Dartmouth native honored at virtual ‘29 Who Shine’ ceremony

May 19, 2021

Dartmouth native Dominic Vaccari was recently honored for his efforts as a student leader at the Mass Maritime Academy during the Covid-19 pandemic for the commonwealth’s “29 Who Shine” awards. 

These awards are given to one student from each of the Commonwealth’s 29 public campuses, including the 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five campuses of the University of Massachusetts. 

According to a release, students in the Class of 2021 were recognized for their resilience in the face of pandemic-related challenges and their willingness to pitch in and support COVID-19 relief efforts.

This year’s ceremony took place virtually on May 13.

 As the academy's Regimental Commander, Vaccari oversaw management, leadership training, morale, and discipline of more than 1,500 cadets. 

 “Last summer we didn’t think the pandemic would continue into the next school year, but once we understood that restrictions were going to continue, we knew we had to reimagine the way orientation would happen,” Vaccari said. 

During the leadup to orientation, the Dartmouth cadet regularly met with other student leaders to divide tables by plastic shields at the dining hall, practice socially distanced marches, and modify shower schedules.

One of the proudest accomplishments during his tenure, he said, was helping to implement more mental health resources at the academy. 

“Dominic is the perfect recipient of the ’29 Who Shine’ award, and we’re thrilled that he was named for this honor,” said President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Rear Admiral Francis McDonald. “It’s been a privilege to see Dominic develop as a leader over these four years. He truly exemplifies the high standards that we expect of our cadets that we are so proud to send out in the world.”