Regimental review at Coast Guard Academy honors longtime former professors
New London — At the regimental review held Friday at the Coast Guard Academy, Superintendent Rear Adm. William Kelly offered a "welcome home" to the five honorees: recently retired members of the permanent commissioned teaching staff who are now professors emeriti.
The regimental review, in which the Corps of Cadets marches in formation and maneuvers to commands, is a time-honored tradition across service academies, and Friday's was the third one this spring at the academy.
"It's kind of a little bit like a professional family reunion," said Capt. Rich Sanders, who retired last July after serving as a faculty member from 1997 to 2021, ending as science department head. Sanders — who was Kelly's roommate when they attended the academy together as cadets — also served as director of the Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy and studied the impacts of corrosion on underwater wrecks.
Other honorees were also recent department heads: Capt. Brigid Pavilonis served as head of the humanities department and Capt. Mindy McGurer as head of the mathematics department.
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 provost at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
McGurer said "it's more than just teaching," because they're mentoring cadets to work in the same organization they work for. McGurer, who advised more than 50 operations research and computer analysis cadet capstone consulting projects for the Coast Guard and other government entities, is now an operations research analyst at Sonalysts in Waterford.
Janet McLeavey, the only civilian honoree, also previously served as math department chair. She was the first female faculty member at the academy when she joined in 1974 and retired last July as the academy's longest-serving faculty member.
The fifth honoree was Capt. Kurt Colella, who served as dean of academics from 2006 to 2021. As dean, he oversaw the creation of the Center for Arctic Policy and Study and of the new cyber systems major.
The Coast Guard Academy has honored local elected officials and visiting Coast Guard leaders in past regimental reviews, and the first one this spring honored 11 of the first 14 women to graduate from the academy, members of the Class of 1980.