David A. O’Neil made numerous vital contributions to SNAME and the industry. His volunteer service to SNAME came at every level, beginning with the position of Membership Chairman for the New York Metropolitan Section in 1974 and culminating with his term as SNAME President from 1997 to 1998. Mr. O’Neil joined SNAME in 1959, was honored with a Life Membership in 1985, and was elected a SNAME Fellow in 1993.
Mr. O’Neil graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1961 with a BS degree in Marine Engineering and a commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve. His early career was marked by his serving as an engineering officer aboard the USNS Upshur and employment as a marine engineer in the Design Department of the Boston Naval Shipyard.
In 1962 Mr. O’Neil joined the Safety Engineering Department of Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, moving to the company’s Turbo-Power and Marine Department in 1964. Over the next six years he rose to the position of Supervisor, Marine Engineering. Experience gained in this capacity served as the foundation for entrepreneurship. He formed Seaworthy Engine Systems, Inc. to assist ship owners and builders. Initially based in Canton, Connecticut, the company soon moved to Essex, and in 1978 changed its name to Seaworthy Systems, Inc. – reflecting the broadening of services offered.
In addition to his SNAME leadership, Mr. O’Neil made considerable contributions to other causes close to his heart. Most prominent among these was the American Merchant Marine Museum at Kings Point, of which he served as President for many years. Also notable was his passion and dedication to the building of a fifty-two foot schooner in his leisure time. Construction of this GRP vessel, the Extrapolation, in the backyard of his Essex home was a constant pursuit over the final two decades of his life.
Shortly following the vessel’s launch on 11 June 2004, Mr. O’Neil remarked on the experience. “For me, it’s always been about the journey. I consider myself the creator, designer and builder – not so much the sailor. I’ve done my job. The boat is finished, and I’m happy with it.”
Mr. O’Neil died on 26 July 2004.
The David A. O'Neil Scholarship is part of the SNAME Graduate Scholarships Program, and open to applicants worldwide who are members in good standing of SNAME looking to pursue full time graduate studies in Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture and/or Ocean Engineering. Applicants must not receive their Master's Degree prior to 1 September of the academic year for which the scholarship applies.
One scholarship of one year of full-time study may be awarded annually.
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