The Marshall University Board of Governors today approved the purchase of three airplanes for its planned aviation program.
Two Cirrus SR-20 airplanes, valued at $500,000 each, are state-of-the-art, small planes ideal for student training, according to Marshall officials. The Cirrus planes are fully instrumented and have a variety of sophisticated features, including a whole airframe parachute that, when deployed, will safely lower the plane to the ground.
A single-engine used plane with cable controls also was approved for purchase with a price tag of up to $175,000. The used plane is for teaching aviation students spin maneuvers.
The purchases are made possible in part by private grant funding, including a $1.5 million donation from the Maier Foundation. There are also plans in place to purchase additional start-up equipment, including simulators.
“This is an exciting time for Marshall University,” said Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert, Marshall’s president. “Both our aviation programs, the bachelor’s degree program at Yeager Airport and the two-year degree partnership with Mountwest at Tri-State Airport, will provide outstanding opportunities for students and be a catalyst for economic growth in our state and region.”
Following an executive session, the board approved naming the aviation school the Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School in honor of Marshall alumnus and board member Bill Noe. Noe had a successful career in aviation, starting out as a flight instructor and working his way up to serving as chief operating officer of NetJets, Inc., a Columbus, Ohio-based company geared to meeting private air travel needs.
The board also approved a plan to realign academic degrees in the Lewis College of Business, providing for a more streamlined version of current offerings. The effort is intended to present a more clear set of requirements to students and accrediting bodies.
A motion to rename the university’s College of Information Technology and Engineering to the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences also was approved. Officials say the updated name is an important move that will allow the school to take advantage of broader research opportunities. The board approved a new B.S.-to-Ph.D. program between the College of Science and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine that allows promising students the opportunity to complete a doctoral research degree in just seven years.
In his report, Gilbert gave kudos to business dean Dr. Avi Mukherjee and his team for organizing Wednesday’s inaugural CEO Panel that featured a trio of corporate titans, including Marshall alumnus Brad D. Smith, executive chairman of Intuit. Gilbert also thanked the board for its continued support of the university’s aviation programs.
Information items presented to the board today included an update on the new university baseball stadium. Due to additional site development changes, the university is redesigning the project and will rebid the stadium construction this spring.