James P. Pappas, vice president for Outreach and dean of the College of Liberal Studies at the University of Oklahoma, was recently honored for his 25 years of contributions to the OU Aviation program.
Pappas was recognized at the Aviation Advisory Board meeting held on October 24. OU’s Aviation program, considered among the best undergraduate aviation programs in the nation, was established in 1947. The program currently offers four degree paths and produces pilots who often go on to pilot commercial aircraft. When Pappas first came to Outreach, the program consisted of six full-time staff, six certified flight instructors (CFI), four aircraft and 35 students. Today, the program boasts 30 staff members, 18 CFIs, an additional 60 summer hires for Sooner Flight Academy, 22 planes and more than 200 students. The Aviation Advisory Board credits the success and growth of the program to Pappas’ dedication.
“Under the leadership of Dr. Pappas, the Aviation program has become a wonderful, high-impact program,” said Bill Christiansen, chair of the Aviation Advisory Board. “He has helped the program grow tremendously, while maintaining the high quality and standards that are known in OU academics.”
As part of the presentation, Pappas received a model of the King Air aircraft that is in the OU fleet. The models are handmade in the Philippines and are gifted to faculty, staff and retirees who have made a lasting contribution to the program.
“I am honored to be recognized by the board and appreciate their presentation,” said Pappas. “Our Aviation program is one of the finest in the nation and continuously produces graduates who go on to become world-class pilots and aviators. I am proud to lead such a successful and impactful program.”
Pappas joined the University of Oklahoma in 1987. In addition to his roles in Outreach and the College of Liberal Studies, he is a professor in Educational Psychology and Liberal Studies.