Dear LeTourneau Nation:
It is with great pride and respect that I announce LETU’s new facility at East Texas Regional Airport will be named The Paul and Betty Abbott Aviation Center.
Paul and Betty Abbott of Okmulgee, Okla., have been involved in the life of the university since the late 1960s when Paul was a student. He graduated in 1971 with a degree in Aviation Technology. Today, they own Covington Aircraft Engines, Inc., a world leader in aircraft engine overhaul and repair, specializing in Pratt & Whitney radial and turbine engines. Their character is clearly evident in the way they conduct their business, providing opportunities for their employees to come to know Christ and grow spiritually through regular chapel services, offered in much the same way that LETU founder R.G. LeTourneau did in his day.
Paul and Betty Abbott have consistently and generously contributed to efforts at LETU such as the Marty Donner Engine Test Facility, NIFA student flight competitions and scholarships for students, including those pursuing careers in mission aviation. The Abbotts also contributed aircraft engines and parts for use by LETU’s School of Aeronautical Science. Paul has participated in a real and substantial way on the Aeronautical Science Advisory Committee, serving as an inaugural member and as its chairman. He has offered his expertise to the university by providing Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engine training to the university’s turbine engine instructor. Also, with Betty’s support, Paul has made even a broader impact on the university by serving as a trustee since 2002.
With the help of LETU friends like the Abbotts, incredible gains have been made in the aviation programs. LETU graduates have long made a difference in mission organizations, airlines, and in corporate travel around the world. In the past few years, LETU has increased the breadth of its programs with new concentrations in mission, marketing, and military aviation. In addition, the FAA has authorized LETU as the first college in Texas to offer an air traffic control program.
Every institution has a few people who embody the mission and vision of the organization. Paul and Betty Abbott are just such people. Their actions, their commitment of time and resources, and their godly character make an eternal impact for Christ, making them the perfect choice for this recognition. Their names and their witness, we believe, will inspire others to give and by doing so inspire students to serve in every workplace and in every nation.
Dale A. Lunsford, Ph.D.