Awards + Accolades
The United States Air Force Academy is a world-class university. Our standards of excellence yield numerous awards and honors for the Academy and for our graduates.
Current College Rankings
According to US News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges 2015,” the United States Air Force Academy is:
- #2 in Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering, for the 13th consecutive year
- Tied for #5 in Undergraduate Engineering with the US Naval Academy
- #4 in Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering
- #5 in Mechanical Engineering
These rankings categorize the Air Force Academy as a liberal arts college, and high school counselors ranked the Air Force Academy third best liberal arts college in the nation.
Other achievements of note include:
- Rated top 2% of “Most Accessible Faculty” for each of the past 7 years (#1 five time) by the Princeton Review
- 37 Rhodes Scholarship Recipients
- 14 Marshall Scholarship Recipients
- 16 Truman Scholarships Recipients
The Academy is revered for excellence in academics. Our faculty evinces our academic standards, and our cadets are mentored by their example.
- Professor of the Year, Colorado — 6 of the past 7 years
- 2009 von Kàrmàn Lectureship in Astronautics: Mr. William Saylor (DFAS)
- Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology: Dr. Russ Cummings (DFAN)
- AF Nomination, Arthur S. Flemming Award: Capt Luke Sauter (DFAS)
- McLucas Basic Research Award (Honorable Mention): Lt Col Leeman Baird (DFCS)
- Women’s History Month Science, Tech, Engineering and Math Role Model Award: Lt Col Lynnane George (DFAS)
- McLucas Basic Research Award (Honorable Mention): Prof Randy Knize (DFP)
- Richard G. Cross Award (Operations Analyst): Capt Susan Bettison (DFMS)
- Pi Mu Epsilon Faculty Award: Dr Michelle Ghrist (DFMS)
- Judge Advocates Association Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney Award: Lt Col James M. Durant III (DFL)
- General Counsel’s Award for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) (Individual): Lt Col Pamela Perry (DFL)
- AF nom, DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award: Dr. John S. Wilkes (DFC)
- Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowship: David Boyd (DFF)
- ACM Distinguished Scientist/Engineer/Member Award: Dr. Don Kraft (DFCS)
Student Academic Achievements
- FALCON-SAT3: Only undergraduate built/operated satellite in the world
- FALCON-LAUNCH7: Two-stage rocket reached 354k ft — a record for an undergraduate rocket
An average of 6 – 8 % of Academy graduates receive prestigious graduate scholarships every year. Scholarship achievements include:
- Olmsted (76)
- NCAA (51)
- Fullbright Hayes (38)
- Hertz (37)
- Rhodes (36)
- Truman (16)
- Marshall (11)
- Alberta Holiday (7)
The Academy opens a world of opportunity for our graduates. Our cadets go on to do great things for our nation — and each individual path is different.
- Members of Congress: 1 (Rep Heather Wilson ’82 from New Mexico)
- Number of Chiefs of Staff of the United States Air Force (CSAF): 3 (Gen Ronald R. Fogelman ’63; Gen Michael E. Ryan ’65; and Gen Norton A. Schwartz ’73)
- Number of General Officers: 549
- Number of astronauts: 37
- Number of Chief Executive Officers: more than 700
- Number of Doctors: more than 600
- Grads in Medical School from Class 2010: 11 went to Medical School, and 1 went to Nursing School
Athletics are a central part of the Academy experience. Our athletic record shows our commitment to excellence in sport.
- Cadet-athletes have earned 69 NCAA post-graduate scholarships, the second-most nationally in Division I athletics.
- Cadet-athletes have earned 11 Rhodes Scholarships, the most recent being Brittany Morreale in 2009 (cross country).
- Cadet-athletes have earned more than $300,000 in post-graduate scholarships in the last 15 years.
- Team Accomplishments
- The Air Force football team won the 2015 Mountain West Conference Mountain Division championship and played in its first ever Mountain West championship game. Air Force finished 8-6 overall and posted a 6-2 conference record. Air Force qualified for its eighth bowl game in the last nine seasons and its 25th overall. Air Force took on Pac-12 member California in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. Air Force was 6-0 at home for the second consecutive season. The team has a school-record 12-game home winning streak dating back to 2014. Air Force’s 12 home wins in two seasons are a school record, breaking the mark of 11 set in 1997-98. Air Force had seven players named to the all-Mountain West football team. Senior defensive lineman Alex Hansen and senior offensive lineman Sevrin Remmo, along with junior defensive backs Weston Steelhammer and Roland Ladipo were selected to the first team. Senior offensive lineman A.J. Ruechel was a second-team selection while junior running back Jacobi Owens and junior receiver Jalen Robinette were named honorable mention.
- The Air Force football team earned a school record fifth consecutive bowl invitation in 2011 as the team played in the Military Bowl in Washington D.C. Head Coach Troy Calhoun is the first coach in school history to take his team to post-season bowl five straight years. The Academy was 7-6 in 2011 and won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy with victories over Army and Navy for the second straight year.
