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Source: Dixie Schierlman, 785-826-2643,
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642,

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009


SALINA -- Two Kansas State University at Salina students have been selected to receive the Cessna Leadership Scholarship: one from the professional pilot program and one in the aviation maintenance program.

Justin McKnight, senior in aviation maintenance, Lindsborg, is receiving a $2,000 scholarship. Distributed over the next two years, the scholarship can be used for tuition or to obtain flight ratings.

Samantha Scharff, senior in professional pilot, Halstead, is receiving a $3,000 scholarship. It will be used to complete some flight training in K-State at Salina's King Air as well as earn co-pilot time in the King Air or the university's CitationJet.

The scholarships are made possible by a gift from The Cessna Foundation Inc. to the Kansas State University Foundation's Changing Lives Campaign. The Cessna Foundation is a private foundation that makes contributions on behalf of the Cessna Aircraft Company, a Wichita-based manufacturer of general aviation aircraft. The foundation has contributed more than $20 million to nonprofit organizations since it was incorporated in 1952.

"In order for the aviation companies in the United States to continue to produce the best general aviation aircraft in the world, we need to bring young people into the industry who have the necessary skills and the passion to maintain that leadership," said Jack Pelton, president of the Cessna Foundation. "We believe the quality of the aviation programs at K-State at Salina will produce the kind of future leaders our industry needs."