KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A Western Michigan University alumna has established a $25,000 annual scholarship at her alma mater's College of Aviation to provide an opportunity for a West Michigan Aviation Academy student to earn a bachelor's degree in flight science.

Kelly K. Burris has established The Burris Family Flight Science Scholarship, which provides $25,000 per year for a term of four years for a WMAA student who meets the scholarship criteria to pursue a flight science degree at WMU. Burris is managing shareholder of the Detroit office of the law firm Brinks, Gilson & Lione. She also is chair of the firm's Green Technology Practice Group.

"We were delighted to discover the marvelous programs and opportunities being provided at WMAA to students excited about aviation," Burris says of the decision to launch the scholarship initiative. "The students are impressive and well-grounded, and we believe Western Michigan University can provide the critical next steps to launch what promises to be challenging and rewarding careers in aviation for WMAA graduates."

"We are so grateful to Kelly Burris for her enormous generosity," says Dick DeVos, president and founder of the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which is located on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids. "When we started WMAA only five short years ago, our goal was to give more opportunity to more young people. That opportunity has now gone to new heights."

Capt. Dave Powell, dean of the WMU College of Aviation notes there is a longstanding collaborative relationship between his college and WMAA. He expects the new scholarship program to have an impact on the collaboration.

"With the commitment of Kelly Burris for this incredibly generous scholarship, a barrier has been removed for a student from the WMAA who will be able to realize his or her dream to become a professional aviator," Powell says. "The long-standing partnership between the WMAA and WMU has been made even stronger by her generosity and her commitment to aviation education.”

"It never ceases to amaze me the generosity of people when it comes to helping young people accomplish their dreams," says Patrick Cwayna, CEO of WMAA. "What the Burris Family Flight Scholarship will do is give one of our WMAA students the opportunity to literally soar to a career that otherwise may not be possible. We are so grateful to Kelly and her family and to Western Michigan University for making this happen.