OU Department of Aviation students, faculty and special guests filled the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom in Oklahoma Memorial Union on April 20 to celebrate the accomplishments of top students at the 17th Annual Aviation Spring Banquet.
“Our program takes pride in bringing our students together with our alumni and aviation advisory board,” said Ken Carson, director of the Department of Aviation. “The banquet provides a unique venue for all of our aviators — pilots, controllers, airport managers, managers, etc. — to come together in the celebration of the critical role aviation plays in the modern global world.”
The choice of the Union as the location for the event was easy for Carson.
“The Union honors those students, faculty and staff who paid the ultimate sacrifice in WWI and the conflicts since,” he said. “Aviation is tied to airpower, and airpower to national military power, and our nation’s global reach and power. The banquet, for some, may be the only event they attend in ‘their student union.’ They don’t necessarily feel the power of that or understand the importance of that today, but, with time, they will gain appreciation of having it there and remembering the evening with fellow aviators.”
“It is not about us versus them. It is about high functioning teamwork and what you as an individual can do to foster harmony, professionalism and teamwork in your aviation careers and specific aviation job.”
In addition to recognizing outstanding students in each of the four degree tracks that Aviation offers, the department awarded a total of $14,000 in scholarships to students for Fall 2017.
The event also featured a keynote address from Dr. Melchor J. Antuñano, director of the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute Office of Aerospace Medicine.
“Students don’t often have the opportunity to hear a great keynote speaker speak to aviation issues of the day,” Carson said, “so we use the banquet to further their educational journey and awareness. We typically try to rotate the speakers around subject matters of pilots, ATC, management and have speakers talk about the teamwork required of all aviation professionals that make our national/global aviation system work. It is not about us versus them. It is about high functioning teamwork and what you as an individual can do to foster harmony, professionalism and teamwork in your aviation careers and specific aviation job.”
To learn more about the OU Department of Aviation, visit aviation.ou.edu.