Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association President Andrea Marcilla, right, gives a tour of the Academy’s newly completed Maritime Center of Excellence to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. (Photo by Seth Jacobson/Courtesy of the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association)
U.S. Coast Guard Academy Superintendent Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz, left, pins Capt. Andrea Marcille with her first Command Ashore pin following Marcille’s induction ceremony to assume command on the steps of the Coast Guard Leadership Development Center’s Yeaton Hall at the Coast Guard. Academy on Thursday 29 August 2013.
Retired Coast Guard Capt. Andrea Marcille said she is from New London with her family, and she and her husband “made it very intentional to fight hard to stay here.”
And it worked. From 2003 until her retirement in 2014, she served as Barque Eagle’s first female commanding officer, the Coast Guard Academy’s chief of training, and then the commanding officer of the Academy’s Leadership Development Center.
Since 2015, after 25 years in the Coast Guard, she has served as the President of the US Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, also the first woman in that role. The organization has seen $47.1 million in donations over the past eight years, compared to $23.6 million in the eight years prior to Marcille’s tenure.
During this time, the association has also overseen the fundraising and signing of contracts for the new 20,000-square-foot maritime excellence unit located on the Academy’s waterfront.
Now Marcille is being recognized for his contribution outside the Academy. At its conference last week, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education presented Marcille with the Chief Executive Leadership Award for District 1, which covers New England and parts of Canada.
In a letter of recommendation for the award, Rear Adm. William Kelly said when he became the Academy’s superintendent in 2019: “I soon noticed that there was no part of the Academy community where the presence of Andrea and his team was not felt. It was amazing to see him lead significant development efforts that broke historical support records year after year.”
He cited the new strength and conditioning center and cyber lab as examples of projects made possible by a $32 million fundraising campaign launched by Marcille.
Marcille said she grew up with a Navy chief father who wanted one of his five children to join the military. She applied to the U.S. Naval Academy, but post-graduation assignments there were more limited for women, and the Coast Guard Academy recruited her to play softball, “if you could call it that in the ’80s.”
After graduating at the top of his class from New London High School, the civil engineering major graduated at the Academy in the middle of his class, saying he had “never been challenged like that” academically.
The class of 1989 had a much smaller percentage of female cadets, and Marcille said that while she was fortunate enough to play softball and volleyball, “there just weren’t as many opportunities. Women weren’t keeping up. I love the fact that it’s changed now.”
After graduation, Marcille served on a couple of ships before becoming commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Pea Island, a 110-foot patrol boat in Mayport, Fla. Marcille considers this position between 1996 and 1998 to be the highlight of her career. .
“I don’t know that I was really a leader until I was in command of a patrol boat,” Marcille said. He then earned a master’s degree in instructional systems engineering, was stationed at the Training Center in Cape May, and returned to New London to serve in the Eagles.
Marcille said she “needed a lot of mentoring and coaching to be confident in my voice and my opinion and just stepping in to solve problems.”
She doesn’t see a problem with self-confidence among young women in the Coast Guard today, but she sees the benefits of mentoring “in understanding that we don’t all have to be made of the same cloth.” You come with your own feelings and experiences, skills and knowledge.”
Around 2007, as the Academy’s Chief of Education, Marcille and then-Professor Laurel Goulet created a cadet mentoring program that still exists today.
“His impact is most remarkable when one considers the profound success of the many Coast Guard officers he trained and mentored,” alumni association board chairman James J. Smith wrote in his letter of recommendation for the award.
As president of the alumni association, Marcille has also managed diversity, equality and inclusion. In 2019, he hired a consultant to study how the organization could help the Academy’s response to racist incidents between cadets, which led to the formation of the DEI Strategic Action Team of 16 alumni.
Marcille also served as a volunteer assistant softball coach at the Academy from 2008-2012 and currently serves on the boards of the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition and the James A. Greenleaf Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund.