AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Flanked by current students and joined by some graduates, the President of Maine Maritime Academy thanked the Legislature for creating the school.

The “Founder’s Day” at the Legislature took place almost 75 years to the day of the original vote by the 90th Maine Legislature to create the Maine Nautical Training School. That school later became Maine Maritime Academy. The Legislature created the school at a time when the nation’s merchant marine was already losing ships to German U-Boats, even though it was nine months before Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into World War Two. The school was started to provide trained ship’s officers for the merchant marine fleet.

Since then, MMA has become highly regarded within the maritime industry for the quality and skill of its graduates. The school has also provided generations of engineers for the power industry, and now also offers programs in international management and marine sciences. MMA has been rated the number one public college in the country by Money Magazine for the past two years.

The school’s board chair, Capt. Bob Peacock – who is also an MMA graduate – cited the “unbelievable” work ethic of the students. Academy President Dr. Bill Brennan echoed that, saying, ”Most of the students we have are focused, they’re driven, they have long term goals and are dedicated to the pursuit of their studies and the career they’ve chosen.”

Maine Maritime plans other events at the Castine campus this year to mark the 75th anniversary.