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USAFA educators receive Heiser Award

Heiser Award

(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff. Sgt. Charlie Rivezzo)

Story By Ray Bowden/May 16, 2018

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Senior cadets at the Air Force Academy cast their votes for two faculty members to receive the Heiser Award May 4: Mathematics Department deputy head Lt. Col. Kris Pruitt and Political Science Department associate professor John Riley.

The award’s namesake, Professor Emeritus Dr. William H. Heiser, was an honorary fellow for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost, the Academy’s dean, presented the award to Pruitt and Riley.

“The Heiser Award is particularly meaningful to us as it’s the only award based on votes from our graduating class,” he said. “Our senior cadets voted for Kris and John because of their positive influence inside and out of the classroom. To simply say they’re educators is misleading because, for our cadets and the rest of our terrific faculty, they’re inspirational role models and leaders. This award acknowledges their terrific work, and I couldn’t be happier for John and Kris and their families.”

Pruitt is the first faculty member from the Mathematics Department to have received the award. The former air operations commander said he recalls watching today’s senior cadets and math students report for Basic Cadet Training in 2014.

“I feel a really strong connection to the ‘2018ers’ and I’m incredibly proud of all of them,” he said. “Receiving the Heiser award is the icing on the cake.”

Riley said cadets represent the center of the faculty’s world.

“When they hold one of us in high regard, it means the world to us,” he said. “The Heiser Award is the highlight of my career.”