The Museum of Flight Announces Election of First Chairwoman and New Alaska Airlines Scholarship

Seattle May 4, 2016–The Museum of Flight and its extended community initiated the beginning of a new era during its 2016 Annual Meeting which was held at The Museum on April 19.

To open the meeting, Anne F. Simpson, who recently retired from her 34-year career as a Northwest/Delta Pilot, was unanimously elected to become the Museum’s first Chairwoman of its Board of Trustees. Ms. Simpson succeeds outgoing Museum Chairman Bill Ayer, retired Chairman and CEO of Alaska Air Group. With a tireless passion for aviation inherited from her 91-year old mother, Dottie, Simpson spoke with pride about the growing role the Museum plays not just in preserving the past but in shaping our region’s economic future.

“The Museum has long been a source of inspiration, but more recently, with Raisbeck Aviation High School and the newly launched Boeing Academy for STEM Learning, we can offer a greater number of practical learning opportunities and career pathways in aviation, aerospace and other high-tech sectors.” Encouraging young women to follow STEM education and career pathways is a major priority for the trailblazing Simpson, who rose to be the second-most senior female Captain at Delta Air Lines before her retirement. “The Museum is perfectly positioned to help young women envision aerospace as a viable career through programs such as Women Fly!and Amelia’s Aero Club and I’m very proud to be part of these programs and help inspire future generations of female aerospace leaders.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, another landmark announcement was made by Shaunta Hyde, Managing Director, Community Relations at Alaska Airlines and newly elected trustee at The Museum of Flight. She proudly announced the Alaska Airlines Endowed Scholarship for Aviation Education and Training. “In honor of Bill Ayer’s legendary leadership at both Alaska and The Museum of Flight, and his tireless efforts to promote opportunities for young people to learn to fly and pursue aviation as a career, Alaska is pleased to establish this permanent fund with a gift of $200,000.”

Hyde emphasized, “The Museum of Flight is the natural home for this endowment given its efforts to provide underserved students with the preparation necessary to navigate the STEM sector.”

Funds from the endowment will provide scholarships outside the formal classroom in areas such as flight training, aviation mechanics, and aerospace technology. Qualifying applicants must be of high-school age and have been active participants in Museum of Flight immersive educational programs. These programs include Washington Aerospace Scholars, Michael P. Anderson Memorial Aerospace Programs, ACE summer camps, and the Bill Ayer Future Pilots Program which includes Private Pilot Ground School, the soon-to-be-launched Aeronautical Science Pathways program, and other credit-bearing courses designed to boost interest and commitment to flight training.

“‘Inspiration Begins Here!’ is a saying we use to reference the Museum’s vast array of educational programs,” says Doug King, President and CEO of The Museum of Flight. “Now with a specific focus, innovative course offerings and financial assistance opportunities, we believe every young person’s aerospace career can begin at the Museum, too!”

In addition to Ms. Hyde’s election as a board member, The Museum of Flight also welcomed as new trustees Antoine Leblond, leader of the software product group at Sonos and former Senior Vice President of Office and Windows at Microsoft, and Kevin Wells, Executive Director of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics.

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