Our History

For two decades, the Organization of Black Maritime College Graduates has strived to promote and support minority involvement in the maritime profession. The OBMG was formed in 1993 by six SUNY Maritime College graduates who wanted to help improve the education opportunities for African American and minority students. The founding members, Mark Bodden, Robert Cook, Dave Holman, Joe Lewis, Howard Wyche and Eugene Monroe (from the Bahamas) laid the foundation and set the course, “To assist and encourage by educating and increasing public awareness regarding minority involvement in the maritime industry through recruitment, mentoring, scholarships, and fundraising.” The current Board of Directors, Robert Cook, Howard Wyche, Kevin Barrow, Sean Carswell, Amie Carter, Ed Lenard, Eric James, and Louis Burgos continue to keep the OBMG on a steady course. One year later, in 1994, the first of over 130 scholarships were presented. The scholarships are awarded for academic achievement, leadership, social consciousness and financial need. We honor the sacrifices and meritorious contributions of individuals who epitomize the organization’s founding mission or have fostered minority involvement in the maritime profession by awarding scholarships in their name. Our academic award is named in honor of the first African American graduate of Maritime College, Carl F. Burnett, Class of 1950. Mr. Burnett was an honorary board member and an ardent supporter of the OBMG before his passing. The scholarships are awarded every year at the Black History Month Dinner, hosted by the Cultural Club at Maritime College, on the last Thursday in February. The dinner has been the forum for many motivational and inspirational keynote speakers. It has been our goal to educate those in attendance about African American history in the Marine profession. The evening is free to attend and is always entertaining and enlightening. In 2005, the OBMG incorporated in New York and received status as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. We rely solely on contributions for the scholarships. All administrative costs are absorbed by the members so every dollar donated goes entirely to the scholarships. All donations are tax deductible. In 2010, the OBMG hosted a scholarship Fundraiser aboard the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. The event was a resounding success, providing much needed funds for our scholarships. The OBMG has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including the prestigious SUNY Maritime College Admiral’s Award for Outstanding Service, presented by Admiral John Crane. The OBMG is involved with Maritime Charter schools, actively support the Coast Guard Foundation and participates in college and job fairs. Through recruitment of future mariners, mentoring, providing scholarships for students and giving guidance and support through networking after graduation, the OBMG has made a difference in deserving lives and shows that Many Drops Make Mighty Oceans. The students at Maritime College that the OBMG has assisted have gone on to become viable, productive citizens and professionals, both ashore and afloat. They have made strong social and economic contributions to our society. Our members and supporters represent a broad spectrum of professions and affiliations. Become a member here on the website, friend us on Facebook and continue to check the web site and Facebook for developing details and networking opportunities.
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