An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 27, 2022

Coast Guard Academy honors longtime former professors

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Hunter Medley, U.S. Coast Guard Academy External Affairs

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy recently honored five honorees at “welcome home” consisting of retired academic and professional faculty members who are now professors emeriti.

The Professor Emeritus program consists of former members of the Academy who have made significant contributions to the institution, are recommended by the Credentials Committee, and require an endorsement from the provost. Honorees must have also been employed or stationed at the Academy continuously for the last 15 years before retirement.

The honorees come from various academic backgrounds and with this honor are frequently sought for their advice and counsel as well as maintaining a professional affiliation with the institution. They also participate in social functions, lecture series and large projects at the Coast Guard Academy.

“These honorees represent decades of exemplary service to our institution and the Coast Guard,” said Dr. Amy Donahue, Provost of the Coast Guard Academy. “They have had great impact on the institution, and also the nation through their development of excellent young women and men now in the fleet.”

Capt. Brigid Pavilonis spearheaded the Academy's biggest summer internship program and built relationships that brought about an endowment to support overseas internships, managed three commencements with U.S. presidents, and expanded Coast Guard-sponsored advanced research projects in the government major. She is now the provost at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Capt. Mindy McGurer advised more than 50 operations research and computer analysis cadet capstone projects for the Coast Guard during her time at the Academy and other government entities. Serving as the Mathematics Department Head from 2011-2020, she increased Academy connections to Coast Guard missions service-wide through cadet capstone projects and faculty research. 

Capt. Rich Sanders, who retired last July after serving as a faculty member from 1997 to 2021, ending as science department head. He served in numerous positions ranging from the Chemistry Section Chief, Associate Dean of Academics and the director of the Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy and studied the impacts of corrosion on underwater wrecks.

The only civilian honoree, Dr. Janet McLeavey served as math department chair. When she joined the mathematics department in 1974, she didn’t realize she was making history wo years before the first women joined the Corps of Cadets at the Academy where she accepted the position as an assistant professor and became the institution’s first female faculty member. As leader within the Math Department, McLeavey seized the opportunity to meet the growing organizational need for data analytics by developing the Operations Research and Computer Analysis (ORCA) major and served as the Mathematics Department head from 1998-2002. She retired last July as the Academy’s longest-serving faculty member and most senior civilian tenured professor in the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security. 

The final honoree was Dr. Kurt Colella, who served as the Dean of Academics from 2006 to 2021 where he oversaw the education, training, development, and inspiration of leaders of character for service to our Nation and retired as a captain in 2006. As dean, Colella fostered unprecedented opportunities for cadets and faculty alike to serve as an intellectual resource for the Coast Guard and the broader Department, including through internships, summer training programs, capstone projects, the stand-up of a new interdisciplinary Cyber Systems major, the creation of the Coast Guard's only "think tank": the Center for Arctic Policy and Study.”

The dedication of academic and professional faculty members continues to contribute to develop leaders of our service and each honoree displays steadfast support of the Academy while continuing to bring credit to the institution. 

In the news:
First to lead the way