UD to Hold Dedication Ceremony for Ed Babka Aviation Learning Center

Oct 3, 2019 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – University of Dubuque will hold a dedication ceremony for the Ed Babka Aviation Learning Center at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at 10656 Airport Road, Dubuque.

The dedication ceremony is open to the public.

The Ed Babka Aviation Learning Center is named to honor the late Edward “Ed” Babka (DHL’98), who faithfully served on the UD Board of Trustees for over 40 years and was a passionate aviator. Babka passed away June 20, 2016. He was 88.

About double in size of the former flight center, the state-of-the-art, 12,700-square-foot Ed Babka Aviation Learning Center helps alleviate space constraints in UD’s growing aviation program. The facility houses a dispatch desk, three classrooms, multiple offices including an area for flight instructors, four flight simulators, flight review rooms, an unmanned aircraft system lab, a visitor lounge, and conference spaces.

The site also includes a new flight ramp and room to add additional hangars in the future. The building is energy efficient with sensors that will dim lights based on the amount of sunlight in the building.

UD’s aviation program had humble beginnings in the 1970s with two fixed-wing aircraft and 35 students. It has grown to include 20 fixed-wing aircraft (15 Cessna 172 Skyhawks, two Piper Seminoles, and three Piper Arrows), five helicopters (four Guimbal Cabri G2s and a Robinson R-44), and over 250 students. Five additional Cessna 172 Skyhawks are on order to be delivered fall 2020.

The $3.5 million facility was funded, in large part, through a portion of a $60 million estate investment from Ed Babka and his wife, Shirley. The couple has left an indelible mark on UD through philanthropic initiatives that included funding the Babka Bookstore and renovation of the third floor in Peters Commons, the Babka Computer Center in Jackaline Baldwin Dunlap Technology Center, Babka Theatre in Heritage Center, a student apartment building in Park Village, and numerous financial scholarships for students in need.