Welcome to the Academy

An Address from the Superintendent

To the newest cadets of Starfleet Academy, welcome.

In the next four years, you will experience the hardest challenges, and the greatest adventure, you have ever known. You have earned the right to wear a cadet's uniform by proving yourselves in tests of academics, physical prowess, and, most important of all, character. You are the best your worlds have to offer, for only the best can represent the United Federation of Planets in Starfleet. The Federation constantly tested by outside forces, with the bounds of our knowledge pushed forward farther and farther each day, we need those willing to answer the call to duty, to serve the Federation and what it represents. Each of you heard that call and answered it.

The training you have undergone to reach this point is not the end. It is only the beginning of the experiences that will shape you into Starfleet officers. Here at the Academy you will learn the lessons needed to take your place beside the legends of Starfleet and Federation history. Starfleet Academy has a long and illustrious tradition of excellence, and you follow in the footsteps of individuals who shaped the Federation's history — not only starship captains like Robert April, Christopher Pike, James T. Kirk, Matt Decker, Tryla Scott and Jean-Luc Picard, but ambassadors, scientists, engineers, doctors, and explorers who expanded the frontiers of knowledge and possibility for our society — true pioneers all.

In the four years ahead you will learn more than starship operations procedures. You will study science and philosophy. You will practice the twin arts of combat and diplomacy. You will learn to think and to reason and, more importantly, you will learn the qualities of honor, truth, fairness, and respect, which lie at the heart of a Starfleet officer's service.

During your time with us you will meet representatives of many different species. You will study the most advanced technologies and theories under the guidance of the Federation's finest minds. You will learn to expand the frontiers of your own experience as Starfleet expands the Federation's frontiers.

You will also face hardships and challenges you've never confronted before. Some of you may not succeed — there is no shame in this. You have already proven yourself among the best simply by your presence here. The challenges you face here will help prepare you for a career of service in the finest Starfleet tradition.

In the days and months to come, look back on all you achieved to reach this point. Let this spirit of achievement spur you on to even greater heights. And no matter how much you may achieve, remember these first days when you began following your path to service. Take pride in all you accomplished to bring you here today.

Congratulations, cadets. Your adventure is just beginning.

George Foster

The History of Starfleet Academy

Founded in 2161, Starfleet Academy began with a commitment to excellence it maintains to this day. The newly formed United Federation of Planets charged the Academy with preparing its member species to serve in Starfleet. From the very beginning, Starfleet Academy sought the greatest minds of five different civilizations, training worthy Federation representatives as we explored the frontiers of space. Today the Academy continues traditions established over more than two centuries of experience.

The Early Years

The beginning of the Academy is, in many ways, the beginning of Starfleet itself. Part of the United Federation of Planets charter formed Starfleet in 2161 shortly after the end of the Earth-Romulan War and the establishment of the Romulan Neutral Zone. A combination of explorers, diplomatic corps, and defense force, Starfleet was the most ambitious organization ever conceived by the Federation's founding worlds.

Its mission, "to boldly go where no one has gone before," embodied the members' collective ideals of peacefully exploring the greater galaxy. The organization recruited the best and brightest from the Federation's member worlds to represent it across the galaxy. Starfleet founded the Academy to help bring this vision to life.

The Federation Council chose San Francisco, on Earth, to host Starfleet Headquarters and Starfleet Academy. Earth possessed the most extensive shipbuilding and dry-dock facilities and the strongest fleet of starships after the Earth-Romulan War. These were ideal for firmly establishing Starfleet as soon as possible. Earth's environment also proved the most suitable for the various member races to live and work together. Construction began almost immediately on the Academy's main campus and the first of the Federation's own starship fleet.

Before the Starfleet Academy campus was finished and the first cadets trained, Starfleet included officers and volunteers from the Federation's original member worlds. Officers from the Tellarite Defense Force stood side by side on the bridge of starships with graduates of the Andorian Military Institute and Earth's Space Force. Each world donated ships on personnel to form the core from which Starfleet grew.

Each world also provided different preparation for its personnel. The very first Starfleet crews and ships held widely divergent levels of training and technology. Officers used equipment often unfamiliar to them and worked with new and strange species, all struggling to create something greater than the services from which they had come. The Vulcans absented themselves from Starfleet altogether, having difficulties dealing with more emotional species in the chaotic shipboard environment. Starfleet's first years offered the service's first challenge of diversity, one its officers met with openness, innovation, and discipline.

Starfleet Academy assumed the heavy task of taking many disparate species and teaching them to work together. We did so by creating a uniform training regime that provided the skills needed by Federation representatives. The first Starfleet cadets trained on equipment and starships the Corps of Engineers designed and constructed at the San Francisco Starfleet Yards. The Daedalus-class starship, the first widely used Starfleet design, became a unique symbol of the service — belonging to no particular race but created by the efforts of all Federation species. Starfleet vessels were the first to use the new impulse engine designed in 2169.

The Academy's training program promoted trust, cooperation, and acceptance among the numerous UFP member species. Starfleet was one of the first bridges across which the members of the Federation met and worked together. Over time the Academy's proven success helped bring the first Vulcan cadets into Starfleet, and has since attracted new cadets from more than a hundred different species. The Academy continues to provide a place of acceptance for new species and alien ideas, helping integrate them into the Federation's most esteemed institution — Starfleet.

