Mass Maritime Graduates Convene for 35th Reunion

May 24, 2011
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Graduates of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy are pictured outside the Porthole Pub, site of their 35th class reunion.

Graduates of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Class of 1976 gathered at the Porthole Restaurant in Lynn on May 12 for their 35th reunion.

Two graduates with Lynn connections, Phil Trapasso, who attended Lynn English High School, and Tom Donahue, a long-time Lynn resident, were among the guests.

“In my senior year at English I made a decision to go to Mass Maritime,” recalled Trapasso. “I had played football with my classmate, John Ryan, and he was going to Mass Maritime. At the time I knew very little about the school, but as it turns out it was a great decision to go there.”

Trapasso majored in Marine Engineering and had a 20-year career at sea, retiring in 1998. He currently repairs ships for a New Hampshire firm.

Trapasso, who is married and has four children, said he was excited to his former classmates.

“I can’t believe I haven’t seen some of these guys for 35 years and some of them haven’t changed a bit,” said Trapasso. “We have great memories of our college days. I would definitely recommend the academy to high school students.”

Donahue graduated from Winthrop High in 1972 before matriculating at MMA. He received a degree in Marine Engineering.

“I didn’t learn about the school until my senior year in high school,” said Donahue. “I loved the ocean and boating and I knew I wanted to travel. The more I learned about Mass Maritime, the more I wanted to go there. A lot of students from Winthrop were already at the academy and that inspired me.”

Donahue said while growing up in Winthrop he did a lot of sailing with his father, Bob, on Point Shirley and at the local yacht clubs.

“We were always out on the water on speed boats and fishing on Saturday mornings – we had a love of the sea,” said Donahue. “That’s how my mother [the late Anne Donahue] brought us up, with a love of the sea.”

Donahue said the reunion rekindled great memories of his days at the academy.

“This reunion was about a brotherhood that we’ve had for 35 years as former students at Massachusetts Maritime Academy,” said Donahue.

He hopes high school students will consider Mass Maritime.

“We want to get a message to high school students that if you love the sea, take a look at attending Mass Maritime. The school will open up so many doors for you. You’re going to get the military discipline and you’re going to travel world wide.”

Following his graduation from MMA, Donahue worked as an engineer on merchant ships for eight years and traveled to South America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Following his marine career, Donahue and his wife bought a house in Lynn and he took a position at National Grid where he is currently an account executive. They have two sons, Tom Jr., 27, and, James, 25, both graduates of Lynn English.

Donahue is looking forward to the next reunion.

“It was a great time. It was like being at the family dinner table with long-lost relatives that I haven’t seen in 35 years. As soon as you see the faces – we were so close when we were at Mass Maritime. We use to go out on ships for training cruises throughout Europe and South America for two months at a time. It was a real kinship and a great life.”

(Massachusetts Maritime Academy, located in Buzzards Bay, offers Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. The Website is www.maritime. edu.)

  • Richard L. McAndrew

    My name is Richard L. McAndrew and I am the 1976 MMA graduate in the middle in the back with the beard.  Thomas Donahue said it best we are brothers not just classmates.  I am known as “Ralph” and I am proud to be associated with the most finest group of gentlemen and brothers.  We are a “Band of Brothers” just like the movie but in a different way.  We have gone on own paths and some paths have crossed during our 35 year after our graduation but we always stuck together as brothers.  I am not from Lynn or Winthrop but from Fall River, Mass. but the time we had @ the Porthole was priceless and although we could not talk to each other  the way we wanted, there was an atmosphere there that noone could describe.  I felt like we were bonded together again like we were @ Massachusetts Maritime Academy back in 1976.  You see we were the transition class @ MMA,  we were last of the “old school and beginning of the new”.  We were last class to graduate from MMA with no women attending there so you could imagine what MMA was like with just all men.  I don’t want to come off like a male chauvenist but that’s how it was back in our day. I just want to add I want to thank the late President Lee Harrington for believing in a small 120 lbs kid and made him into an “Officer and a Gentleman”.  Please send me a copy of this newspaper to me @ Richard L. McAndrew 15 Harvest Avenue Dartmouth, MA 02747-5313 and I will be glad to pay for any fees that may incur.  If you need a follow-up story I’ll be honored to provide you with some more stories from someone other than a MMA graduate from Lynn or Winthrop, MA.  Be well and Godspeed to you and your families.

    All my best,
    Richard (Ralph) L. McAndrew
    Massachusetts Maritime Academy
    Class of 1976
    15 Harvest Avenue
    Dartmouth, MA
    02747-5313

  • Ymar52

    My Name is Yasser Marzuq I’m a graduate of MMA class 1976. Sorry I could not be there , but for sure I will attend next Sept. Currently I live in Kuwait, Ithing class of 1976 MMA is the best.
    Regards
    Yasser Marzuq

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