Capt. Brian McAllister, a prominent member of the American maritime industry, will receive an honorary doctorate from SUNY Maritime College Jan. 27.
Capt. McAllister is the chairman of McAllister Towing, and has been with his family’s company since 1959. He received a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering and a U.S. Coast Guard third assistant engineer’s license from SUNY Maritime in 1956.
Approximately 200 students are expected to receive their degrees during this fall’s commencement exercises, when Capt. McAllister will also receive his honorary doctorate.
“We are delighted to honor Capt. McAllister with this degree,” said Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, SUNY Maritime president. “He has consistently been an advocate for our college and our students.” Capt. McAllister has every year donated his company’s time and resources to tow the college training ship, Empire State VI, as it leaves and returns on summer sea term. A generous supporter of students, Capt. McAllister and McAllister Towing are a significant donor of funds for scholarships. His company also currently employs more than 30 Maritime graduates.
After graduating from Maritime, Capt. McAllister served for two years in the Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant, junior grade and executive officer aboard LST 880. Afterward, Capt. McAllister sailed aboard McAllister tugboats and ferries, ultimately obtaining a master’s license with unlimited pilotage for many of the ports serviced by the company. In 1974, he and other members of the fourth generation purchased the company from the third generation of McAllisters. He became president of the company in 1984 and its sole owner in 1998. He has been chairman since 2013. McAllister Towing celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2014.
Today, the company, which is still family-owned and –operated, is one of the oldest and most diversified marine towing and transportation companies, operating an extensive fleet of tugs, ferries and barges.
“I feel truly honored to be awarded such a noble distinction,” he said. “I wasn’t always the best student during my years as a cadet, but from my Maritime educational background, which led me to the helm of my family’s company, I hope to have made an imprint on the maritime industry.”