Retired Air Force Colonel Kurt Leslie Joins Hallmark University as Dean of College of Aeronautics
Hallmark University was proud to appoint retired Air Force Colonel Kurt Leslie as the new Dean for the College of Aeronautics. Kurt’s role as the new Dean includes the oversight of all programs and to provide students with the training and skills needed to begin a career as a licensed A&P Technician.
Kurt served in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard for 38 years and accumulated over 23 years of command experience. He joined the military shortly after graduating from High School and served as an enlisted member for 15 years in the role of crew chief on various fighter aircraft such as the F-15 Eagle, the A-10 Warthog, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-4 Phantom and was an instructor on the T-38 Talon. He received his commission as an officer in the Air National Guard in 1995 and served in many roles at the unit, state, and national level. Before retiring to join Hallmark University, Kurt served as the Maintenance Chair of the Combat Air Forces Advisory Committee for the Air National Guard which advised the Director of the Air National Guard on readiness issues. The defining moment of his career was during his time as the Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander in Houston during September 11th, 2001 while assigned to the 147th Fighter Wing.
“You never know when your moment is really going to come, so you have to be ready,” said Kurt Leslie, Dean for the College of Aeronautics. “And in the military, you don’t fail. There simply is no room for second place. When the second plane went into the tower, our alert horns were activated, so we launched two F-16’s fighter aircraft to escort the President of the United States. Our unit escorted the President of the United States to Louisiana, Nebraska and then to Washington D.C. At the same time, we flew Combat Air Patrols over the City of Houston 24/7. We were then tasked to provide Combat Air Patrols over Washington D.C. and New York City. But my proudest moment is not that we were able to successfully execute the mission, it was when we received word from New Yorker’s saying that they knew they were safe when they heard our fighter jets overhead.”
Kurt brings his extensive experience from the Air Force to further enhance the programs offered at the College of Aeronautics, including designing hands-on projects to better mirror the real world aviation environment.
“We have the basics as far as giving students training to where they can take their A&P tests. We want to expand that so we can get more students through because of the insatiable need in the aviation industry. The need is there and we can definitely provide a tremendous product that employers can put to work right away. We also don’t want to just focus on providing a well-trained Aircraft Maintenance Technician, but also a well-rounded person. In my role as a Group Commander in the Air Force… it was my responsibility to ensure that everyone was trained and equipped to do their job. And that’s exactly what this is here, training them to do a job and equipping them to execute it safely.”
Kurt earned a Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, a Bachelor of Science in Human Science from the University of Houston at Clear Lake and an Associates Degree in Aircraft Maintenance Technology form the Community College of the Air Force. Kurt and his wife have twin daughters on track to graduate from college in 2019, and a daughter soon entering High School.