Rear Admiral Nunan USMMA

Rear Adm. Joanna Nunan, the Ninth District Commander, is administered the oath by retired Rear Adm. Mike Parks, former Ninth District Commander July 3, 2018 in Cleveland. Nunan was promoted from Rear Adm. Lower Half to Rear Adm. Upper Half. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Christopher Yaw)

US Merchant Marine Academy Appoints Joanna Nunan As First Female Superintendent

John Konrad
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November 12, 2022

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) today announced the appointment of retired US Coast Guard 2-Star admiral Joanna Nunan as the next superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, NY. Nunan, who spent more than three decades in the U.S. Coast Guard, has commanded units at every level both afloat and ashore. She will begin work at the Academy in a few weeks.

“Rear Admiral Joanna Nunan is the right leader at the right time for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Her years of experience as a senior military leader—including command at sea—have prepared Rear Admiral Nunan to shape the future of the USMMA and help ensure the safety and success of its extraordinary midshipmen.”?

Rear Admiral Nunan retired earlier this year as the Coast Guard’s Deputy for Personnel Readiness. In that role, she oversaw the Coast Guard’s entire personnel enterprise, including the recruitment, training, support, and retention of all active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel. She also supervised the Coast Guard Academy and served on its Board of Trustees.

Previously, Rear Admiral Nunan served as the Assistant Commandant for Human Resources. In that role, among her many responsibilities, she helped spearhead efforts to expand diversity and inclusion in the Coast Guard, including formulating policy changes focused on increasing the retention of women in the service. She also served as a member of the Coast Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention, Response, and Recovery Committee.

“Rear Admiral Nunan is uniquely prepared to lead and strengthen USMMA on every front,” said MARAD Commandant Ann Phillips. “She understands both the critical role USMMA plays in our economic and national security and the organizational transformations that are essential to ensuring USMMA prepares students in a safe and respectful environment to excel in a maritime industry undergoing rapid change.”

2010 photo of Joanna Nunan, the former deputy commander at Coast Guard Sector San Juan waits to address the crowd during her change of command ceremony when she assumed command of Sector Honolulu, Aug. 6, 2010. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael De Nyse.

Earlier in her career, Nunan also served more than nine years at sea—including commanding two buoy tenders—and previously served as the Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District and as Commander of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu.

A Bridgeport, Connecticut native, Nunan graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1987 and received her Master of Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic. She also obtained three Coast Guard merchant mariner licenses, including Master of vessels of not more than 1,600 gross tons and 3rd Mate on vessels of unlimited tonnage.

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