John Okon named SUNY maritime president

Rear Adm. John Okon has been named the next president of SUNY Maritime College, a public maritime college in the Bronx, New York City.

Okon, a retired U.S. Navy officer with more than 33 years of Navy service, will serve as Admiral Dr. succeed Michael A. Alfultis, who will retire on July 1 after 10 years at the helm. Okon will become SUNY Maritime’s 12th campus president.

“As a SUNY Maritime alumnus, Admiral Okon, ’91, has a great perspective on the student experience and how we can move forward to encourage and support more students to pursue careers in the maritime industry,” said SUNY Board of Trustees and Chancellor John B. King Jr., who announced the appointment at a meeting of the State University of New York Board of Trustees. “At the same time, his extensive background in the U.S. Navy supporting intelligence, technology, meteorology and oceanography will help SUNY Maritime build on its academic programs to ensure SUNY students are well-positioned to succeed after graduation.”

“This is an excellent opportunity and I am grateful to the SUNY Board of Trustees, Chancellor King, College Council Chairman Thomas J. Higgins and the search committee for their confidence in my appointment,” said Okon. “As an alumnus of this prestigious maritime campus, I am excited about the new resources being deployed by the federal and state government, and Chancellor King’s commitment to the success of our students. I cannot wait to lead SUNY Maritime College now that it’s starting its next chapter.”

A native of Syracuse, NY, Okon graduated from SUNY Maritime College in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology and Oceanography. He holds a master’s degree in meteorology and physical oceanography from the Naval Post Graduate School, and a master’s degree in national security studies from the Naval War College.

As a naval officer, Okon held a number of positions at sea and ashore, including meteorologist, oceanographer, navigator and hydrographer. In 2023, he became vice commander of the US Fleet Cyber ​​Command’s Tenth Fleet.