- The ice hockey team has won the Atlantic Hockey Association championship and competed in the NCAA tournament four of the last five years (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011). The falcons advanced to the Elite Eight in 2009, just one game away from the Frozen Four, and set a new school record with 28 wins. The team has posted five consecutive winning seasons, tying the school record, including a 20-12-6 overall mark in 2010-2011. Air Force is 1-4 all-time NCAA tournament, with all four losses being by one goal, including two in overtime and one in double overtime. The Class of 2011 set a new school record with 85 wins in four seasons.
- The boxing team earned its sixth consecutive National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) national championship from 1999-2004 and has finished lower than second just three times in 30 years. Air Force has won the NCBA regional title during 31 of the last 32 years, while accounting for 105 individual NCBA national champions and 297 NCBA All-American honorees.
- The men’s basketball team earned its sixth postseason tournament appearance in program history by playing in the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament in 2011. The Falcons defeated North Dakota in the first round, then lost to eventual champions Santa Clara in the second round. The Academy is now 4-6 overall in postseason tournament play. The Falcons have reached the post season four of the past nine years with NCAA appearances in 2004 and 2006 and an invitation to the NIT in 2007. The men’s basketball team won its first conference championship in 2004, finishing 12-2 in conference play and advanced to its first NCAA tournament in 42 years. Air Force earned its second NCAA tournament appearance in three years in 2006, finishing second in the conference and posting 24 wins. The following season they finished third in the conference and advanced to the NIT. After winning three straight NIT home games, the team advanced to the NIT final four and ended the season with a school record 26 wins.
- The men’s golf team has won 14 consecutive Service Academy Classic tournaments, a military academy tournament featuring Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Merchant Marine academies.
- The women’s basketball team won its opening round game at the 2011 Mountain West Conference Championships, defeating Colorado State 66-63. The Falcons became the first nine seed in tournament history to post a win over a four seed.
- The men’s gymnastics team won its second straight USAG title in 2011, claiming three individual USAG national champions. The men, who also defeated Army and Navy at the All-Academy Championships for the first time in over 10 years, qualified as a team to the NCAA Championships – the first time since 1998 that the Falcons have sent a full squad to the national championship meet.
- The women’s gymnastics team tallied its highest score in seven years during the 2011 regular season finale. The Falcons finished second at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, advancing to the team finals of the USAG Championships for the first time since 2002.
- The women’s cross country team finished fourth at the Mountain West Cross Country Championships in 2011.
- The fencing team has sent 74 individuals and two teams to the NCAA Fencing National Championship. In 2011 they send four athletes to the NCAA Championships, two fencers earned All-American status.
- The lacrosse team posted its first ever victory over Army in 2010, defeating the eventual NCAA tournament participant 8-7 in overtime at the Academy.
- The men’s soccer team posted its first winning season since 2003 with a 12-6-2 record in 2011. The Falcons finished third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (5-3-2) and won its first conference tournament game since 2003. Air Force, which won the Pittsburgh Tournament early in the season, finished 25th in the country with 36 goals.
- Men’s track and field claimed their best-ever finish at the Mountain West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships in 2011, placing second.
- The Academy has produced 178 individual national champions, the most recent being fencer Seth Kelsey in the epee in 2003 and track and field star Dana Pounds in the javelin in 2005 and 2006.
- Chad Hennings was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006, joining Brock Strom from the Academy.
- Cross Country runner Brittany Morreale was awarded one of 32 Rhodes Scholarships for 2009-10, becoming the 11th Air Force athlete to earn the honor.
- Katherine Ward became the first female to earn all-conference and all-region honors since 2005.
- Sophomore running back Asher Clark was named the Air Force Armed Forces Bowl most valuable player as the Falcons defeated Houston, 47-20, to win the bowl game. Clark rushed for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns to earn the honor.
- Senior hockey player Matt Fairchild was honored with an NCAA Sportsmanship Award in 2009 for his unselfish act of giving his conference tournament MVP honor to a teammate, who he felt deserved the award.
- Volleyball player Carolina Kurtz was named to ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic all-district 3rd team in 2009.
- Senior soccer player Roni Yadlin earned a Sportswoman of Colorado Award and also earned CoSIDA all-district honors for her efforts on and off the field. She also earned a post-graduate scholarship to Oxford.
- Football player Ryan Harrison was a semifinalist for the 2008 Lou Groza National Placekicker Award.
- Former tennis player Shannon Buck, class of 2006, was named to the Mountain West Conference’s 10th Anniversary Team in the spring of 2009.
- Football player Tim Jefferson was named Mountain West Conference freshman of the year in 2008, becoming the first Falcon to ever earn the award.
- Sophomore Peter French was named the Mountain West Conference Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award recipient for 2007-08. The award is given annually to an athlete that distinguishes themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior.
- Men’s basketball player Tim Anderson was named the Mountain West Conference’s defensive player of the year in 2008. He is the first Falcon to ever win the award.
- Sophomore diver Kyle Van Valkenburg won the individual title in platform diving at the 2008 MWC championships.
- Women’s gymnast Abbey Rogers was name co-gymnast of the year by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The junior is the first-ever Falcon to earn the award.
- Men’s swimmer Chris Knaute (class of 2007) and women’s diver Sarah Law (class of 2003) were both named to the Mountain West Conference 10th Anniversary team.
- Senior Daniel Trapani was the Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award recipient in 2011.
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