The U.S. Coast Guard Academy is located on the west bank of the Thames River in the New England shoreline town of New London, Conn. In 1876, the Revenue Cutter Service (predecessor to the U.S. Coast Guard) established a program of instruction aboard the topsail schooner Dobbin. The program was relocated to New London in 1910 with a move to the historic Fort Trumbull site, and the city has been home to the institution ever since.From the outside, the Academy is a small New England campus with more than 100-acres of rolling hills, Georgian-style brick buildings and a fleet of small boats dotting the piers along the waterfront. From the inside, it is an institution like no other. It is the center of leadership training and the single accession point for all officers in the U.S. Coast Guard, the smallest armed service in the United States. As one of the smallest of the five federal service academies, the institution graduates and commissions more than 200 Ensigns each year. According to its mission statement, the Academy is, committed to strengthening the nations future by educating, developing, training, and inspiring leaders of character who are ethically, intellectually, professionally, and physically prepared to serve their country and humanity, and who are strong in their resolve to build on the long military and maritime heritage and proud accomplishments of the United States Coast Guard.Every Coast Guard cadet completes core studies in sciences and liberal arts, selecting one of eight majors offered and specializing in one of 13 programs of study. Training aboard the Barque Eagle, a 295-foot tall ship, has been part of the cadet experience here for more than 60 years. The decks of a sailing ship are still considered the best place to experience the power and majesty of the ocean first-hand. As the ocean is both the workplace and the key resource Academy students will be charged to protect, the experience is vital in developing them into effective and confident leaders. Athletics also forms an integral part of the training program, with 23 intercollegiate sports offerings. The Academy is highly committed to ensuring that the representation of the cadets and faculty is reflective of the nation it serves. Diversity is vital to mission readiness and excellence, but academic success is still the primary consideration in the institutions admissions process. Significant progress has been made to improve minority recruiting at the Academy with the incoming class of 2019 made up of 34% Underrepresented Minorities (URM), a substantial increase from the class of 2014 which included 24% URM. The Academy has been recognized as one of the top institutions of higher learning according to popular college rankings, including the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges publication. It was ranked #1 in the Baccalaureate Colleges (North) category in the 2015 edition Best Colleges issue, earning a perfect overall score of 100, and ranked among the top twenty Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs whose highest degree offered is a bachelors or masters. "The connectivity of all of our academic majors to the day-to-day operations of the Coast Guard offers a unique venue for our cadets to make their academy experience come to life," adds Kurt Colella, Dean of Academics at the Academy."Whether its studying the organizational challenges of the tragic earthquake in Haiti, or assisting with the mitigation of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a Coast Guard Academy education is real, relevant and at the forefront of serving those in need."