Texas Southern University’s Aviation Program Reaches Milestone
Texas Southern University now boasts the only aviation program in the State of Texas accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International, as reported by Houston Public Media. The AABI has a rigorous standard when accrediting aviation programs at higher education institutions.
Only 43 programs worldwide have achieved its accreditation requirements, including TSU. TSU also became the second HBCU ever to receive accreditation from AABI. In a press release, TSU’s interim president Dr. Mary Evans Sias, expressed her pride in the university’s achievement.
“The aviation program at TSU has experienced an upward trajectory for many years, and this prestigious accreditation is a major step in accelerating future progress,” Sias said.
“We know this was an arduous process, and I am TSU PROUD of the faculty and staff of our aviation program, led by Dr. Terence Fontaine, who collaboratively executed with excellence.”
Dr. Fontaine is a member of the Red-Tailed Hawks Flying Club, an aviation club dedicated to introducing Black youth to the profession and Black pilots. According to his CV, Fontaine brings 40 years of experience in the aviation field, including reporting directly to the Mayor of the City of Houston as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the City of Houston’s Operations.
Fontaine led the program to new heights in the 2022-2023 academic year and increased enrollment in the program by more than 30%. Fontaine also managed to get the program an eighth plane, a brand new custom Cessna plane.
The university’s fleet is currently housed at Ellington Airport, but thanks to a partnership with the City of Houston, they will be moved into a hangar at the Houston Spaceport. The program also celebrates its inclusion in Destination 225, a career pathway program in partnership with Southwest Airlines. Destination 225 will have its first cohort of four pilots from the university in 2024.
Fontaine reflected on what this achievement meant for his program. “This is one of the proudest days in our program’s history. Being accredited by the AABI puts us in the company of the top aviation programs in the country.”
AABI’s accreditation of the university will run through July 31, 2028.
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