September 15, 2010

Aviation alumni to gather in Wheeling

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Alumni from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s nationally acclaimed aviation programs will gather in Wheeling next week to both reminisce and look to the horizon.

The event is set for 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 24, in the Priester Aviation hangars at the Palwaukee/Chicago Executive Airport, 1061 S. Wolf Road in Wheeling. The event is free. Parking will be available on the west side of the airport.

The function provides a chance for SIUC aviation alumni to meet and remain connected with the University. The event is for any graduate of any of the aviation programs from over the years, including aviation management, aviation flight, aviation technologies and master of public administration in aviation administration. All of the programs are in the University’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

This is the fifth annual alumni event. About 100 alumni attended last year and David A. NewMyer, chair of the University’s Department of Aviation Management and Flight, anticipates about the same number of alumni will attend this year.

The aviation program is marking its 50th anniversary this year, and a DVD that celebrates the occasion will premiere at the event, NewMyer said. The DVD runs about seven or eight minutes and includes a series of aviation alumni testimonials. The DVD will be available on the aviation website later in the month, NewMyer said.

In addition, a “50 at 50” scholarship drive will be unveiled at the event, NewMyer said. The goal is to raise $50,000 in recognition of the 50 years of the program. Two students, one from aviation management and flight, and one from aviation technologies, will receive scholarships from this new fund, NewMyer said. He hopes students will receive up to $1,500 apiece, and that the inaugural scholarships will be available next year.

Alumni will also receive an update on the progress of the 200,000-square-foot Transportation Education Center. The facility at the Southern Illinois Airport will house the aviation and automotive programs. Site work, including work on concrete footings and underground utilities, is under way. Construction should be complete in fall 2012.

The University’s Plant and Service Operations has a construction web cam of the project available for viewing at The web cam, along with additional updates, is also available on the aviation website at

Registration deadline is Monday, Sept. 20, to ensure adequate food is available. Late registration, however, is also available. To register, contact Lori Robertson at SIUC at 618/453-8898, or by email at