
  • Ted Pullen, Class of 1960
  • Richard Seel, Class of 1960
  • Gary Raffaele, Class of 1960
  • Ronald Rasmus, Class of 1960
  • John Zerbo, Class of 1960
  • Donald P. Brennan, Class of 1961, Former College Council Chair
  • Nancy Lee Clark, Class of 1961
  • R. Thomas Clark, Class of 1961
  • Jack Ringelberg, Class of 1961
  • Vincent Barone, Class of 1962
  • Gordon R. Fuller, Class of 1962
  • Jerry Gerson Goldman, Class of 1962
  • William Love, Class of 1962
  • James Whalen, Class of 1962
  • John Dropp, Class of 1963
  • Joseph Dropp, Class of 1963
  • Walter Forester, Class of 1963
  • Sheldon C. Johnson, Class of 1963
  • Norman Maender, Class of 1963
  • Alan Ross, Class of 1963
  • Jose Femenia, Class of 1964, Former Faculty
  • Robert P. Thompson, Class of 1964, Former Master of the Training Ship
  • Robert Berner, Class of 1965
  • Brian Burger, Class of 1965
  • Bill Tuttle, Class of 1965
  • John Uzdevenes, Class of 1967
  • Conrad Youngren, Class of 1967
  • Richard Kurz, Class of 1968
  • Tom Colgan, Class of 1970
  • Stephen Lyons, Class of 1970
  • Benedict Ciferi, Class of 1972
  • David Cooke, Class of 1972
  • James DeSimone, Class of 1973
  • Tim Gardner, Class of 1973
  • Frank Wiegand, Class of 1973
  • Marjorie Murtagh-Cooke, Class of 1974
  • Ernest Fink, Class of 1975
  • Frank Hoch, Class of 1978
  • Michael D. Holmes, Class of 1978
  • Robert Fay, Class of 1980
  • Frank Cuccio, Class of 1982
  • Sean Kirby, Class of 1982
  • Stephen Bonina, Class of 1984
  • James Cordara, Class of 1985
  • Richard Ohlsen, Class of 1990
  • Todd Hiller, Class of 1992
  • Amie Carter, Class of 2000
  • Ian Sulzer, Class of 2013

  • Michael Cappeto, Former Interim President, Provost, Faculty
  • Thomas T. Craven, Former Superintendent
  • Charlie Ferreira, Throggs Neck Lighthouse Keeper
  • Michael B. Spring, Grew up on campus
  • Captain Hugh Stephens, Faculty
  • Change of Command Ceremony, August 31, 2011
  • SUNY Maritime 2012 Commencement
  • SUNY Maritime 2013 Commencement
  • SUNY Maritime 2014 Commencement