Alumni & Friends | UND Aerospace

John Odegard & Ernie Fox
Alumni & Friends

UND Aerospace Hall of Fame Class of 2018

1985 UND Flying Team

1985 UND Flying Team

The University of North Dakota's involvement with the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) predates the department of aviation. The UND Flying Club, spearheaded by John Odegard, began competing at the National Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) in 1966. It was at this national event of collegiate aviation programs where Odegard networked with individuals and gained access to curriculum that would serve as the basis of what was later approved to start the aviation program at UND.

It took nearly 20 years of competing at the National SAFECON for UND to secure a National Championship. In 1985, Coach Kent Lovelace led his team to an astounding victory over the rival teams. Winning this competition on the national stage propelled UND's aviation program to be considered a leader in collegiate aviation. The first victory started an unmatched period of success with UND winning seven consecutive national championships from 1985 through 1991. UND elevated the level of competition for the nation that continues to this day. The success of the 1985 National Championship Flying Team helped shape the future of aviation education and prominence at UND today.

Kent Lovelace, Coach

Robert Beckner, Assistant Coach

Phillip Hein, Assistant Coach

Joe Johnson, John Caturina, Rob Geisler, William Ward, Timothy Kutchera, Charlie Kalvoda, Bill Schuelter, Rod Reynolds, Steve Church, Grant Smith

Karen Ruth

Karen Ruth


University of North Dakota, 1982
Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Studies and Geography, Minor in Atmospheric Sciences

Career Experience

2008-present: Delta Airlines
Captain, Line Check Airman, In Command Leadership Instructor, Pilot Interviewer, Delta Brand Ambassador

1986-2008: Northwest Airlines
Captain, First Officer, Pilot Interviewer

1985-1986: Republic Airlines
First Officer

1980-1983: University of North Dakota
Flight Instructor

Career Accomplishments

To date, Karen has flown over 23,000 flight hours and has type ratings in the DC-9, A320, and A330

Only pilot to receive both the prestigious Delta's Chairmen's Club award and the Northwest Airlines President's Club honor

Chosen to fly the delivery flight of Delta's first A330 from France to the United States

Mentored hundreds of young people interested in aviation careers

Founding member of UND's MACH group

Roger Martin

Roger Martin


University of North Dakota, 1973
Bachelor of Science in Aviation Administration

Wichita State University
Master's in Business Administration

Career Experience

1974-2010: Cessna
Director of Marketing Operations, Director of Propeller Marketing and Distribution Planning, Manager of Business Development, Manager of Client Relations, Citation Regional Sales Manager, Manager of Sales and Administration, Transportation Analyst

Career Accomplishments

Cessna Hangar 10, increase student pilot starts

Member of the initial management team that successfully built and launched Cessna's Conquest Marketing Division

Member of the initial management team that successfully launched the Company Airline Program, an innovative turnkey leave program, new to the aviation industry

Charter member of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences Aviation Alumni Advisory Board

Primary liaison between Cessna and author Jeffrey L. Rodengen in writing and publishing the book The Legend of Cessna

Upcoming Events

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 July 22-28, 2019 Connect with UND Aerospace at our Alumni & Industry Reception

Check out the UND Alumni Foundation for more events, news, and giving opportunities.