William T. McMullen, Ph.D.
Rear Admiral, United States Maritime Service (Ret.)
William T. McMullen, of Galveston, died Thursday morning, January 5. He was 68 years old.
Dr. McMullen was a descendant and namesake of The Rt. Rev. Dr. William T. McMullen, Presbyterian Bishop of Canada. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frederick and Caroline Thorsen McMullen, and by his godparents, Captain George and Henrietta Thorsen.
He is survived by Peggy, his wife of 43 years; their daughter, Karen, and husband Dan Castillo, of New Braunfels, Texas; and by grandchildren, Emily and Daniel.
At the time of his death, Dr. McMullen served as Professor of Maritime Administration and Head of the Department of Marine Administration at Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG). He was also Associate Director of the Center for Ports and Waterways of the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI).
Dr. McMullen was born in the Little Norway neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Parkchester, The Bronx, New York. He received a B.Sc. in Meteorology from the State University of New York Maritime College; an MBA in Organizational Theory and Behavior from the University of Houston; and a Ph.D. in Maritime Studies from the University of Wales, College of Cardiff (UK).
He held an unlimited Masters’ license from the United States Coast Guard.
Dr. McMullen joined the faculty of Texas Maritime Academy in 1967, and was named head of the Department of Marine Transportation in 1973. During a sabbatical in 1978, he was employed by EXXON Company USA as a chief mate in their ocean-going tanker fleet.
He remained at the Academy until December of 1980, when he became Professor and head of the Department of Nautical Science at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York.
He subsequently became head of the Department of Marine Transportation at the Academy, and in 1984 was appointed Associate Academic Dean and Interim Academic Dean, an appointment that lasted until 1987.
While at Kings Point, he also taught celestial navigation at the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium in Centerport, New York, notably teaching navigation through the Bermuda Triangle without instrumentation.
In 1995, he returned to TAMUG as Superintendent of Texas Maritime Academy and Professor of Maritime Administration.
From 1990-2005 he was Visiting Professor of Maritime Education and Training at the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden, a graduate-level institution operated by the International Maritime Organization of the United Nations for the purpose of preparing mid-level managers in the worldwide maritime community for senior positions.
Dr. McMullen’s research activities included human behavioral and attitudinal factors in job design in small communities, particularly ships; inland water transportation technologies; and shipping policy and regulations within the European Union.
From 1964-1967, Dr. McMullen served on vessels of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.
He was appointed Captain in the United States Maritime Service (USMS) in 1978 and Master of the training ship TEXAS CLIPPER. He was promoted to Rear Admiral, USMS, in 1995. He served as Superintendent of Texas Maritime Academy from 1995-1999.
Among many honors and distinctions, Dr. McMullen was named 1980 Teacher of the Year at TAMUG. He also received the Bronze Medal for Superior Performance from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Active in professional and community organizations, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves-Port of Galveston (1998-1999), serving as chairman of its operations committee.
From 1992-1994, he was secretary of the International Maritime Lecturers Association, and since 1998 had been United States Representative to Working Group 22—Safety in Inland Waters, the Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses. From 1994 until his death, he was Assistant Editor (Marine) of The Journal of the Institute of Navigation.
He served as vice-chair (Maritime Task Force) and board member of the Galveston Economic Development Partnership. In addition, he was named chairman of the International Maritime Advisory Committee of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.
He was chairman of the Port Infrastructure Task Force of the Long-term Community Recovery Plan for Galveston, and vice-chair of the Maritime Advisory Council of the Consortium of Maritime Academies and Colleges. He also served as an Advisory Board member of both the Port of Houston Maritime Academy and San Jacinto College.
Dr. McMullen was a board member of the United Ministry to the Port of Galveston/Galveston Seafarer’s Center, and board member and 2010-2011 president of The Rotary Club of Galveston.
He was a longtime member of the vestry of Galveston’s Trinity Episcopal Church.
Dr. McMullen will be remembered for his devotion to his family, dedication to his profession, loyalty to his friends, and his unique sense of humor.
A memorial service with military honors celebrating his life will be held Monday, January 16, 10:00 a.m. at Galveston’s Trinity Episcopal Church. The Rev. David Dearman will officiate. Honorary pall bearers will be the Corps of Cadets of the Texas Maritime Academy.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the following charities:
Trinity Episcopal Church and School, Galveston Seafarer’s Center, Rotary Endowment, Texas A&M University at Galveston, or the charity of your choice.