Photo above – Auburn University and Delta Air Lines officials cut the ribbon as part of a dedication ceremony Friday for the new Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building at Auburn University Regional Airport. Pictured are, from left: Auburn University Regional Airport Director Bill Hutto, Delta Managing Director of Flying Operations Patrick Burns, Delta Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson, Auburn University President Steven Leath, College of Liberal Arts Dean Joseph Airstrup and Auburn Board of Trustees member Michael DeMaioribus.
In a move that supports the next generation of pilots and furthers the student experience at Auburn University, Delta Air Lines and Auburn dedicated the Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building on Friday, celebrating the state-of-the-art facility that will host its first set of classes in early 2019.
Last November, Delta, The Delta Air Lines Foundation and the Jacobson Family Foundation contributed a combined $6.2 million to support aviation programs at Auburn. The funding provided will allow Auburn students to learn to fly and pursue aviation careers at Auburn University Regional Airport.
The 23,000-square-foot building is designed exclusively for aviation education at Auburn University with enhanced classrooms, debriefing rooms for student pilots and flight simulators, including an Airbus 320 commercial airline simulator. Months after the donation, Delta also selected Auburn as one of the initial eight universities to take part in its industry-leading Propel Pilot Career Path Program. The Propel program will help identify, select and develop the next generation of pilots. Students selected to participate in the program will be provided a Qualified Job Offer, detailing a defined path and accelerated timeline to becoming a Delta pilot, in 42 months or less.
“As a graduate of the Auburn Aviation Management Program, I am proud to be a part of a partnership that will help provide exceptional training and support Delta’s continued investment in education and our communities,” said Paul Jacobson, Delta’s E.V.P. and Chief Financial Officer, Trustee of The Delta Air Lines Foundation, Chair of the Jacobson Family Foundation and Auburn alumnus.
Auburn’s aviation program has seen tremendous growth in recent years, boasting more than 300 declared aviation students this fall.
“Our partnership with Delta, one of the world’s leading airlines, places Auburn’s exceptional students in the aviation industry pipeline, helping to ensure the skies are safe and reliable,” said Auburn University President Steven Leath.
In addition to the grant from The Delta Air Lines Foundation for the building and endowed professorships, the airline provided support for the Delta Air Lines Aviation Sensor ID Bay. The bay also serves as a dedicated space for students to research and further develop Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The contribution also supports a new student leadership development program, “Emerge at Auburn.”
“Today’s dedication marks a milestone in the future of aviation education at Auburn University,” said Auburn Airport Director and Aviation Center Director Bill Hutto. “Thanks to the vital support and partnership of Delta Air Lines, this new site of learning and research will serve as a state-of-the-art hub for transforming lives and inspiring the next generation of pilots.”
Advancing education is a key priority for Delta as one of its community engagement pillars. The contribution also reflects the airline’s commitment to give back 1 percent of its annual net profits to communities where Delta employees live, work and serve.