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SLU’s Parks College Confers First Ph.D. In Aviation In The World

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – In 1929, Parks Air College was awarded Certificate No. 1, making it the first federally certificated pilot training school in the nation.

On Saturday, May 18, the University will confer the first Ph.D. in Aviation in the United States and the world to Damon Lercel. This historic international milestone also marks the first Ph.D. completed at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology.

Manoj Patankar, Ph.D., Executive Director of Center for Aviation Safety Research at Parks, funded and supported Lercel’s research through his grant, and calls this success “a dream come true.” Parks has been working on the concept of a Ph.D. degree in aviation for more than 10 years, recognizing the need for such a degree as well as the academic rigor and research funding required in order to achieve this milestone in aviation.

Lercel is thrilled to be the first to receive a Ph.D. in aviation, and said, “It’s a victory for the advancement of aviation.”