Photo credit: Centennial Airport (APA)

On Feb. 6, the Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority announced Centennial Airport will celebrate its 50th anniversary, this year, with a year-long commemoration of the airport’s rich history in the Denver Technological Center, its half-century of aviation excellence, and the Centennial Airport Foundation’s contributions to local aviation and aerospace education.

Pilot, author, speaker and safety expert Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger will headline a special anniversary luncheon on May 25, in Denver, sharing his credo of “leadership by personal example” as well as the life lessons that prepared him to handle the unprecedented crisis known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Named one of 2009’s 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, Sullenberger became an international hero on Jan. 15, 2009, when he and his crew safely guided US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing in New York City’s icy Hudson River. The event became the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated motion picture Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood, with Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks in the lead role as Sullenberger.

“From humble beginnings in 1968, Centennial Airport has grown to become one of the most respected, premier business airports in the nation,” said Centennial Airport Chief Executive Officer Robert Olislagers. “More importantly, the airport has proven itself as an integral part of the economic success of the Denver South Metro area, and being able to celebrate 50 years of aviation excellence with Captain Sullenberger, who exemplifies excellence in aviation, is a fitting tribute to not only the airport, but to all who have made our success possible.”

The gala luncheon will be held Friday, May 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 S. Syracuse St., Denver.

“While we certainly want this event to be a fitting tribute to our 50th year, this event is not so much about us, but more about the Centennial Airport Foundation, and expanding its ability to financially support more local STEM education programs, particularly those focused on aviation and aerospace,” added Olislagers.

Since 2005, Centennial Airport Foundation, a 501(c)3 has generated more than $140,000 to support local scholarships to Colorado aviation and aerospace programs and students.

Tickets to attend the 50th anniversary gala are available at All proceeds from ticket sales will go fund future Centennial Airport Foundation aviation and aerospace scholarships.

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