Endowed scholarship established for aviation majors

October 2 2006

The John Michael Wood Memorial Aviation Endowed Scholarship has been created at Indiana State University in honor of Wood, a 1988 alumnus.

The endowment was started with a gift of $77,000, which will result in four separate $2,000 scholarships annually for full-time students majoring in ISU's professional aviation flight technology program.

To benefit students as soon as possible, the first scholarship of $2,000 will be awarded in spring 2007 to an incoming freshman for the 2007-2008 academic year. The remaining $75,000 will be matched at $1.25 per dollar by the Lilly Endowment, and will bring the total endowment to $168,750.

A graduate of ISU's professional pilot technology program, Wood was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2006, on his 40th birthday, and passed away seven weeks later.

"Mike was always grateful for the scholarship he received that enabled him to attend ISU and fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot," a family spokesperson said. "He was such a generous and caring person, We felt the best way to honor him was to enable him to help others do the same for eternity."

Wood was the recipient of the Jeffrey Hardaway Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship meant a great deal to him, according to family members, and he always expressed his gratitude and admiration for Jeffrey's family for helping student pilots like him after such a terrible loss.

While at ISU, Wood was a member of the ROTC and a very dedicated student, making the Dean's List in six of his eight semesters.

After graduation, he joined the United States Air Force and flew the C-5 Galaxy, assigned to the 21st Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base in California, until 1998. At that time, he became a pilot for United Airlines and transferred to the Air Force Reserves in the 312th Airlift Squadron. Four years later, he became an Air Force Academy liaison officer.

"Mike enjoyed meeting all of the bright young students who applied, and helping to select the top-notch candidates for admission each year," a family member said.

During his 18 years of military service, he received numerous honors and awards for his extraordinary abilities as a pilot and as a leader. One that was particularly meaningful to him was the Aircraft Commander of the Aircrew of the Year Award in 1997, for demonstrated leadership in the face of multiple hazards. His fellow pilots and commanders admired him for his character and dedication, and described him as being "an incredibly gifted pilot."

Part of Wood's legacy will be to help other up-and-coming "gifted pilots."

"This scholarship reflects the importance that John and his family placed on his aviation roots here at ISU," said Greg Schwab, chair and associate professor of aerospace technology. "Although many years have passed since John regularly walked our hallways, the faculty still reflect on his gentle way and the professional demeanor about him, and take great satisfaction that the department left such a positive mark on his memory. This scholarship will extend that memory into the future by touching lives that strive to achieve excellence in aviation that John so often demonstrated throughout his aviation experiences."

The scholarship will be awarded to an incoming freshman each year, and is renewable for an additional three years if the student remains eligible.

Eligibility includes being a full-time aviation major; maintaining a 3.0 grade-point average in professional aviation courses, and at least a 2.5 overall; and being of excellent moral character. Preference will be given to students demonstrating strong leadership and financial need.

"Endowed scholarships are an investment in our greatest resource - human potential," said Tad Foster, dean of ISU's college of technology. "The John Michael Wood Endowed Scholarship will invest in our promising students' futures in aviation, and help them receive the superior, hands-on education that is provided by Indiana State University and the College of Technology. We are honored to have the scholarship named after our alumnus John Michael Wood, and will carry on his legacy by helping students succeed in this important field."

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Photo: A publication-quality, high-resolution photo is available here:
John Michael Wood

Contact: Eric Motycka, College of Technology director of development, Indiana State University, (812) 237-8983, emotycka1@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Katie Spanuello, media relations assistant director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3790 or kspanuello@isugw.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

The John Michael Wood Memorial Aviation Endowed Scholarship has been created at Indiana State Univesity in memory of Wood, a 1988 alumnus. The gift will be matched at $1.25 per dollar by the Lilly Endowment, and will bring the total endowment to $168,750.

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