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Willamette Alumnus Inducted into Oregon Aviation Hall of Fame

Former U.S. Rep. Denny Smith '61 is one of six new inductees into the Oregon Aviation Hall of Fame.

He was honored recently at a ceremony at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Ore.

The hall of fame recognizes Oregon's finest in aviation - men and women who have made important contributions to aviation and airpower in all fields, including military, civilian, engineering, business, education and government.

Smith, who majored in political science at Willamette, has been a pilot for more than 50 years. He served in both the U.S. Air Force and the Oregon Air National Guard, flying nearly 200 combat missions in Vietnam. He was awarded an Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters and ended his military service at the rank of Captain.

He continued in civil aviation as a co-pilot and flight engineer for 10 years for the commercial airline Pan American. From 1981-91, he served Oregon in the U.S. House of Representatives, first for the 2nd district and then for the newly created 5th district. He also was the Republican nominee for governor in 1994.

Smith served on many committees related to the military and veterans affairs, and he is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Aviation Forum. He currently owns Sun Quest Executive Air Charter and serves on the board of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.

He also is chairman of the board of Eagle Newspapers, a community of newspapers and other publications throughout the Pacific Northwest, and he serves on Willamette's Atkinson Graduate School of Management advisory board.