During a ceremony on Sept. 16, Lt. Col. James Rutledge, associate professor of aerospace engineering and senior military faculty, adjusts the hood of his student, Lt. Col. Matthew Fuqua, as Fuqua receives his Doctor of Philosophy in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. (U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez)
The Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management held a ceremony Sept. 16 to celebrate 17 students earning doctoral degrees.
The newly minted PhD’s join a group of more than 960 other AFIT doctoral alumni.
“Today represents the culmination of a long effort involving classes, seminars, laboratory work, writing, rewriting, and dissertation defenses,” said Dr. Walter Jones, AFIT director and chancellor, who acknowledged the difficult circumstances students endured to complete their studies, including limited campus access due to COVID-19 restrictions. “You have come through all of these challenges, and I would argue: If you can overcome these challenges, you can do just about anything.
“AFIT has offered you a doctoral program filled with technical knowledge on par with any civilian institution you could find. We count on you going forward to take the technical skills you acquired here at AFIT and to use them to push for innovative solutions to the most difficult national security problems facing the military today and in the future. It won’t be easy, but I know that you, our graduates, can be the agents of change in our Department of Defense that we so desperately need.”
Col. James Fee, the Graduate School of Engineering and Management’s associate dean, thanked the faculty for its efforts to help students complete their programs and congratulated the graduates.
“Having gone through the program at AFIT myself, I know the pain that you endured to get here,” he quipped. “Congratulations on getting to the finish line today!”
During the ceremony, the students wore doctoral academic regalia that included a gown with three bars in velvet material on each sleeve and a cap with a golden tassel.
In addition to their diploma, the graduates also received an academic hood from their advisor. The 4-foot long hood is lined with AFIT’s colors of royal blue and bright gold.
The doctoral graduates who participated in the ceremony were: