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It isn't everyday that you see a university president don a flight suit—let alone one with a "Blue Angels" emblem on it. Even so, on Wednesday, Sept. 7, Joan Lescinski, CSJ, president of St. Ambrose, did just that and "flew with the Angels."
Piloted by Lt. David Tickle, the Navy Blue Angels' F/A-18 Hornet took President Lescinski to 16,500 feet, "up to but not breaking Mach 1," she says. It was a 45-minute, 5 G (force), "out of this world" experience. "I was thrilled," says President Lescinski.
The opportunity came along when Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Paul Koch nominated her for the Blue Angels "Key Influencer of Young Americans" program. A rigorous testing process led to her selection for this honor.
Having a nephew stationed at the Nebraska air force base where the flight would take place, made the experience all the more special. Her nephew, Army National Guard Major Michael Akins, and two great-nephews, Tyler and Tanner, were on hand to cheer proudly for their courageous aunt. "It was lovely to have my family be a part of this incredible experience," says President Lescinski.
This is not the first time she has flown. At age 50 President Lescinski decided to skydive as a part of her celebration. Recently, she started flight lessons. And now, the Blue Angels. When asked why she considered doing this, President Lescinski has a ready answer. "It was a marvelous opportunity to show the young people at St. Ambrose that you're never too old to try something new."