In a small ceremony Monday, local Coast Guard officials recognized five members of Station Menemsha crew for their accomplishments on land. In addition to their full-time responsibilities on active duty, the men earned associate in science degrees from Vincennes University, a public university in Indiana.
One by one, Petty Officer First Class Christopher Seevers, Petty Officer First Class Daniel Phillips, Petty Officer Second Class Gary Kovack, Petty Officer Second Class Nickolas Meegan and Petty Officer First Class Scott Maccaferri walked up to a podium where Mai Miller, eastern regional director of Vincennes University, handed the men their diplomas.
“Looking at how competitive the world is getting, having a degree to your credit makes you more attractive to the outside world and to the Coast Guard,” said Captain Verne Gifford, commander of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.
Through a partnership between the U.S Armed Forces and the university, a mix of traditional courses and hands-on work at the station allowed the crew members to complete college credits while working.The five men completed 15 courses and 350 hours at the station. All graduated with honors.
While many college graduates worry about job prospects and repaying college loans, the Coast Guard funded the students’ education. “Usually graduates leave with a mountain of debt and don’t have a job,” Captain Gifford said. “You are already two steps ahead of most.”
Coast Guard Menemsha station chief Jason Olsen applauded the graduates. “You guys put a lot of hard work in, balanced your personal lives, and you finished strong,” he said.
Chief Olsen had words of encouragement for other crew members in attendance. “I know you guys do a lot of hard work, and, if you have the time, consider getting your degree,” he said.
The original version of this article incorrectly identified the ranks of the graduates.