The United States Air Force Academy and the Association of Graduates announce the 2020 Distinguished Graduate honorees
The United States Air Force Academy and the Association of Graduates are proud to announce the Distinguished Graduate honorees for 2020.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jay Kelley (Class of 1964) of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Mr. Hugh Williamson III (Class of 1964) of Denver, Colorado; Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ron Sega (Class of 1974) of Monument, Colorado; and Col. (Ret.) Gail Benjamin Colvin (Class of 1980) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, are this year’s honorees.
They join 46 fellow Academy graduates who have previously been honored as distinguished graduates.
- Kelley’s career of service to the Academy, Air Force and nation spans six decades. As a cadet, Kelley was a founding member of the USAFA parachute team. After graduation from the Academy, Kelley spent many years in the space and intercontinental ballistic missile fields, then later held leadership roles in Air Force public affairs and aerospace education. His civilian career that followed kept him in the space and military business. Over the past decade, Kelley served as president of the Falcon Foundation, an organization providing scholarships to students attending military prep schools throughout the nation.
- Williamson spent his Air Force career as an instructor pilot and academic leader before setting off on a remarkable business career. Over the past 50 years, he has served as chairman and chief executive officer of five public companies. At the age of 42, Williamson became the first USAFA graduate to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Throughout his career, Williamson has continued to serve the Academy, nation and community through his generous philanthropic efforts.
- Sega served as a NASA astronaut for six years, which included two Space Shuttle missions. During his Air Force career, Sega was a pilot and later served as the Reserve assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also served as director of Defense Research and Engineering and as under secretary of the Air Force, where he directed numerous technological advances in hypersonics, the global positioning system (GPS) and others. He has since gone on to a distinguished career in academia.
- Colvin was a member of the first coed class at USAFA. She went on to become the first African American alumna to achieve the rank of colonel. During her 30-year Air Force career, Colvin served at HQ Air Force and HQ Joint Staff and commanded at the squadron and group levels culminating in her role as USAFA vice commandant of cadets for Culture and Climate. Since retiring from the military, Colvin serves in Federal Civil Service as the USAFA director of staff. Colvin has been and remains a staunch advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion. She has a track record of service to the local community and is a trustee of the El Pomar Foundation in Colorado Springs.
The Academy and AOG have selected between two and five Distinguished Graduates per year since 2001. The award recognizes alumni who have set themselves apart by making significant contributions to our nation and their communities.
The newly selected Distinguished Graduates will be honored in the upcoming year.