ABOVE: Donovan Patterson and Dr. Terence H. Fontaine, TSU Director of the Aviation program
Donovan Patterson offered a position at Texas Southern University as a Certified Flight Instructor as part of the University’s award-winning Aviation Science & Technology program
Please join the Forward Times in congratulating Donovan Patterson, who was recently offered a position at Texas Southern University (TSU) as a Certified Flight Instructor.
According to Dr. Terence H. Fontaine, who serves as the Director of the Aviation program at TSU, Patterson will be the first in a long line of TSU student pilots who will earn their Certified Flight Instructor certificate while working towards their Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Science Management.
Patterson has high aspirations of becoming a Southwest Airlines Pilot through their Destination 225° program.
The award-winning Aviation Science & Technology program at TSU has garnered the attention of many entities and has drawn an interest in the students and the program.
Back in 2020, TSU signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Coast Guard for a College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative that allows TSU Transportation Studies students to receive a commission in the Coast Guard. The College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative is for individuals who are outstanding students and leaders who desire to serve their country.
In March of 2021, Aviation Management student Derrick Hudson became the first TSU student to participate in the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, where he received a surprise commission from the United States Coast Guard at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base. Hudson was projected to finish the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative this past summer, and then upon graduating from TSU, he is slated to complete Boot Camp and be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.
In 2022, TSU has established strategic partnerships with United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Republic Airways, with each entity providing critical funding and resources for the program, as well as scholarships and defined career pathways for TSU graduates.
In March of this year, United Airlines’ Houston Hub Vice President Phil Griffith presented TSU President Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young with a $100,000 check for the first two years of scholarships for the Aviation Science & Technology program, with a partnership that also includes ongoing mentorship activities between United Airlines employees and TSU students in the program.
Back in April of this year, TSU President Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young and Southwest Airlines Vice President of Flight Operations Lee Kinnebrew signed an agreement that designated TSU as the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to become a partner in Southwest Airline’s First Officer recruitment program called Destination 225°.
After being accepted into the Destination 225° program and completing their university degree, candidates build post-graduate flight instructing time within their college’s flight program, with the goal of becoming competitively qualified to interview for a First Officer role at one of the program’s partner carriers.
After building their flying experience at a partner carrier, candidates will be considered for a First Officer position at Southwest Airlines. Candidates also receive ongoing career mentorship from a Southwest pilot during their university studies and early flying career.
In May of this year, Republic Airways presented TSU President Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young with a check for $20,000 that is intended to go toward student scholarships for TSU’s Aviation Science Management and Professional Pilot programs.
And then earlier this month, the TSU Aviation Science Management program hosted the second annual HBCU Aviation Directors’ Summit. The two-day summit included directors from aviation programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S. and other leaders in the aviation industry, including representatives from several major U.S. airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration. The primary focus of the summit involved developing strategies for training and graduating more students of color to go into the aviation industry and military to address the growing nationwide pilot and aircraft technician shortage. As such, a significant part of the summit involved discussions with attending representatives from carriers such as Alaska Airlines, PSA Airlines, Republic Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. Military representatives included the U.S. Army Cadet Command and the U.S. Naval Air Force.
TSU is the only school in Texas that offers a combined Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Science Management and a Bachelor of Science degree as a Professional Pilot.
This semester, there are 61 students enrolled in the management program. Enrollment in the professional pilot program quadrupled year-over-year to 56 students.