The speeches at Saturday’s Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduation drew laughs.

BUZZARDS BAY — The speeches at Saturday’s Massachusetts Maritime Academy graduation drew laughs.

Guest speaker and honorary degree recipient Karin Orsel, co-founder of an international shipping company, took a selfie with the graduates in the background.

Commencement speaker Stephen Bolze, also an honorary degree recipient and a senior vice-president of General Electric, urged the graduates to “aim high.”

“Hey listen, I didn’t get into Harvard Business School, but guess what?” Bolze said. “I just gave a keynote speech there.”

Despite the chuckles from the audience, though, there was a sense that a future of duty and diligence was on the horizon for the nearly 400 who graduated with bachelor's or master's degrees.

Kendal Armstrong, 22, of Acushnet, with a Bachelor of Science degree in emergency management, will begin a job as a health inspector for Barnstable County, her parents Alexander and Wendy Barros said. Armstrong had interned with health departments in Marion, Dartmouth and Mattapoisett, her mother said.

“That’s where she fell in love with health inspection,” Wendy Barros said.

“She’s a very bright kid who cares a lot about other people,” her dad added.

The Rollins family from Mashpee described their daughter, Rashida Plummer, 22, as capable and organized. Plummer, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marine safety and environmental protection, immigrated from Jamaica in 2007 to live with Fadia Bruce-Rollins and Wayne Rollins Sr., with whom she is related through marriage. She intends to head to the West Coast to explore work in ship inspection.

Plummer has good study habits and adjusted well to the structure at the maritime academy, in part because of the structured schooling she had undergone in Jamaica, Rollins Sr. said. Her success was based in large part on her choices, he said.

“I love that she set her goals and that she achieved them,” Bruce-Rollins said. “She’s very determined.” Bruce-Rollins also called Plummer “my little baby girl.”

“I’m really excited and proud of her,” she said.

Academy President Rear Adm. Francis McDonald reminded the graduates, their families and others attending the ceremony that this year the school would contribute 31 newly commissioned or soon-to-be commissioned officers in all branches of the U.S. military.

“This year we got them all,” McDonald said, referring to the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Coast Guard, Air Force and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps.

Among those is Thomas McEntee, 22, of Sandwich, who on July 26 will head to Connecticut to officer candidate school for the Coast Guard. McEntee, with a Bachelor of Science degree in energy systems engineering, said he’s grown up near Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and is hoping to go to flight school.

“I’ve seen them over my head all the time,” said McEntee, who held a senior leadership position over the 1,600 undergraduates, also known as cadets.

"It's been a fun ride," McEntee said of his academy experience.

Follow Mary Ann Bragg on Twitter @maryannbraggCCT