In May 2023, Texas Woman’s University received a $15 million gift from the Doswell Foundation in order to start an aviation program called the Doswell School of Aeronautical Sciences that will open up in the fall of 2024.
The program was designed to address the shortage of female pilots because the majority of pilots are males. And at the same time, the program aims to give women more representation because they are part of one of the most underrepresented groups.
“Our students will take their flight hours, their ground courses here face to face, we won’t have any online it’s all face to face, and the ultimate outcome will be a commercial license, which is the higher level of license,” Interim Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost O. Finley Graves said. “Students can get a private license on the way to getting the commercial license.”
Lisa Rampy is the Interim Vice President of University Advancement and Alumni Engagement and is involved with the foundation arm of TWU. In addition to that, she helped with an event that the university hosted in Seattle, Wash., in order to get funding for the aviation program.
“The CEO of the Doswell Foundation attended and that’s how the discussion began,” Rampy said. “They were very instrumental in helping launch the program.”
The funding for the program is one of the largest single donations that the university has ever received. According to Graves, students should join the program because pilots get paid well and the respect that they gain is valuable.
“If you get a collegiate degree you don’t have to have as many flight hours to qualify, and you can be only 21,” Graves said. “You only have to have 1000 hours of flight training to become a commercial pilot. If you have an associate’s degree from a community college, it only takes 250,000 hours and you have to be 23 there. If you don’t have any college experience at all, you have to have 1500 hours. Those are expensive hours and they cost a lot more.”
For TWU’s upcoming aviation program, there will be two career tracks that the program will be offering: professional pilot training and aviation management.
“With a professional pilot [training], one becomes a professional pilot, they are a commercial pilot and the other one, aviation management is an opportunity for someone to be able to manage airports, for example, to manage any kind of entity that’s aviation-related,” Graves said.
Featured illustration: Stephanie Vo
Clarise Tujardon can be reached via email at email@example.com.