CASTINE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Maine Maritime Academy has renamed one of its navigation training vessels in honor of an alumna whose life ended too soon.
The seventy foot vessel was dedicated in honor of Susan J. Clark, valedictorian of the Class of 1985.
Clark served as Portland Harbor's first female harbor pilot and was also the first woman to join the Portland Marine Society.
She died of cancer one year ago at age 48.
Friends and family gathered on the waterfront Saturday to pay tribute to Clark's life and to take the maiden voyage on the newly named ship.
"She wasn't the type of person to let you know she was the smartest one in the room," remembered Captain David Gelinas, a colleague and friend of Clark's, "but you knew pretty quickly that she was."
"She was very unassuming," he went on, "even for all her accomplishments and her abilities, she was very laid back and low key. And I thinkn that she would probably say 'Oh no, this is way too much,' but I think she would be happy [with the dedication] as well."
Faculty members say they are happy that student navigators-in-training will soon begin their studies on a vessel that bears the name of such a respected captain.