Impact of Giving

Your contributions make an extraordinary difference for the Air Force Academy, and our donors often tell us what an impact giving back makes in their own lives. The following examples from the 2017 Annual Report highlight the impact that gifts through the USAFA Endowment can have on the institution.

Harmon Memorial Lectures
Anonymous donor
The Harmon Memorial Lectures honor the memory of the Academy’s first superintendent, Lt. Gen. Hubert R. Harmon. Each year, an outstanding military historian or recognized scholar from a related field is invited to the Academy to present on a subject within the broad field of military history. The lecture is published and distributed to leading scholars and libraries throughout the world. The lectures are known collectively as the Harmon Memorial Lectures in Military History. Dr. Brian M. Linn of Texas A&M University delivered the 2017 Harmon lecture, “Military Professionals and the Warrior Ethos in the Aftermath of War.”

The Face of Battle staff ride
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Don Raines ’86
On the 73rd anniversary of the Normandy invasion (June 6, 2017), six Air Force Academy cadets stood on the sands of Omaha Beach, moved by the bravery and sacrifice of the men who fought and died that day. Visiting Normandy was part of the 14-day Face of Battle Staff Ride coordinated through the Academy Department of History by Lt. Col. Mark Grotelueschen and Dr. Bob Wettemann. The ride was funded by Academy graduate Lt. Col. (Ret.) Don Raines ’86 through the United States Air Force Academy Endowment. “A trip like this has the potential to be transformational in so many ways, not only for the cadets, but to generate excitement within the History Department,” Wettemann says. “Developing this sort of intellectual engagement with the past creates insights that cadets will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

New telescope advances space research
Anonymous donor
An anonymous Academy supporter agreed to match gifts up to $100,000 to help replace the observatory’s 53-yearold telescope. The new one-meter telescope has the potential to more than double cadet research capacity, impacting up to 20 physics and astronautical engineering majors every year. It will also offer professional development activities for at least 10 faculty members. “The new scope will gather light at least four times faster, be capable of tracking low orbiting spacecraft, such as the International Space Station, be able to accommodate four modern instruments simultaneously and be remotely operable, conceivably from any location around the globe,” says Dr. Devin Della-Rose, the director of the Academy’s Astronomical Research Group and Observatory (ARGO). “Our existing 61-cm telescope — the oldest active scope in the Air Force inventory — is Apolloera technology and enjoys none of these advantages.”

Profession of Arms Speaker Series
The Boeing Company
The Profession of Arms Speaker Series, coordinated through the Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD), brings distinguished lecturers to the Academy to explore issues pertinent to modern war fighters with faculty, cadets, visiting scholars and military leaders. The CCLD hosted three Profession of Arms Speaker Series events in 2017 including “Ethics, Technology, and War” in April, the first Air Commanders Conference in September and a presentation exploring current security issues in South Asia in November.

Phase II of Stadium Renovation Begins
Funding from several donors
Renovation and expansion of the home team locker room at Falcon Stadium started in December. This phase of the stadium project will expand the locker room by more than 8,000 square feet. Additional locker room space will be added for coaches and officials, the Falcons’ cheer and dance teams and community events. The project includes more than lockers rooms, too. Modern medical areas, a green room for visiting dignitaries and a new media room are also part of the project. This portion of the stadium work should be complete by the first home game of the 2018 football season.

Medical School Prep Fund
Anonymous donor
Graduating cadets interested in pursuing an Air Force medical career have traditionally had to pay for their entrance exams, application fees and travel to school interviews. Costs can be $5,000-10,000 per cadet, depending on the medical career being pursued. Their classmates interested in graduate school, on the other hand, have had similar expenses covered by the Air Force. When it was created in 2016, the Medical School Preparatory Fund, supported by donors, helped cadets pay for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). As the fund grew, it was used to also pay for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and a mandatory class for physician assistant candidates in medical terminology. In 2017, the Endowment worked with donors who intend to endow the fund, which would assist cadets far into the future.

Cadets excel in summer research
Support from several donors
Cadets participated in 231 summer research opportunities in 2017 including space-related internships at Boeing, Air Force Research Labs, and various operational Air Force Space Command organizations. Cadet 1st Class Molly Phillips was the overall winner of the prestigious Thomas D. Moore Award for Outstanding Cadet Summer Research for her work at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C. Phillips investigated a secret weapons project that was being developed at a university in an “adversary nation.” Her research revealed that the university was being used as a research center for weapon development. She also linked more than 650 employees and researchers tied to the university.

Ensuring a diverse applicant pool
Col. Robert Widmann ’90, family and friends
The late Lt. Col. Ida Widmann’s legacy of improving the diversity of the Cadet Wing is being continued with an endowed fund in her name. The Lt. Col. Ida Lee Widmann Endowed Fund for Admissions will be available for use by the Academy Directorate of Admissions later in 2018 after Widmann’s husband, Col. Robert Widmann ’90, created the fund in honor of his wife, who died in August 2017. “We have specific recruiting programs that focus on financial need. It’s not automatic for them to see themselves here,” says Col. Arthur Primas ‘92, director of admissions. “That was Ida’s focus in everything that she did.”

Moot Court Team
Terry O’Donnell ’66
The Academy’s moot court program, coordinated through the Department of Law, has been ranked ninth in the country. In its sixth year, the program has won four regional championships, many individual awards and multiple awards for top-five briefs in the nation. Maj. Jane Elzeftawy, assistant professor in the Department of Law, says participation in moot court competitions helps develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that cadets must have in order to be effective Air Force officers.

Water Polo
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Kelvin “Kelly” Kemp ’74
Kelly Kemp, a 1974 graduate and former water polo player for the Academy, created the Lt. Col. (Ret.) Kelly Kemp ’74 Perpetual Fund for Women’s Water Polo in 2017 to help the cadet athletes focus on their competitions instead of coming up with money to keep the team active. The perpetual fund, once it is fully vested, will pay annual Collegiate Water Polo Association membership dues for the women’s water polo team. Any extra funds available will be applied to the team’s other operational needs. Kemp wanted the team to have a stable foundation for funding instead of relying on Academy budgets that may change or sporadic donor funds.

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