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Never too late to reach for the skies.


Meet Harley Thomas – he’s not your typical grandfather.


This year, the 56-year-old father of six and grandfather of four will complete his online master’s degree in aviation and space through OSU-Stillwater, 12 months after earning his bachelor’s in aerospace administration and operations at OSU-Tulsa.


He wants to give back to the next generation of aviation influencers by teaching at OSU, passing along wisdom he has learned working on B-52 bombers in the Air Force and in his nearly 30-year career as a mechanic for American Airlines. He appreciates the flexible courses offered by OSU, which is allowing him to continue to work full-time while pursuing his master’s degree.


“The OSU aviation department is well-known throughout the industry,” he said. “Aviation is so important to the whole world, and I hope to be able to inspire people to be a part of it.”


Harley is anxious to pursue a doctorate at OSU so he can teach both undergraduate and graduate students. He also wants to get his private pilot license, which he says will help with his teaching.


He is grateful for the opportunities higher education will afford him.


“You are never too old to go to college,” Harley said.


That’s how we build Cowboys.




WE ARE ALL COWBOYSHailing from all 50 states and 98 countries, we are united by the Cowboy Code.

  • We end the day knowing we gave it everything we had
  • We dream only as big as the sky
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  • We have a passion to do what's right, even when it's hard
  • We stand for what matters, even if we stand alone
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  • Being a Cowboy isn't in our clothes, it's in our character
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