Saturday, May 16, 2015

USNA Visitors Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary

U.S. Naval Academy faculty and staff celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center during a ceremony in Halsey Field House May 12.

Photo by MC3 Nathan Wilkes

During the ceremony, members of the visitor center and gift shop staff were recognized for their service and support to the Naval Academy.

“We are very proud to be here today to celebrate 20 years of service and dedication to the Naval Academy,” said Mianna Jopp, manager of the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center and the Naval Academy Guide Service. “There are some of us here today that have been here for the full 20 years so it’s great to come together and reflect on this accomplishment.”

The Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center opened in 1995 during the Naval Academy’s 150 anniversary celebration and is the gateway to the academy. Among its offerings are guided tours featuring the history, traditions, and life of midshipmen at the academy, and a free film, “The Call to Serve.” Exhibits include “USNA Graduates in Space,” an original Dahlgren boat howitzer, and “The Life and Times of John Paul Jones.” The Naval Academy Gift Shop is located inside the visitor center.

Photo by MC3 Nathan Wilkes

“The original goal of the Visitor’s Center was to have a place that visitors could visit, meet people, and recognize the indicative feelings of patriotism, excitement, and accomplish that so permeates this academy,” said retired Rear Adm. Mark Belton. “I wanted to thank everybody who has had a small part in that over the years and who have been a part of this tremendous success.”

Since its opening in 1995, approximately 5 million people have passed through the Visitor Center and almost 1.5 million have taken a guided walking tour. Revenue generated from the sale of merchandise and guided walking tours supports Brigade of Midshipmen activities.

“There are so many people over the years that have really made this place wonderful and worthwhile,” said retired Rear Adm. Tom Jurkowsky. “I hope that our beliefs in this institution and the concepts that it stands for will continue to bring support and inspiration for many years to come.”

The visitors center and gift shop are open all year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through December and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., January through February.

Go to the Visitors Center website for more information.

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