St. Gregory’s, Oklahoma Aviation Partner to Educate Students
St. Gregory’s University and Oklahoma Aviation, LLC, have signed an agreement that will provide a pathway to the sky for anyone who has ever dreamed of a career in aviation.
Under the new agreement, St. Gregory’s and Oklahoma Aviation would partner to offer both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Applied Science degrees in Aviation Science. The degrees would be based in Business and Aviation courses, which St. Gregory’s will oversee. Oklahoma Aviation would provide the Pilot Training and Aviation Lab courses that will culminate in each student receiving a Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Pilot Certification.
“No other university has the unique relationship with a private company like we have established with Oklahoma Aviation,” St. Gregory’s President Greg Main said. “We’re a private university, so it’s easy for us to move quickly into an area where we think there is a market that we can do a great job serving. This a great partnership that will help us serve the aviation industry and our students.”
According to Dr. William Mayfield, St. Gregory’s Vice President for Graduate and Continuing Studies, the aviation industry is facing a shortfall of 10,000 pilots in the next decade, and St. Gregory’s, along with Oklahoma Aviation, wants to do its part to help fulfill that need.
“This is a real interesting opportunity for St. Gregory’s to combine with industry and promote something that industry wants,” Mayfield said.
The new curriculum would be geared toward E-4’s and officers from Tinker Air Force Base who need a commercial pilot’s license in order to get a promotion, as well as individuals who simply have an interest in pursuing a career in aviation.
“We’re hoping this program with St. Gregory’s opens the door to future aviators,” said Sho Kassam, Managing Member and Director of Operations for Oklahoma Aviation, “whether it’s to be a career pilot or for personal satisfaction and achievement. Aviation is a very rewarding field, and in my mind, the more we expose people to aviation, no matter what they end up pursing in life, it just adds to the flavor.”
Students graduating from the program with a degree in Aviation Science will have a specialized knowledge of the aviation industry and a strong foundation in corporate operations. According to the FAA, there are five non-flying aviation jobs for every pilot in the sky, allowing graduates to continue their flight training or to pursue a variety of administrative and management positions careers with aircraft manufacturers, airports, higher education institutions and airlines.
“Officers, in order to bump up in rank from Major to Colonel, must have commercial pilot certification and must have an advanced degree,” Mayfield said. “This new program is geared to fill that need, in addition to the need for pilots and aviation personnel in the international market.”
Instructors for the program will be recruited from the trainers and flight experts at Tinker Air Force Base. Business and Aviation courses taught in the classroom will take place on the St. Gregory’s campus in Shawnee. All flight training will take place at Shawnee Regional Airport using a variety of Cessna aircraft.
“I have not come across an airport in the state with as modern a facility as Shawnee Regional Airport,” Kassam said. “The new terminal, runway expansion and just the aviation centricity of the airport near a college setting makes it very unique. There are real strong aviation roots here. You have two universities, Gordon Cooper and this facility in real close quarters. It’s just a great place to come and learn how to fly.”