Later Years

Starfleet Academy's history reflects the history of the Federation itself. As the Federation continued to grow and change, so too did the Academy. The core ideals of Starfleet Academy remained the same, but then its techniques and curriculum continued to adapt, reflecting the demands of new cultures and species joining the Federation, and the new technologies they shared. Starfleet personnel developed or discovered many innovations, giving the Academy access to the cutting edge of scientific and technological advancement. As in Starfleet's early days, Academy cadets often train with new equipment and vessels as Starfleet engineers design and build them.

The discovery of subspace communications in the late 22nd century vastly increased the Federation's ability to maintain contact between distant worlds and outposts, expanding the frontiers for colonization and giving Starfleet vessels the means to send information back to starbases from great distances. This led to a strong chain of command within Starfleet, although ship captains still exercised a great deal of personal discretion. Starfleet officers represented the Federation to colonies on the fringes of known space and to new species encountered in their explorations.

Conflicts often tested the Federation's goal to establish peaceful relations between all beings of good conscience. Not all species the Federation encountered were peaceful. The Federation rose shortly after Earth's war with the Romulan Star Empire, a power that remains a potential threat even now. In the early 23rd century a disastrous first contact with the Klingon Empire led to decades of conflict between Klingons and the Federation. Starfleet's policies towards the first contact of new species changed — the Academy changed, too, teaching cadets that conflict's hard-learned lessons. Starfleet served to protect the Federation as well as expand its frontiers. Eventually the Federation achieved peace with the Klingon Empire — Starfleet Academy accepted the first Klingon in 2357. Over the years other species threatened the Federation's security, from the Tholians to the Cardassians. Starfleet stood ready to protect the Federation against any and all such threats.

Over the years Starfleet's curriculum incorporated advances in starship tactics and strategy. The brilliant tactics of Captain Garth, the Picard Maneuver, and the innovations of other Starfleet officers in the heat of battle continue to influence the training available to Academy cadets.

Starfleet Academy also learned to protect itself from dangers at home as well as in the depths of space. In 2266 an accident aboard a class-J starship used as a training vessel caused the deaths of several cadets. The death toll would have been considerably higher if not for the valiant actions of Starfleet Captain Christopher Pike, who brought several cadets to safety. Exposure to delta rays crippled Captain Pike during the incident — he was confined to a support chair for the remainder of his life. The Pike Medal of Valor carries his name, a reminder of the sacrifices made by Starfleet officers in the line of duty.

Other great figures from Starfleet history contributed to the Academy's growth and success. Following the retirement of the first U.S.S. Enterprise from the active Starfleet duty in 2277, the ship served the Academy as a training vessel, allowing cadets to drill aboard the same ship commanded by such legendary Starfleet captains as Christopher Pike and James Kirk. The Enterprise's commander, Captain Spock, belonged to the Academy's faculty at this time, before his illustrious career as a Federation ambassador. Captain Spock's predecessor, Admiral Kirk, also joined the Academy's faculty as an instructor in 2284. These officers passed along their experience to a new generation of Starfleet cadets.

Many Starfleet officers forfeit their lives to protect their ships, their crewmates, and others. The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise-C, commanded by Captain Rachel Garrett, bravely sacrificed themselves to defend the Klingon outpost at Narendra III in 2344. This act demonstrated Starfleet's honor and courage to the Klingons and strengthened relations between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. In 2347, the crew of the U.S.S. Rutledge aided victims of a Cardassian attack on the Federation outpost at Setlik III. Numerous other Starfleet vessels have offered aid and protection to people in need. Starfleet officers swear an oath to uphold the principles of the Federation with their lives, if necessary, and many have been called upon to fulfill this oath. Their sacrifices serve to aid and inspire others to follow in their footsteps, to preserve the freedoms of the Federation, and to uphold those ideals we hold so dear.

The Academy grew with Starfleet and the Federation. Academy facilities were expanded over the years to include new advanced schools, particularly the refurbished Starfleet Medical School and the Advanced Engineering School. The main campus facilities expanded to meet the needs of a larger student body, adding new dormitories and classrooms. The Academy also benefited from the latest technology, such as the holosuite simulators in the James T. Kirk Building, which provide cadets with opportunities to train safely under simulated field conditions. All these changes helped Starfleet Academy fulfill its charter to provide the finest training possible to cadets.

Along the way Starfleet Academy remained at the forefront of techniques in education, research, sciences, technology, and the arts of strategy, diplomacy, and leadership. Many of the finest minds in Federation history served as faculty members for Starfleet Academy: Devlin Gos, John Gill, Angela Ming, and others. The Academy provided research facilities for these noted scholars to advance their work while they passed on their knowledge and experience to Starfleet cadets. As each new species and civilization joined the Federation, the Academy brought many of its finest representatives into Starfleet, fulfilling the ideal of the Academy motto, Ex Astris, Scientia: "From the stars, knowledge."

The Academy Today

Only a few years ago Starfleet Academy celebrated its 200th anniversary. Since its founding, the Academy has graduated millions of Starfleet officers from more than one hundred different species, all learning to work together for a common goal. Many Academy graduates have become key figures in Federation history, discovering new worlds and civilizations, winning wars in defense of the Federation, expanding Starfleet's values of honor, truth, and duty.

Starfleet Academy remains one of the Federation's most important institutions. The Academy teaches future generations of Starfleet officers the skills that empower them to follow in their predecessors' footsteps, upholding the ideals of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets. The Superintendent and the faculty carry the responsibility of ensuring the cadets under their supervision become the finest officers they can.