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David Franson
January 28, 2014

Wichita Aero Club Announces New Scholarship Honoring Former Cessna PR Chief Dean Humphrey

The Wichita Aero Club (WAC) announced at its annual Trophy Gala on Saturday evening, January 25 that it is creating a scholarship for college or post graduate students in honor of former Cessna Public Relations Chief Dean Humphrey. The scholarship is the second created by the WAC and targeted at students who aspire to a career in aviation. The Aero Club’s other scholarship, named for former General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and International Civil Aviation Organization Ambassador Edward W. Stimpson, also provides financial assistance to college students who have declared a major or established a career path for a broad range of disciplines within the aerospace industry.

“The Wichita Aero Club Dean Humphrey Scholarship will not only honor Dean’s memory but is designed to support students who wish to follow his example into communications, administrative or other non-technical roles in aviation-related organizations,” said Dave Franson, President of the Wichita Aero Club. .”It especially fitting that it was unveiled at the fourth annual Wichita Aero Club Trophy Gala which honored Cessna Aircraft Company Chairman Emeritus Russ Meyer because Russ and Dean were colleagues and great friends throughout their time together at Cessna.”

“Dean was an exceptional communicator…and a valued friend and mentor to me when I worked for him at Cessna in the 1970’s,” Franson added. “He set the standard by which communicators in our industry were measured and it’s very gratifying to be able to honor his memory in this way. Our Education Committee will work with the Wichita Community Foundation to create the application and disseminate information on this award during the next few months and we will announce the first winner at the annual NBAA Convention in October. Like the WAC’s Ed Stimpson scholarship, the initial Dean Humphrey award will provide $2,000 to the recipient. Our intention is to increase both the amount and frequency of both these scholarships as time goes on,” he concluded. The Wichita Trophy Gala and the annual WAC Golf Classic are held each year to grow the Club’s scholarship fund.

Born in Topeka, Kansas Dean Humphrey graduated from Holton High School. His resume included serving as the Vice President of Public Relations for Cessna Aircraft Company, and as spokesperson for King Radio before that. Earlier in his career, he earned rave reviews as a broadcaster on both radio and television for KCMO in Kansas City. Four years in the Air Force and a journalism degree from Kansas University also helped shape him. But, those impressive credentials and his deep, distinctive voice aside, what made Dean outstanding was the way he made people comfortable around him. Whether dealing with inquisitive and even aggressive journalists, aircraft customers, elected officials, or helping to put on the Citation Special Olympics Airlift, Dean utilized creativity, disarming humor and attentiveness to put people at ease. He had a scholar’s grasp of the language and vocabulary, but he was a master at conveying facts in an efficient and understandable way that engendered well-deserved trust. When it came to representing his company, sharing information, or organizing the response to any situation, no one did it better than Dean. When he retired from Cessna in 1993 he was honored with the National Business Aviation Association’s Order of the Silk Scarf, presented for significant contributions to general aviation.

The Wichita Aero Club was established in 2008 to foster and promote interest in aviation, provide a forum focused on the industry’s issues and achievements and bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships and furthers cooperation and understanding. One of its primary goals is to encourage education, training and career development in aviation.

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