UWGB Alumnus Richard Stewart ’82 Receives National Medal

UWGB Alumnus Richard Stewart ’82 Receives National Medal

On May 22, 2023, during the National Maritime Day celebration in the port of Duluth Superior a representative of the United States Maritime Administration presented Richard Dow Stewart with the Merchant Marine Medal for Outstanding Achievement.

The Outstanding Achievement Medal was established in 2002 and is awarded by the U.S. Maritime Administration to members of the maritime industry for an act or operation of humanitarian nature directly to an individual or groups of individuals, long and dedicated years of service or achievement, or for an extraordinary valuable contribution or work to the maritime industry.

Richard Dow Stewart’s extraordinary contributions to the maritime industry span over half a century of continuous service.

In 1967 Richard started his maritime career sailing in the fo’c’sle as a messman and ordinary seaman. In 1969 he was appointed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY and graduated in 1973. He was awarded the Merchant Marine Vietnam Service Medal sailing in the war zone in 1968, 1970 and 1971. Upon graduation he sailed oceans and coastwise as a deck officer. Richard earned his Master of Steam and Motor Vessels of any Tonnage upon Oceans license in May 1979. One of the many vessels Richard sailed was the UST Pacific, the largest U.S. flag merchant ship ever built, where he served as Chief Mate for two years. He commanded ocean-going vessels for several years before becoming a fleet manager of seven vessels for Falcon Carriers based in Houston, Texas.

While on leave from vessels, Richard attended the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. His master’s thesis was a “A Lake Michigan Hovercraft Ferry Service: An Environmental Analysis”.  The director of his master’s committee was Dr. Mike Troyer. In 1982 he graduated from UWGB with a Master of Science in Environmental Studies.

Richard started his academic career at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1987 in the Department of Marine Transportation. He was Department Head for several years and became a tenured full professor. He was appointed with the rank of Captain in the U.S. Maritime Service. While teaching at Kings Point, he earned his Doctor of Philosophy at Rensselaer Polytechnic University. During his time teaching and researching at the Academy, he also sailed vessels on the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, and oceans. He received grants for research in GIS and simulation training. Richard was recognized with awards for his superior service by the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1999 brought Richard into the Department of Business and Economics (DBE) to lead the new Transportation and Logistics (T&L) major and Research Center. Under his leadership the T&L Research Center brought in over $11 million in research grants the majority focused on maritime transportation. The T&L major became a national award-winning program and one of the largest majors on campus. Richard was Chair of DBE for several years and became a tenured full professor. In 2020 he was the first professor at UW-Superior to receive the UW-System’s Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award.

In 2006 the U.S. Maritime Administration recognized the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) that Richard helped create as a National Maritime Enhancement Institute. GLMRI involved eight universities in a wide variety of maritime research projects including alternative fuels, GIS data collection, maritime security, and climate change’s impact on shipping. In 2022 Richard retired from UW-Superior and was honored as a Professor Emeritus for his teaching, publishing, and research.

Richard served for 30 years as a commissioned officer in the United States Naval Reserve, honorably discharged in 2003 with the rank of Captain, USNR. For over 55 years he maintained valid merchant marine credentials by sailing, teaching maritime classes, working as a cargo surveyor, taking maritime courses, and USCG exams.

Public service has always been an essential element of Richard’s contributions to the maritime community. He served for many years on public advisory boards and was chair of the USCG Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC). He was a founding member of the EPA’s Advisory Board on Great Lakes Restoration, the Great Lakes Observing System, and the advisory committee for Green Marine. He served on the boards of the Lake Superior Marine Museum, Duluth International Airport, Twin Ports Maritime Club, Duluth-Superior Transportation Association, and the North Shore Scenic Railroad Board of Directors. Richard was Boy Scout Troop Master and board member for the Girl Scouts.

Richard remains very active in the maritime community. He holds leadership roles in numerous public advisory boards, professional maritime and non-profit organizations and teaches transportation courses.

For over four decades Richard has had the good fortune to have Kathleen Collins as his wonderful supportive spouse. They have shared many adventures including raising four children who are now accomplished adults.

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