President's Office


Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, USMS, is the President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, one of six state maritime academies in the country.  Founded in 1891, the Academy has been training business leaders, ship captains, engineers, and professional officers in the 19th, 20th, and now the 21st century.  Offering seven undergraduate and three graduate majors, the Academy is one of two “special mission” public universities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.                                                          

Upon graduation from the Academy in 1985, McDonald pursued an engineering career and earned a Master of Science in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  He returned to his alma mater in 1995 to serve as Director of Cooperative Education, a role in which he developed and implemented the cooperative education program and dramatically increased placement rates for undergraduate interns and graduating seniors.  Appointed as Dean of Enrollment Management in 1999, he led the rebranding of the Academy which resulted in a dramatic increase in numbers and diversity of incoming freshmen.  He has since served as Vice President for Operations, heading up a major campus building expansion, and as Executive Vice President.  President McDonald holds a Doctor of Law and Policy from Northeastern University and has served as an adjunct professor in the Academy’s emergency management graduate program.  He assumed the role of President in August 2015 following unanimous votes of the MMA Board of Trustees and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, with the rank of Rear Admiral conferred by the U.S. Maritime Administrator. President McDonald is active in or has served on several community and professional organizations including the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce, Barnstable School Committee,  Sturgis Charter School, Cape Cod Collaborative, and the Marine Society at Salem. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, President McDonald now resides in Marstons Mills with his wife Beth and their two children Kathryn and Harrison.