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New Bachelor of Science in “Aviation Management – Professional Pilot” takes flight at Saint Vincent College

New Bachelor of Science in “Aviation Management – Professional Pilot” takes flight at Saint Vincent College

by Public Relations | January 17, 2024

LATROBE, PA — Saint Vincent College is proud to introduce its groundbreaking Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management – Professional Pilot program. This unique initiative, developed in collaboration with the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) and Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy, seamlessly integrates a pilot's license, an associate's degree from CCBC and a bachelor's degree from Saint Vincent within a four-year timeframe.Airport-Photo-Edit.jpg

The primary objective of the program is to enable students to earn their professional pilot’s license while receiving a well-rounded business education. Graduates will be prepared for diverse aviation roles and potential administrative positions in aviation and other industries.

“We are excited to add Aviation Management to our academic offerings, beginning in fall of 2024,” said Rev. Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., Saint Vincent College President. “This program will help our students prepare for successful careers and can provide economic benefits for our entire region. Our graduates, also classically trained in the liberal arts and the Benedictine tradition, will bring discernment, values, ethics and critical thinking to their responsibility as pilots for the lives and care of their passengers. We’re grateful to our partners at the Community College of Beaver County and Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy for their cooperation and support.”

With an anticipated 50 percent decrease in pilots over the next 15 years due to retirements, the program will play a crucial role in training new pilots to sustain air and commercial travel. Students will gain the skills needed for piloting and also will be trained in a broad base of business disciplines, preparing them for various organizational and administrative roles.

Saint Vincent College has established a robust three-legged partnership to ensure the success of the program. Saint Vincent will deliver the business curriculum, which will encompass the core functional areas crucial to any degree in business as well as Saint Vincent College’s unique College Core based on the Liberal Arts. Saint Vincent will also oversee admissions and financial aid for all students enrolled in the program.

CCBC will deliver the aviation-focused course components of the program in a flexible online format, allowing students enrolled in the program to earn an associate’s degree in Professional Pilot or Advanced Piloting from CCBC. The Laurel Highlands Aeronautical Academy will offer the necessary flight hours and in-air training required for the pilot's license. These flight hours will be provided at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, ensuring that students receive hands-on, practical experience in immediate proximity to Saint Vincent College to complement their academic learning.

“This unique program provides flexibility, accessibility, and value while developing future aviation leaders and pilots,” said John Higgs, senior dean and dean of the James M. Johnson School of Aviation Sciences at CCBC. “CCBC’s globally known Aviation programs have placed a professional pilot in the cockpit of every major airline in the United States and an air-traffic controller in every FAA control tower in the country. We are excited to see this program soar!”

The program will feature two specialized tracks: professional pilot and advanced piloting. The professional pilot specialization is tailored for new students without existing flight hours, preparing them for various commercial roles such as sightseeing tours, flight instruction, and charter flights. The advanced piloting track is designed for students who already have some flight experience, offering an expedited path to degree completion.

According to Dr. Michael Urick, dean of the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government at Saint Vincent College, “This program is a game changer for the region and can be an economic driver for Latrobe and beyond. It’s innovative in its approach to blending business and piloting and, as such, is really the first in this region. Students will benefit from Saint Vincent’s strong business curriculum and college core while living in our dorms, which are basically across the street from the airport where they will earn flight hours. All the while, they will be taking online courses through CCBC, which has a national reputation for exceptional aviation education. This program is a win for our students and a win for the region.”

The College's partnership with Arnold Palmer Regional Airport emphasizes collaboration for mutual economic benefit, contributing to regional growth.

"I am thrilled to partner with St. Vincent College to help their students in their endeavors to pursue their preparation for the aviation industry,” said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority. “Our shared vision to develop aviation leaders to fill the coming voids in the aviation industry makes this a powerful partnership."

Saint Vincent College has a rich history of pioneering aviation education. It offered the world's first collegiate piloting program in 1928, using the college’s own biplane, the “Spirit of Saint Vincent.” In 1919, U.S.Army pilots, sought refuge from a storm at Saint Vincent during airmail route surveys. They landed on a field where Rooney Hall dormitory now stands, and were welcomed by the Benedictine monks to wait out the storm in the monastery.

For more information about the Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management – Professional Pilot program, contact


About Saint Vincent College

Saint Vincent College is an educational community rooted in the tradition of the Catholic faith, the heritage of Benedictine monasticism, and the love of values inherent in the liberal approach to life and learning. Its mission is to provide quality undergraduate and graduate education for men and women, enabling them to integrate their professional aims with the broader purposes of human life. The programs, activities, and encounters that make up student life at Saint Vincent College encourage the intellectual gifts, professional aptitudes and personal aspirations of students to mature harmoniously.


ATTACHMENT: View the program fact sheet