Vince Balderrama – Secretary

Dear ’78 Classmates and Brothers,

As a vigorous proponent for the fair opportunity for every candidate to advocate for themselves to all classmates, I am grateful for this chance to highlight some thoughts about our history, future, and my service to you and our Class.

Throughout my tenure as your Class Secretary, I have advocated for more transparency, engagement, and input from you in what we do as a Class, and in our support of alumni and the Naval Academy. I have not always been successful, but I have never failed to try and fight that good fight.

If re-elected, I will continue to fight for your input and engagement. This is vital as we will define our final “official” Class gift for our 50th. Decades ago, our Class officers under the leadership of Jock Maloney and the late Arch Griffin, established a Class giving philosophy to  focus on programs that help Mids, supports their skills and leadership training, and helps alumni. I have pressed for a refocus on that priority. While I applaud the Class’s generosity to the Alumni Association and Foundation Headquarters building (aka “Alumni Center”), each time I drive by it and see the placard on Gate 2 that reads  “Class of 1978 Gate”, I can’t help but wonder what you might think of it, and to what you might think $1.9M in donations could have been better applied. As we develop our 50th Year Gift, we need to remember the giving philosophy established long ago. We also need to consider your interests and priorities, and not just those of our Class Board of Directors, the Alumni Association, and the Academy. We need to have greater inclusive deliberations to find a harmonious balance among all those viewpoints so that our legacy gift is truly beneficial and representative of our Class values.

As many of us are now retired and may have some free time to get involved in our Class business, we will look to you to become more engaged. Your help with our “Another Link in the Chain (ALITC)” will be critical to what I believe will be our true and lasting legacy — our influence on the Class of 2028. As the ALITC lead for the past two years, I developed plans and budgets to set our program in motion. A large part of that counts on your volunteerism to be Class “Ambassadors” and help make the first and lasting connection with future Midshipmen and their families across our nation. If re-elected, I hope to be able to continue as your ALITC lead.

For the past 15 years, a third of your Board has come from one company. Since graduation, the dominance of the Board’s composition has been from a small segment of our Class –2nd and 3rd Battalions. I am glad to see competition in this election as it affords us the opportunity to have Class leadership that represents greater segments of our class and a wider range of perspectives.

I hope you will look at my Candidate Statement on the ballot and on our website and re-elect me. Regardless of the outcome, it has been my honor and privilege to be your Class Secretary. In whatever capacity I can, I will always work for the great Class of ’78.

Launchin’ Spot Four,

Vince “Vinny” Balderrama