Outstanding Southeastern Alumni Profiles

Jim Hanny

Col. Jim Hanny, a 1968 Southeastern graduate, is recognized as the first student in academic history to earn a bachelor of science degree in Aviation and Certification by the FAA as a flight engineer.  He credits the personal and individual attention given to him by the Southeastern faculty members such as Dr. Alvin White for his success in college.

A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, he enlisted in the Air Force upon graduating, was commissioned, graduated from pilot training, and volunteered for duty in Southeast Asia.  Hanny flew 77 combat missions, accumulating more than 950 hours in the C-130 Airborne Battlefield Combat Control Center.

In 1972, he was transferred to the Air Force active reserve and flew as an instructor and flight examiner for 20 years.  He was selected as the commander of the 64th Airlift Squadron at O’Hare Field just prior to unit deployment in Operation Desert Shield in 1990.

He is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College of the Air University.  Col. Hanny retired from the Air Force in 1993.  His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (with one Oak Leaf Cluster) and the Aerial Achievement Service Medal.

Hanny was hired by American Airlines as a flight engineer in 1973 and was upgraded to first officer in 1978 and captain in 1986.  In 1987, he received a commendation and the “Spirit of American” award for meritorious actions during a critical in-flight emergency.  In 1988, Captain Hanny was selected to perform duty as an instructor and check airman.

“When I was a student at Southeastern the Flight Engineer Rating was a 12 credit course.

In 1973 American Airlines required qualified applicants to show completion of the FAA Flight Engineer written examination. Very few applicants possessed the Flight Engineer Rating. When I was selected, I was assigned to a class of 20 pilots who had the Flight Engineer Rating. Possessing the rating I earned in college proved to be an enormous advantage.”

He was the recipient of Southeastern’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1992 and in 2005 Badger High School selected him for the “Wall of Success” Award.  Colonel Hanny is a life member of the Southeastern Alumni Association, has served on the board of directors and was president from 2002-2004.  Additionally, Hanny served as a director of the Geneva Lake Association for 34 years and was the Association president from 2005-2009.

“Southeastern is one of the few flight training programs that basically guarantees you a flight position with a dedicated track to becoming an airline pilot”, Hanny said.  “There will be a great need for pilots in the coming years and Southeastern graduates will have the qualifications airlines are looking for when they leave school.”

Col. Hanny has been married to his high school sweetheart, Grace, for 50 years.  She graduated from Southeastern with her husband in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and is also a life member of the Alumni Association.  They have three daughters and seven grandchildren.  One daughter, Carolee, is a pilot for American Airlines, and her son Mitchell, a current student, represents the third generation of Hannys to attend Southeastern.