August 19, 2021

Media Advisory – SIU Aviation-Delta Air Lines pact to offer accelerated pilot career path

An agreement between Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Delta Air Lines will provide an accelerated career path for aviation students interested in becoming professional pilots. Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to attend a signing ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Chancellor Austin Lane and Delta representatives will sign a memorandum of understanding between the university and Delta’s Propel Collegiate Pilot Career Path Program in the Transportation Education Center’s multipurpose room. Joining Lane will be Michael Burgener, interim director, SIU’s School of Aviation; Kelvin Mason, Propel’s pilot development manager, Delta First Officer Graham Bostrom, lead Propel liaison, Courtney Copping, Delta First Officer, Propel liaison and SIU Carbondale alumna, other airline personnel, university officials and aviation students.

SIU is the 13th university to participate in Delta’s Propel program, which launched in 2018. This is SIU’s first agreement with a major airline to mentor and hire aviation students directly from the program.

Under the five-year pact, the Propel program supplements Delta’s pilot hiring needs by offering an accelerated path to the airline’s flight deck for selected students. After a rigorous interview and evaluation process, Delta will offer successful candidates a qualified job offer, detailing a defined path and accelerated timeline to become a Delta pilot. 

Airline officials will meet and discuss the program with students after the signing ceremony and provide lunch via its airplane grill. SIU and Delta representatives, along with SIU aviation students, will be available for interviews.

Journalists who would like to attend should contact Kim Rendfeld, SIU’s chief communications officer, at or 765-426-3650 by 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23.