Donor Stories

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Graduates and friends support the Air Force Academy for a variety of personal reasons. When they include the Academy as part of their estate planning, they help ensure others are able to have similar experiences, impacting cadets for years to come.


Jerry Smith ’62

When Jerry Smith ’62 read how his classmate and respected friend, Jack Swonson ’62, encourages the creation of a “Mack Truck Book” to enable surviving spouses and heirs to smoothly handle all the complexities of modern life, he took action.

Jack Kucera ’78

A business challenge for Jack Kucera ’78 became a terrific philanthropic opportunity for the United States Air Force Academy Endowment.

Fred Olmsted '64

As a former fighter pilot who survived 300 combat missions in Southeast Asia, Fred Olmsted ’64 finds pleasure in giving back to the Air Force Academy. It trained him well.

Jack Swonson '62

When Jack Swonson '62 made some recent changes to his estate plans, he took it a step further, developing a thick, loose-leaf binder he calls his Mack Truck Book.

Max James ’64

Max James ’64 and his family have maintained a long and deep association with the Academy ever since the Tennessee native became a Zoomie. Some of his helicopter rescues during his Southeast Asia combat tours were fellow grads, which was personally very rewarding

Ivan Perry ’05

“The Air Force Academy was one of the best things to happen to me,” says Ivan. “it prepared me well for the rigors of serving in the heavy-combat zones, and now in my civilian career I am constantly drawing on the leadership and academic attributes I learned during my four Academy years.”

Jerry Roberts ’65

Jerry Roberts is quick to acknowledge that the Air Force Academy was a shaping force in his life, from the moment he arrived in the summer of 1961.

Lisa (Preston) Schmidt ’88

When Lisa (Preston) Schmidt arrived at the Air Force Academy in 1984 she already possessed her private pilot’s license. In fact, she had it before her driver’s license. “I was excited to attend USAFA knowing that I could only begin to fathom the unexpected places, geographically and figuratively, it would take me,” says the Long Island native.

Jim Shumate ’79

Recently Jim Shumate redrew his estate plans, and there is now a provision in his will to benefit the Air Force Academy. The 1979 graduate resides in Colorado Springs where he retired from active service as a Colonel in 2004.

2016 Annual Report showcases impact

The 2016 USAFA Endowment Annual Report highlights the impact nearly 8,500 donors had on the U.S. Air Force Academy during the year and into the future.