Airport, Sauk partner to create aviation endowment

October 26, 2018

DIXON – The Dixon Municipal Airport and Sauk Valley Community College are partnering to create a scholarship endowment for aviation students after an anonymous donor pledged to match up to $10,000 in donations.

The two are hoping to raise at least $10,000 by the end of the year to establish a $20,000 endowment and so be able to start offering scholarships for aspiring pilots as soon as next fall.

Sauk offers a pilot ground-training course through its community education division, which is taught by the airport’s M&M Aviation Services.

“The goal is to do everything we can to enhance the opportunities out there for people to start a career in aviation,” M&M owner Mike Dowell said Thursday.

The scholarships, likely to range between $500 and $1,500, will go toward expenses for Sauk students who also are taking flight instruction classes at the airport.

There’s a pilot shortage in the aviation industry that continues to grow, and training new pilots will help fill job demand and lead to future investments in the community, Airport Board President Dan Ruckman said.

Donations will go through the Sauk Foundation.

“We’ve seen time and again the transformative power of scholarship support like this, and with the matching gift component, our community has the opportunity to build a scholarship fund that will impact the lives of countless students in the Sauk Valley,” said Lori Cortez, dean of institutional advancement at the college.

It’s a chance to grow pilot training in the community rather than students needing to travel elsewhere, Dowell said.

“We can be a real hub for this type of opportunity.”