Honoring alumni: SIU Carbondale’s aviation program recently honored the efforts of alumni who raised more than $250,000 in pledges for Federal Aviation Administration-mandated ADS-B transponders in the university’s training aircraft. Alumnus and United Airlines Capt. Barry D. Batson, Jr., (right) discusses the naming of a conference room in the program’s Transportation Education Center in his honor with Michael Burgener (left) interim aviation management and flight chair and aviation technologies chair. The program also renamed three planes in honor of alumni. The planes honor Joseph Messina II, Gregory N. Cook, Paul D. Sarvela and the Flying Salukis. (Photos by Steve Buhman)
December 04, 2017
Alumni, friends step up to support ‘life-changing’ aviation degree
CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Federal Aviation Administration handed down a mandate, and SIU aviation program alumni responded in 14 months with more than $250,000 in pledges toward installing Automatic Dependence Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) transponders in 36 aircraft.
“The alumni came through for us as they always do,” Michael Burgener, interim chair of the Department of Aviation Management and Flight and chair of the Department of Aviation Technologies, said.
Burgener said crews are installing the transponders and preparing to receive three new Piper Arrows for commercial pilot certification and certified flight instructor training. The planes will replace three Cessna’s built in the 1970s and 1980s.
Aviation program recognizes alumnus’s 30-year career
The program christened the Barry D. Batson, Jr. conference room within the Transportation Education Center. Batson is a 1990 aviation management graduate whose career with United Airlines now spans nearly three decades. Batson credits David NewMyer, professor emeritus and former department chair, and aviation alumnus William R. Norwood, a retired United Airlines captain, with helping develop his career.
“I’m extremely grateful because of the opportunities this program has given me. This program was life changing for me,” Batson said. “I have always felt like I’ve had to stay attached to this program to make sure I was part of something that gave to me. I want to be here for these kids who are trying to get through this program.”
Namesake planes honor distinguished aviation alumni
Alumni and friends also renamed three planes in honor of notable contributions to the aviation degree program:
Joseph Messina II, influenced his son, Joseph Messina III’s love of flying, and he founded the Air Explorers in 1970 to help young people interested in aviation. The program awards a Joseph A. Messina III Aviation Explorers Scholarship for Aviation Students annually. Capt. Joseph Messina III, who earned his bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance technology in 1976, is a pilot for Delta Airlines.
Gregory N. Cook, a Carbondale native and 1976 graduate of Carbondale Community High School, attended SIU Carbondale from 1977 to 1979, majoring in aviation technology and business administration. Cook has been a member of the SIU Foundation Board of Directors since 2006, including serving as president from 2013 to 2015. He is the Foundation’s representative to the SIU Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. Cook uses his flying skills as a volunteer pilot for SIU, the Veterans Airlift Command, Special Olympics athletes for the Citation Special Olympics Airlift, and the Corporate Angel Network. The same plane also honors the nine-time National Intercollegiate Flying Association champion Flying Salukis, who have created their own legacy over nearly five decades. The team has finished in the top three in the nation for seven straight years, with recent titles in 2011, 2014 and 2015. The team’s nine national titles date back to 1977, and the squad has qualified for national competition in 48 out of the last 49 years.
Paul D. Sarvela served SIU and the university system for 28 years, including as interim chancellor until his death in November 2014. A tenured professor of health education and clinical professor of family and community medicine, Sarvela’s leadership positions included serving as dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts for six years before becoming vice president for academic affairs for the university system. He also served as chair of the then-Department of Health Care Professions, and director of the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development.
The nine-time National Intercollegiate Flying Association champion Flying Salukis have created their own legacy over nearly five decades. The team has finished in the top three in the nation for seven straight years, with recent titles in 2011, 2014 and 2015. The team’s nine national titles date back to 1977, and the squad has qualified for national competition in 48 out of the last 49 years.