Louis C. Seno Jr., Vice President for Corporate Relations and Government Affairs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and his wife Christine have announced they will donate his late father’s Corben Junior Ace aircraft for display at West Michigan Aviation Academy (WMAA), along with a $150,000 long-term pledge in scholarship support for WMAA graduates attending Embry-Riddle.
As the children of aviators and World War II veterans, Christine and Lou Seno wanted to establish a special legacy for WMAA, a tuition-free public charter high school located in Grand Rapids, Mich. This partnership between the Seno family, WMAA and Embry-Riddle unites the power of aviation and education with the importance of sharing history and giving back to future generations.
“Having attended WMAA’s first commencement in June of this year, I was struck that so many parents felt the WMAA experience changed their child’s life,” Seno said. “The aspirations of those parents for their children were the impetus for this scholarship program. Christine and I are pleased to help the next generation reach their dreams.”
When Lou first visited WMAA, its CEO Patrick J. Cwayna Sr. sensed an immediate connection between Seno and the students and mission of the academy. “Since that moment Lou has become not only a friend but a champion of West Michigan Aviation Academy. The incredibly generous gift from Christine and Lou Seno of $150,000 for students to attend Embry-Riddle and the donation of his father’s Corben Junior Ace to be displayed in our commons is an example of their passion for education and aviation. We couldn’t be more grateful.”
Seno recently celebrated 60 consecutive years of attending Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) conventions, now known as AirVenture and based in Oshkosh, Wis. He shared a love of flying and aircraft construction with his father, Louis Seno Sr., encouraged by EAA Founder Paul H. Poberezny. While accruing 12,000 flight hours between them, Seno and his father built and restored several aircraft, including the Corben Junior Ace that’s headed to WMAA. This aircraft, which has a wingspan of 26 feet and weighs less than 1,000 pounds, is special to Seno Jr. During the summer of 1976, his father flew it around the perimeter of the United States in 40 days to commemorate the country’s bicentennial celebration and raise money for cancer research. The aircraft donation will be coupled with a plaque explaining its historical significance.
“Christine and Lou are another great example of the spirit of giving that is still alive and well in West Michigan,” said WMAA Chairman Dick DeVos. “Their passion for kids, for education and for aviation are all reflected in this amazing gift. Lives will indeed be changed as a result of their generosity, and WMAA will now be able to offer our graduates even more expansive opportunities.”
In addition to his leadership role at Embry-Riddle, Seno is Chairman Emeritus of Jet Support Services Inc. (JSSI) and serves on the boards of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA) and Duncan Aviation.
About West Michigan Aviation Academy
Founded by aviation enthusiast and education leader Dick DeVos at the urging of his wife Betsy, the WMAA opened its doors in fall 2010, welcoming 80 freshmen to a 25,000-sq.-ft. renovated office space that serves as the only academic building at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. For more information, go to www.westmichiganaviation.org.