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Florida Memorial University Earns Cessna Pilot Center Certificate

(FMU Aviation students. Image: Florida Memorial University)

Florida Memorial University recently received its certification as a Cessna Pilot Center. Josh Colton, manager of Cessna Pilot Centers, presented the official plaque to Capt. A. J. Tolbert, chair of the Department of Aviation & Safety and a 21-year veteran of American Airlines, to recognize FMU as the third university in the nation to earn this distinction.

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For more than 80 years, Cessna has been a leading general aviation manufacturer. Its partnership with FMU brings to the university’s aviation program a broad spectrum of benefits, including the opportunity for students to fly FMU’s Cessna 172 SP G1000 aircraft at a discounted rate, access to a leading industry curriculum, and opportunities to obtain a degree while pursuing a pilot’s license.

The Cessna Pilot Center certification authorizes the university to incorporate the Cessna Flight Training Program into its lesson plans. This comprehensive flight training program is recognized in the aviation industry for producing competent and confident new pilots. FMU will also benefit from member exclusive seminars and supplementary programs.

“We’re excited to have Florida Memorial University as our newest collegiate CPC partner,” said Josh Colton, according to a statement. “We expect good things to come from this partnership. We’re pleased that [FMU is] going to use the Cessna curriculum to continue training some of the best pilots of tomorrow. We believe our industry leading curriculum will enhance enrollment for the university.”

FMU’s aviation students pay $ 124 per hour (wet) to rent the aircraft—a considerably lower rate in comparison to that of other institutions, which charge much more for the same equipment. Another advantage is that the costs of ground school can now be covered by student loans, says Capt. Tolbert.

“Cessna is the world’s leading general aviation manufacturer, and its training programs have a long record of excellence,” says Capt. Tolbert. “This is yet another milestone in the consistent advancement of our aviation programs at FMU.”

Approximately 80 students study aviation & safety at the university. “Students here are getting a first class ground school,” Tolbert says. Ground school teaches the students about airspace, radio calls, the aircraft systems, how the aircraft works, how it flies, and the rules and regulations of operating in the skies of the national airplace system,” says the captain.

The partnership goes into effect immediately.

For more information about Florida Memorial University and its aviation programs, visit its website.

Black Enterprise

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Howard University Introduces D.C Kids to Robot and NASA Scientists and Engineers

Howard University kicked-off its first STEM Best Practices forum last week at the new Howard University Interdisciplinary Research Building in Washington D.C., as part of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation (NNPA) of the U.S.A. and NNPA’s 2016 Black Press Week.

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Eighty-two young people of color from Washington D.C.-area schools were at the event to take part in hands-on demonstrations of robotics and drone technology.

Dr. Anthony K. Wutoh, provost of Howard University, led the event. He welcomed NNPA President, Dr. Benjamin Chavis; NNPA Chairman, Denise Roark-Barnes; and Al McFarlane, chair of the NNPA Foundation as well as a host of engineers and scientists.

Leading engineers with the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and a member of the American National Academy of Inventors (NAI) provided hands-on robotics assembly and demonstrations to the student scholars, many of whom were witnessing this technology in person for the first time.

The experts proving the demonstrations included Dr. Thomas Mensah, a fiber optics inventor; the NNPA Foundation’s ‘STEM Research 2020” Ambassador; NAI fellow; and one of its only three black members to hold more than seven invention patents.

Also, at the event was Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, group lead and robotics engineer at the NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory; fellow of the United Kingdom’s IET and the Royal Aeronautical Society; and a designer of the Mars Rover Lander. Dr. Trebi-Ollennu’s research focuses on planetary rovers.

Dr. Edward Tuntsel, designer of the Mars Lander Robot at NASA and an alumnus of Howard University, also lent his expertise to the event. Dr. Tuntsel is also senior roboticist at John Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory.

Fernando Hernandez, the director at Microsoft Supplier Diversity, who created Microsoft’s $ 2 billion supplier diversity strategic three-year plan, and Bill Blackwelder, president at Delta Southern Space UAS, a company specializing in unmanned aerial systems and platforms in the agricultural industry, were also in attendance.

“It was exciting to see these young students, some of the children in their third grade, interact with scientists, engineers, and inventors, as well as older students from the all-female Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia […] who placed third in a national robotics competition at Microsoft in November 2014,” said Dr. Mensah.

“The Spelman ladies were on hand to demonstrate a humanoid robot they had built which is nicknamed ‘Spice.” The high schoolers were also impressed by the commercial drone shown by Bill Blackwelder.”

Black Enterprise

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Morgan State University Gets $5 Million Scholarship Donation

Morgan State University logoRetired UPS senior executive Calvin E. Tyler Jr. and his wife, Tina, nationally known philanthropists, announced a $ 5 million gift to Morgan State University for an endowed scholarship fund established in their name at MSU. The fund provides need-based scholarships that cover full tuition for select Morgan students who reside in Baltimore City, the Tylers’ hometown.

The couple’s contribution is the largest individual donation in the school’s history, and is believed to be the fifth largest from an individual to any historically black college.

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“This incredibly generous donation from the Tylers will provide many talented, hardworking students with a higher education they may not otherwise have achieved,” said Morgan President David Wilson. “But more than that, it will help ensure the success of Morgan’s mission and benefit the youth of Baltimore City, at this particularly challenging time and far into the future.”

Calvin Tyler was the first person in his family to attend college when he entered Morgan to study business administration in 1961. But he had to interrupt his higher education in 1963 because he lacked the funds to continue. He took a job as one of the first 10 drivers at UPS in Baltimore in 1964, during the company’s early days. Two years later, he became a UPS manager and, with much hard work and sacrifice—his own and his family’s—he climbed the corporate ladder, joining the company’s board of directors and becoming senior vice president of operations, the position from which he retired in 1998.

“I think anyone who has had any success in life and has the ability to reach back and help others, this is the time for them to do it,” Tyler said. “There are two major things I want to achieve [with the endowed scholarship fund]: Number one, to see as many of our young people graduate with a degree as possible…. The second thing that my wife and I are concerned about, and that’s why we’re providing 10 full-tuition scholarships each year, is that we want more students to get a college degree and graduate debt-free.”

The Calvin and Tina Tyler Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 with a $ 500,000 donation. Another $ 500,000 followed in 2005, and a gift of $ 1 million was announced in 2008. The recent gift of $ 3 million is “…a vote of confidence in Morgan State University and Dr. Wilson and his staff,” Calvin Tyler said. “[Dr. Wilson] comes from a very humble background, and he can relate to young people who are academically qualified but just don’t have the resources to get a college education. I think he has a real understanding of the plight of those young people.”

Cheryl Y. Hitchcock, Morgan’s vice president for Institutional Advancement, pointed out that 90% of the university’s students receive financial aid.

“The Tylers’ gifts have been exceedingly helpful in our mission to bring in all students who qualify academically,” Hitchcock said. “Morgan’s alumni, as a whole, have been increasingly supportive of the university over the past six years, boosting our institution’s alumni giving rate to a percentage far above the national average. We hope this latest donation from the Tylers will inspire even greater giving.”

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified Doctoral Research Institution offering more than 70 academic programs leading to bachelor’s degrees as well as programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. Its student body is multiracial and multi-ethnic.

Black Enterprise