LeTourneau University announced today that its new facility at
East Texas Regional Airport will be named The Paul and Betty Abbott Aviation Center.
“Every institution has a few people who embody the mission and
vision of the organization,” said LETU President Dale A. Lunsford. “Paul and Betty Abbott are just
such people. Their actions, their commitment of time and resources, and t heir godly character
make an eternal impact for Christ—all of which make 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.”
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. The company also installs and tests engines in addition to providing parts to
customers all over the world. 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
financial support 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
he 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.
Beyond their contributions, the Abbotts have shown themselves to
be people of good character and devotion to God. They participate in significant, yet humble,
ways in the life of their church and in the life of their community in Eastern Central
Oklahoma. They have also supported mission aviation efforts worldwide through specialized
training, offered to missionaries responsible to maintain the PT-6 aircraft engines.
With the help of friends like the Abbotts, incredible gains have
been made in LETU’s 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.
LeTourneau University’s new 53,000-square-foot facility will open
in August to offer all aspects of the training and education provided by the LETU School of
Aeronautical Science. Students majoring in aviation studies at LETU can earn degrees in flight,
aircraft systems maintenance and air traffic control. This fall marks the first time in
nearly six decades that the entire aviation school will be housed in one location.
“Attending LeTourneau helped me to grow spiritually and
academically,” Paul Abbott said. “I believe that LeTourneau helped build my character and I
appreciated the way the instructors took a special interest in each student. The devotional at the
beginning of each class was not only an encouragement, but it also helped prepare us to learn
during our class time. I believe God owns everything we have, and we are here to manage it for
Christ and not ourselves.”