William “Bill” Shea, founding director of the University of Nebraska Omaha Aviation Institute, was presented the 2022 Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award, last week during the Durham Distinguished Lecture Series in Omaha.
For more than six decades, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has honored outstanding Americans as Distinguished Statesmen and Stateswomen of Aviation for their contributions of significant value to aeronautics over an extended period of years. “It is our privilege at the National Aeronautic Association to honor great achievements and great careers,” said NAA President, Greg Principato, who was on hand to make the presentation.
Shea, recognized for his distinguished service as an advocate for our national aerospace system, enhancing aviation education, and energetically inspiring the next generation of aviation professionals, joins Pete Bunce, Anthony Mazzolini, Captain Houston Mills, Hazel Sig-Hester, and Cheryl Stearns as 2022 awardees.
Shea’s contributions include national, state, and local influence. He spent a lifetime focusing on enhancing aviation and developing the next generation of aviation leaders. To this day Bill continues to write, lecture and is a sought-after speaker by many organizations. Along with his connections to UNO, Shea served as chair of the aviation department at the University of North Dakota aviation program.
Previous recipients of this award include: Katherine and Marjorie Stinson, Scott Crossfield, Charles Bolden, Olive Ann Beech, Clay Lacy, Julie Clark, Bob Hoover, John and Martha King, and Chuck Yeager.