The California State University Board of Trustees has named Thomas A. Cropper, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, as president of California Maritime Academy.
"I am pleased and honored to be chosen as the next president of the California Maritime Academy, and look forward to working closely with the exceptional students, staff and faculty," said Cropper. "Cal Maritime's unique and focused mission, excellent reputation and highly successful students make for an engaged and globally-focused campus community."
Cropper was among the finalists for the position to succeed retiring President William B. Eisenhardt, who has served as president since 2001. He is expected to begin in his new role as president on July 1 following retirement from active duty.
“Admiral Cropper brings a stellar maritime career, superb leadership skills and excellent management experience to his new role as president of the California Maritime Academy," said CSU Trustee Pete Mehas who chaired the search committee. "He is an accomplished executive, innovative thinker, and has a strategic vision for the university that will be a tremendous asset to the campus."
For the past two years, Cropper has directed education and at-sea training for ships and aviation squadrons deploying to the western Pacific and the Middle East. From 2008 to 2010, Cropper led and managed 24,000 people in combat operations as the deputy commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. He also served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategy Working Group at the Pentagon where he headed a select senior officer team working with representatives of each U.S. armed forces chief, the Joint Staff, the State Department and agencies within the cabinet.
From 2005 to 2007, Cropper served as chief of staff for the U.S. Third Fleet, where he led a staff of 300 and coordinated the simultaneous training and education of eight naval battle groups. Prior to that assignment he commanded Carrier Air Wing Eleven aboard the USS Nimitz. Cropper has served in a variety of roles throughout his Navy career including director of plans, programs and tactics at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, Federal Executive Fellow at The Brookings Institution, military assistant in the Office of Secretary of Defense William Cohen and commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron Eighty Three.
Cropper earned a bachelor's degree in Engineering Operations from Iowa State, and three master's degrees in Aviation Systems (University of Tennessee), National Security and Strategic Studies (U.S. Naval War College) and World Politics (Catholic University).