Press Release

AAAE Announces Permanent Endowment of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship

For Immediate Release
January 19, 2023

Alexandria, VA. – Following a series of recent major contributions and the successful completion of an extensive  fundraising drive, the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Foundation has permanently endowed the AAAE Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship, allowing for the issuance of annual awards of at least $5,000 in perpetuity.

The DE&I scholarship was created as part of AAAE’s ongoing efforts to expand support for future aviation leaders through foundation scholarships and will be awarded annually to an ethnic minority student (Black or African American; Hispanic or Latino; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders) enrolled in a college or university aviation program with a junior, senior, or graduate student standing and a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

AAAE First Vice Chair Perry Miller, A.A.E, I.A.P., President and CEO of the Richmond International Airport, led a coalition of aviation leaders in raising funds and awareness for this effort.

“We are grateful for the support of this scholarship by many AAAE members and partners, including recent significant contributions from Oris and Sylvia Dunham and the Birmingham Airport Authority, allowing us to complete our 18-month fundraising effort,” Miller said.

The AAAE Foundation thanks the following major gift donors and numerous individual contributors for their generous support of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship.

DE&I Founders - $15,000+

  • ACS Firm
  • Oris and Sylvia Dunham, Jr.

DE&I Scholarship Leaders - $10,000+

  • Benjamin R. DeCosta, A.A.E.
  • Birmingham Airport Authority
  • HMSHost Corporation
  • ProDIGIQ, Inc.
  • RS&H 

DE&I Scholarship Advocates - $5,000+

  • AAAE Executive Management Team
  • Burns & McDonnell
  • Elevated Facility Services Group
  • Great Lakes Chapter AAAE
  • Gresham Smith
  • Northeast Chapter AAAE
  • Northwest Chapter AAAE
  • South Central Chapter AAAE
  • Southeast Chapter AAAE
  • Southwest Chapter AAAE
  • Vanderlande Industries, Inc.

DE&I Scholarship Friends - $3,500+

  • C&S Companies
  • DY Consultants
  • Woolpert 

Kailyn Hyman, a junior at Hampton University in Virginia majoring in aviation and air transportation, was the inaugural recipient of the scholarship. The announcement of Hyman’s award was made at the 94th Annual AAAE Conference & Exposition in June 2022.

Applications are now being accepted for all eight AAAE Foundation scholarship programs for the 2023-2024 school year. The Foundation anticipates awarding over $475,000 in scholarships this year to support future aviation leaders, AAAE members and their families.

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ABOUT AAAE: Founded in 1928, AAAE is the world's largest professional organization representing the individuals who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE's 9,000 members represent some 875 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and a highly respected accreditation program.

ABOUT THE AAAE FOUNDATION: Since 1989, the AAAE Foundation has issued more than 3,250 scholarship checks totaling more than $5.7 million, making the organization one of the largest supporters of higher education assistance in the entire aviation industry. In 2022, the AAAE Foundation will award 126 scholarship awards totaling $390,000. The AAAE Foundation offers a number of scholarships aimed at supporting our Accredited Airport Executives (A.A.E.s) and their families, as well as scholarships to support the best and brightest future leaders in our profession.

The Foundation is a not-for-profit IRS 501 (C) (3) organization founded in 1962 for the advancement of education and the public understanding of airport and aviation issues. Contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible to the extent permissible under current tax laws.

Joel D. Bacon
Executive Vice President, Government and Public Affairs
Phone: 703.575.2478

Gwen Basaria
AAAE Vice President, Member Experience and AAAE Foundation
Phone: 703.797.2540