Hunter Hayes: Powered by Relationships | WMU Alumni Skip to main content

Hunter Hayes: Powered by Relationships

Hunter first discovered his love for flying in high school. Enrolled in an aviation exploration class, he took a discovery flight at WMU’s College of Aviation. That experience inspired him to become a pilot. He began flying at a small Part 61 flight school, attended community college, and earned his private pilot license before transferring to WMU to continue his education.


What is one of the key lessons that Hunter has learned at WMU?

“No connection, conversation, class or minute of flight time is something that you should waste. Personal and professional relationships are going to be important in your future, and the time that you spend furthering your education is a vital part of what makes you stand out against the competition. Through my time at WMU, I’ve learned that the most important thing you can do to set yourself up for success is put yourself in positions where you can create lifelong connections—with your peers, with your instructors, and with every industry professional you can.”

Serving as the vice president of NGPA, the WMU chapter of the LGBTQ+ aviation organization, Hunter has helped organization members build their networks and gain access to career resources and industry speakers. “At WMU, I have also learned that in aviation, and in life, teamwork paves the path to success; you can eliminate a lot of the barriers you may find in front of you simply by creating an environment where you and your peers can succeed together.”

And succeed he has. Hunter received the WMU Diversity in Aviation Scholarship this year, which allowed him to focus on his flight training and receive his commercial pilot license. It has also inspired him to advocate for more diversity in the aviation industry.

“I am very grateful to all of the WMU staff who have welcomed me to the University, and to the College of Aviation specifically. The love and care that faculty put into creating a safe and impactful learning environment for students is one of the things that makes getting an education at WMU so special.”

Annual gifts enable the college to create the learning environment Hunter has experienced—one that helps students to succeed.

Hunter’s network is even larger than he knows—it contains alumni and friends like you who power opportunities with your generosity.