AF Academy, Association of Grads announce 2020’s Distinguished Grads

  • Published
  • By Ray Bowden
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force Academy and its Association of Graduates announced this year’s Distinguished Graduates, Dec. 4.

The Distinguished Graduate Award recognizes exceptional graduates for their extraordinary and significant contributions to the U.S. and their communities.

The 2020 Distinguished Graduates are retired Col. Gail Colvin, Class of 1980; retired Lt. Gen. Jay Kelley, Class of 1964; retired Maj. Gen. Ron Sega, Class of 1974; and Hugh Williamson III, Class of 1964.

“Congratulations to our four distinguished graduates and their families,” said Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark. “This award reflects their tremendous service and sacrifice to their country and community and their dedication to our Air Force core values, which we have consistently instilled in our cadets since we opened our doors as an institution.” 

Colvin, a member of the Academy’s first coed class, become the first African-American Academy woman who graduated the Academy to be promoted to colonel. During her 30-year Air Force career, Colvin served at Headquarters Air Force and Headquarters Joint Staff, commanded squadrons and and a group, and ended her military career as the Academy’s vice-commandant of cadets for culture and climate.

Today, Colvin is the Academy’s director of staff and remains an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion. She has a longstanding record of service to the Colorado Springs community and is a trustee for the El Pomar Foundation.

“That Ms. Colvin is now listed among our prestigious Distinguished Graduates should be no surprise to those of us fortunate to serve by her side on a daily basis,” Clark said. “My wife, Amy, and I extend our congratulations and best wishes to Ms. Colvin and her family.”

Kelley’s service to the Air Force and U.S. spans 60 years. He is a founding member of the Academy’s parachute team and, after graduating from the Academy, spent years in the space and intercontinental ballistic missile fields. He later held leadership positions in Air Force Public Affairs and aerospace education. His civilian career kept him in the space and military business realm.

During the last 10 years, Kelley has been president of the Falcon Foundation, an organization providing scholarships to students attending military prep schools in the U.S.

Sega, an astronaut for six years who took part in two space shuttle missions, was an Air Force pilot who later served as reserve assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was also director of Defense Research and Engineering and, as Undersecretary of the Air Force, influenced many advances in hypersonic and GPS technology, and more. He has since had a distinguished career in academia.

Williamson was an Air Force instructor pilot and academic leader before setting off on a civilian business career. During the last 50 years, he has been chair and chief executive officer of five public companies.

Williamson is the first Academy graduate to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and continues to serve the Academy, his community and the U.S. through philanthropic efforts.

Colvin, Kelley, Sega and Williamson join the Academy’s 46 other distinguished graduates.