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Liberty School of Aeronautics Dean Rick Roof announces retirement

Liberty University has announced that Dr. Rick Roof, who has served as dean of the Liberty University School of Aeronautics since July 2019, will be stepping down after this academic year. He will continue to support the school for the next 15 months as he transitions into retirement.

Associate Dean Steven Brinly will assume the role of interim dean.

“I have had some incredible opportunities in my career, but serving at the Liberty University School of Aeronautics is without a doubt the pinnacle,” said Roof, who began his aviation career in the U.S. Air Force. “The team God has gathered in LUSOA is the most gifted and Christ-centered that I have ever seen or been a part of.”

Roof brought a vast amount of industry and education experience to the School of Aeronautics. After serving nine years in the Air Force as an avionics technician and operations researcher, he spent 20 years in senior positions in information technology, manufacturing, and publishing. He was a senior executive at an internet start-up company and was president and CEO of a specialized air carrier. His professional flying career continued with his role as Director of Flight Operations-ISR for Dynamic Aviation, where he also led their leadership and organizational development program for a season.

Roof has served Liberty University since 2012, starting as an online adjunct and instructional mentor for the School of Business, School of Engineering, and School of Aeronautics. He was the School of Aeronautics’ online chair from 2018-19. He holds an M.A.R. in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Regent University.

Liberty Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Scott Hicks said Roof’s contributions helped the School of Aeronautics grow and ascend to one of the nation’s finest aviation programs.

“We are grateful to Dean Roof for the service and spiritual leadership he has provided while advancing the mission of Liberty and the School of Aeronautics. He is a true example of what it means to be a Champion for Christ. Our reputation in the industry and collegiate aviation has grown tremendously through his guidance.”

During his tenure as dean, Roof oversaw improvements throughout the school’s on-campus and airport locations, including the creation of the School of Aeronautics’ academic and simulation center in DeMoss Hall, with a state-of-the-art simulator lab, classroom, and office space, and the acquisition of a new aviation maintenance technology (AMT) training hangar. As Roof served, the aeronautics team spearheaded industry-leading innovations such as the first collegiate Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval of remote simulator instruction, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) training, advance jet simulation, standardized electronic flight bags, a Center for Engineering Research & Education (CERE) simulator presence for research, and the digitally-enhanced training environment where all flight data is immediately downloaded and available for instructor and student review. Roof was also instrumental in securing critical training resources that resulted in an eight-year fleet sustainment strategy and the acquisition of 24 Cessna 172 training aircraft. In the last year, new partnerships included the formation of pilot pipeline agreements with Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air.

Most importantly, Roof fostered a Christ-centered culture of trust, encouragement, and community in the School of Aeronautics. His care for students, faculty, and staff resulted in healthy growth of student organizations, student- and faculty-led worship nights, weekly communal prayer, and enhanced personnel retention.

Roof said he feels honored to have worked with the School of Aeronautics team and the Provost’s Office to enhance programs and advance Liberty’s mission.

“God has done amazing things at the School of Aeronautics as He built an exceptional aeronautics school, well-resourced with talent and equipment, delivering excellent technical training, but especially focused on Training Champions for Christ to impact a hurting world. It has been inspiring to watch the amazing leaders and staff that the Lord assembled change this school into a powerful tool for advancing the Gospel — for His glory.”

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