Grand Opening of FedEx Aeronautics Academic Center

September 6, 2019
Kent State University Airport

Thank you, Trustee Riley. I know that you are a very busy person, and I am always thankful for your willingness to lead and celebrate this great school. What a glorious day for a glorious event!


Around here, if you can see the Kent State Library, you have visual clearance to fly. Well, I see the Library, so let’s get going.


Great programs are a mark of Kent State. Great programs in areas that aren’t always offered at universities are a further mark of distinction for our university. I am so proud of our top-10 Flight Training program, and I am honored to be here today.


I have several thanks to share, but I want to begin with one in particular. And there’s a story behind it. I want to thank an individual who, at the age of 26, arrived in Vietnam to fly Army helicopters in combat. Because he was older than anyone else in his unit, his colleagues called him “grandpa.” Decades later, when I was talking to flight training students, I used to say to them, “Do you realize that the gentleman standing next to me used to do everything you are doing here, while getting shot at?” That always brought nods of yes, and a stream of praise.


By now, many of you know that I am speaking of retired College of Aeronautics and Engineering Dean Bob Sines. Bob possessed the singular ability to regularly remind me how substandard our flight ops trailers out here were, without managing to do it so often, or so heavy handedly, as to be off-putting. So, in short, thank you Bob Sines. We stand here today because of you.


I know that Bob joins me in thanking Dean Bloebaum, as well. We both were excited when she accepted the job one year ago, and she has exceeded our already high expectations.


And most importantly, I offer my heartfelt thanks to the FedEx Corporation, whose generosity we celebrate today. Because of your gift, we will better educate generations of new pilots, air traffic controllers, and aeronautical engineers. And hopefully we’ll pay back this generosity by producing great potential employees.


I know that the official colors of FedEx are blue and red, but the unofficial colors of its corporate leadership shade blue and gold. Dave Edmunds, it is great to see you back at your alma mater. And here, of course, I’m also thinking of Kent State University Trustee Virginia Addicott, President and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical. If you want to hear an interesting story sometime, ask Trustee Addicott what it’s like to ship a giraffe by FedEx.


The FedEx Aeronautics Academic Center at Kent State University. That has a nice ring to it. And to make it official, it gives me great pleasure to call on the Senior Vice President of Flight Operations for FedEx, Don Dillman.