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Press Release



December 16, 2005

Cowley honors first graduating class from Aviation Tech Center


A total of 24 students represented the first graduating class from Cowley College’s Aviation Tech Center in Wichita, at a pair of graduation ceremonies held Wednesday at the training facility.

“This is a great milestone event for the graduates and the program itself,” said Sheree Utash, Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs at Cowley College.

The ceremonies were for graduates of the center’s A&P (Airframe and Power Plant) program. The first ceremony honored graduates of the day program and the second honored students who attended night classes.

Utash gave the introduction and welcomed several dignitaries that were on hand for the ceremonies. Among the dignitaries attending the event were, Cowley College President Dr Pat McAtee, Lt. Governor of Kansas John Moore, Kathy Holderman, Assistant City Manager of Wichita, Pete Gustaf, Executive Director of the Kansas Technical Training Initiative, Jeff Turner, CEO of Spirit Aero Systems, Mike German of Spirit Aero Systems, Lori Usher, the Workforce Development Director in Wichita, Tim Norton, Sedgwick County Commissioner, Mick Harrison of Bombardier-Learjet, and Debbie Alford of Bombardier.

Moore, the Lt. Governor of Kansas, gave the commencement address. Prior to being elected as Lt. Governor, Moore was employed by the Cessna Aircraft Company for 20 years.

“I can remember when this facility housed 50 instructors, and I am thrilled to see it return to a training facility with the great curriculum that this program has,” Moore said. “I think this is one of the most important and exciting industries in the world. You can think of few other industries that have affected the world as much as the aviation industry.”

The majority of the graduates will be working at local aviation manufacturers. The Aviation Tech Center trains professionals in aircraft maintenance for the aviation and other industries.

“I want to complement (Pete Gustaf) and Dr. (Pat) McAtee, Sheree (Utash) and others because this was a dream we had back in 2001,” Moore said. “We knew there would be a great demand for airframe mechanics.”