Record gift to support new aviation program

May 17, 2023 ― DALLAS ― Sometimes, the sky isn’t the limit. It’s the goal.

The Texas Woman’s University System Board of Regents today accepted a record $15 million gift from the Doswell Foundation that will lay the groundwork for a new aviation program aimed at addressing an industry-wide pilot shortage and giving greater access to one of its most underrepresented groups: women.

After officially accepting the gift, regents also authorized naming the newly established program the Doswell School of Aeronautical Sciences. It is expected to begin enrolling students in fall 2024, with cohorts of approximately 25 students each year.

The university is seeking authorization from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to offer a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Sciences with two tracks: one in professional pilot training and the other in aviation management.

“Texas Woman’s University and the Doswell Foundation recognize that women have been historically underrepresented in aviation and our shared commitment has led to the creation of the Doswell School of Aeronautical Sciences,” said board Chairwoman Stacie McDavid. 

“The Doswell School of Aeronautical Sciences will address this issue of underrepresentation by establishing a new pathway for women to pursue careers in aviation.  On behalf of myself, and the Texas Woman’s University System’s Board of Regents, we are deeply grateful for the Doswell Foundation’s generous gift to our institution. Their partnership and ongoing support will take Texas Woman’s to new heights,” McDavid added.

The Doswell gift is the largest gift ever from a foundation for Texas Woman’s and will provide seed money to hire faculty, equipment and provide scholarships for incoming students. The foundation has had a longtime relationship with Texas Woman’s, and gave its very first gift — $3 million ― to support nursing at the university. Texas Woman’s is seeking partnerships with major airlines and flight training schools to help support the aviation program.

“At Texas Woman’s, we are about creating impactful opportunities for women, which include positions for high-paying jobs and leadership roles. This new program will help us achieve both,” Chancellor Carine Feyten said.

One of the aviation program’s goals is to attract more women into the industry as pilots by reducing cost barriers. Texas Woman’s plans to purchase simulators to defray costs for students. FAA-approved coursework will also allow graduates to apply for a Restricted Airline Transport Pilot Certification upon graduation, reducing the number of flight hours required from 1,500 to 1,000. Graduates can become commercial pilots in less time and with less expense.

Texas Woman’s has a current enrollment of nearly 16,000 students, about 89% of whom are women.

Industry experts have estimated the demand for new civilian pilots will exceed 600,000 over the next 20 years. Currently, women account for roughly 5% of all commercial pilots.

Page last updated 11:14 AM, May 24, 2023