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Alumni "Flying High" with Careers in Aviation
June 5, 2009

Contact: Mike Vivion, chief pilot, 218-281-8114 (; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (

Two alumni passionate about flying are enjoying varied careers in the field of aviation. Using the skills they attained as students at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, these two have successful careers in the exciting field of aviation.

Captain Perry Shermerhorn, '79, in the cockpit of an Ag Cat.
Captain Perry Schermerhorn, '79, in the cockpit of an Ag Cat.
Captain Perry Schermerhorn, a 1979 graduate of the U of M, Crookston’s agricultural aviation program, returned to Crookston recently to fly as an aerial applicator for a local operator.  Schermerhorn is a Boeing 737 Captain for Alaska Airlines, based in Seattle, Washington.  The last two years, he has come back to his roots, so to speak, taken leave from the airline and come back to Crookston to fly a Grumman Ag Cat spray plane. 

Jeff Bardwell, ex. '99, earned his commercial license while at the U of M, Crookston. He flies a Douglas DC-3 T, a late thirties, early forties airplane, that has been upgraded with modern turbine engines.  Bardwell works for the US Forest Service, and the DC 3 is used as a jump ship and paracargo ship in support of the FS Smokejumper program.
Jeff Bardwell, ex. 99, flies a Douglas DC-3 T.
Jeff Bardwell, ex. 99, flies a Douglas DC-3 T.

Aviation students at the U of M, Crookston have a number of program options to consider including law enforcement aviation, agricultural aviation, natural resources aviation, and business aviation management. To learn more, visit the avaition degree program.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. To learn more, visit