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Hayhurst named as top Class of 2012 graduate
Cadet 1st Class Dustin Hayhurst poses for a photo during a ceremony recognizing him as the top graduate for the Air Force Academy's Class of 2012 May 18, 2012. Hayhurst, a native of Freeport, Fla., was also named the Air Force's top cadet May 10. (U.S. Air Force photo/Raymond McCoy)
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Hayhurst selected as top Class of 2012 grad

Posted 5/22/2012   Updated 5/22/2012 Email story   Print story


by Don Branum
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

5/22/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- A native of Freeport, Fla., assigned to Cadet Squadron 06 was named by the Air Force Academy Board May 18 as the Academy's top graduate.

Cadet 1st Class Dustin Hayhurst was also named the Air Force's top cadet in a ceremony at the Pentagon May 10.

"You are at the top of the heap, and that is a very, very prestigious place to be," said Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould. "You are going to represent your class extremely well."

Maj. Jeremiah Stahr, the air officer commanding for CS 06, accompanied Hayhurst to the superintendent's conference room Friday morning. Gould warmly welcomed Hayhurst into a meeting already in progress, offered his congratulations and gave Hayhurst the floor.

"Do you want to practice the speech that you'll deliver next to the president?" Gould said, laughing. Hayhurst took a moment to thank the assembled Board members.

"Thank you all," he said. "Thank you to everybody that put effort and time into this."

Hayhurst said that the experience of being part of a squadron and part of the Cadet Wing staff was meaningful to him -- "Everything from talking with friends to the first shirt, first snow tradition," he added. "All the day-to-day stuff."

Hayhurst took part in the Academy's FalconSAT program, which designs, builds, tests and launches satellite systems each year. He also participated in the Academy's triathlon team and the engineering and national aerospace honor societies.

He will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after graduation to study for a master's degree in astronautical and aeronautical engineering. Once he finishes his master's degree, he will attend the Europe-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.

The top graduate, chosen annually based on academic, military and athletic performance averages, is the first to receive his diploma after the commencement address.

6/1/2012 7:46:54 PM ET
My congrats to Cadet Hayhurst. I applaud his decision to get his masters at MIT in aeroastro before pilot training. When I graduated that option was not available. But I persevered went to pilot training after graduation then twelve years later to MIT for my masters in aero. Best decision I made though unpopulated with my peers at the time. We need more officers like Dustin with both pilot wings and advanced degrees from elite universities like MIT to lead the future Air Force.John Michael LohGeneral USAF RetiredClass of 1960
John Michael Loh Class of 1960, Williamsburg Virginia
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