Pickavance honored in naming ceremony at Maritime Campus

Mar 6, 2024Melissa Trevizo
Pickavance Ceremony

Rear Admiral William W. “Bear” Pickavance, Jr., USN


Rear Adm. William W. “Bear” Pickavance Jr., U.S. Navy, was honored in a ceremony March 6 at the San Jacinto College Maritime Campus for his contributions to the campus’ establishment and construction. 

 “I’m awestruck by this honor,” said Pickavance. “I never thought something like this would happen. There are so many people who put their efforts into building this program, and I’m happy to be among them.” 

 The ceremony marked the naming of the student lounge area near the campus entrance, which Pickavance designed. Thanks to an anonymous donation, the area will be named the Admiral’s Lounge. 

 “Do you know why there’s a lounge there? I built it,” said Pickavance. “The campus needed a place for people to congregate and enjoy the view of the turning basin. When a ship turns, you feel like you can reach out and touch it.” 

 Pickavance joined San Jac in 2013 as a consultant after Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer asked him to assist in creating a maritime program and campus. 

 “When we were working on the maritime program, we knew we needed an expert,” said Hellyer. “Admiral Pickavance answered that call and helped bridge the gap between higher education and industry. His passion and dedication to creating the best possible program and facilities can be seen in every corner of this campus.” 

 After a year-long construction stall with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pickavance helped move things along and started to work on the program and building. 

 “I loved being with the people at San Jac, and I always felt at home,” he said. “I knew how to command and get things done from my military experience. I think my reputation preceded me, but I never had to use anything like that. We were all working towards a goal together, and it turned out beautifully.” 


A Decorated Career

Pickavance served as an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marines and spent 32 years on active duty as a commissioned officer with the U.S. Navy. He commanded two carrier squadrons, an F/A-18 wing, a support ship during Desert Storm, and the aircraft supercarrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. As a flag officer, he commanded a carrier battle group. He has 200 combat missions over North Vietnam and more than 800 carrier landings.   

 After retiring from the U.S. Navy, Pickavance served as vice president for a space operations company responsible for space shuttle launch and recovery systems at the Kennedy Space Center. He later served as superintendent of the Texas Maritime Academy at Texas A&M University at Galveston. 

 A Texas A&M University and Naval War College alumnus, Pickavance holds Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees. He has served on the Navy Staff in Washington, D.C., the NATO Supreme Allied Command Headquarters in Belgium, the U.S. Pacific Command staff as Director for Operations (J-3) in Camp Smith, and as a military adviser to President Donald Trump.   

 He was influential in developing and constructing San Jac’s Maritime Campus. Many of the campus features, including the Houston Pilot's maritime simulation suite and more, directly result from Pickavance's diligence. His dedication and hard work, along with the groundwork he laid before construction began, have been instrumental in shaping the Maritime Campus into what it is today.  

Rear Admiral William W. “Bear” Pickavance, Jr. Naming Ceremony

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