Five individuals received top honors on Sept. 30, 2016, at the Chancellor’s Alumni Hall of Fame Dinner, held during the annual OctoberWest festivities on the Prescott Campus. Chancellor Frank Ayers presented the awards.
The honorees included John Olsen*, who was recognized as an Honorary Alumnus of Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus. In the 1970s, Olsen served as an adviser to then-President Jack Hunt and advocate for the creation of Embry-Riddle’s Arizona campus. His encouragement and support as a Yavapai County Supervisor, and later as a member of Embry-Riddle’s Board of Trustees, provided a foundation in the Prescott community that allowed the university to expand and thrive. A longtime pilot and aviation enthusiast, Olsen helped grow Embry-Riddle’s reputation statewide and nationally. A regular donor to the university, he has also served as a member of the Prescott Campus Board of Visitors since 2001.
The dinner also marked the induction of four alumni into the Prescott Chancellor’s Alumni Hall of Fame, which recognizes the contributions of alumni to their profession, the community, the campus and the university. The 2016 inductees are:
Cheryl Giuffre (’84), a senior structural analysis engineer at The Boeing Company, has 32 years of experience in structures engineering. She has worked on many Boeing aircraft in initial product development, design, testing, certification and fleet support. Giuffre is a member of the inaugural Aeronautical Engineering graduating class at the Prescott Campus.
Raymond Jancso Jr. (’91), manager of Crew Travel Services at FedEx Express, has worked for FedEx for 28 years. He has oversight of acquisition and execution of ground transportation, hotel and inflight catering services for FedEx flights worldwide. He spent his sophomore year of university study at FedEx on a cooperative education assignment. He now actively recruits Prescott Campus students for the same co-op assignment, mentoring them as they gain experience working in an airline operations environment.
Lt. Col. Aaron Jelinek (’01) is commander of the 56th Operations Support Squadron at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. He has held multiple operational assignments in the Pacific Air Forces and Air Combat Command, including being the lead, solo pilot of the demonstration squadron: the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds. Jelinek is a senior pilot with more than 2,200 flight hours, including more than 230 combat hours during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also served as a Department of Defense Legislative Fellow on Capitol Hill.
Lt. Col. J.R. Williams (’01) is commander of the 124th Operations Support Squadron for the Idaho Air National Guard. He flew four different fighter aircraft during his Air Force career and served as an F-16C demonstration pilot and instructor pilot for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Williams is a senior pilot with more than 2,800 flight hours, including more than 400 combat hours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve. He transitioned from active duty to the Idaho Air National Guard in 2013 and was hired by Delta Air Lines as a first officer in 2014.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: We are deeply saddened to report our dear friend John Olsen passed away March 19, 2017. See related story: Remembering John Olsen.