Program History

Aviation pilot against the sunset
The Aeronautics Program was founded in 1983 as a separate program within the Davis College of Business, offering two major options: Aviation Management & Flight Operations (AVO) and Aviation Management (AVM). The late Ret. Lieutenant Colonel Curtis Truver led the program through its first decade. During these first ten years, flight training was contracted out to various flight schools operating at Craig Municipal Airport. In 1994, JU hired Dr. Juan Merkt, the program’s second director. Under his leadership JU established a unique partnership in 1996 with Comair Aviation Academy (now L3 Airline Academy) to bring airline-oriented flight training to the program. During this second decade the program grew to over 200 students, becoming one of the largest traditional undergraduate programs at JU. In the Spring 2007, the Aeronautics Program became the Division of Aeronautics, one of three academic divisions within the Davis College of Business. In 2008, both aviation degree majors (AVO and AVM) earned initial accreditation by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). Later that same year, the FAA approved Jacksonville University to offer Air Traffic Control as a career track under the Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI).​​​​​ In 2015, the department underwent another name change to the School of Aviation to realigned to better fit the University's vision. ​