Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

Garrett Quinby Excels, Finds Aviation Family at OSU

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

When a small town farm boy gets a ride in a plane at 14 years old and is given the opportunity to take hold of the controls, he is certain to come out of the experience with a different perspective.

For Garrett Quinby who “grew up 20 miles in the middle of nowhere” near Woodward, Okla., the experience was life changing.

“I am terrified of heights! At 14, I was invited to the young eagles program. They donate plane rides, but I did not want to go,” Quinby said. “I was strapped into the front seat and she [the pilot] asked if I wanted to fly. I got on the ground and went straight to my parents and told them I knew what I wanted to do as a career.”

Quinby came to Oklahoma State University because he had participated in FFA and 4-H events that brought him on campus.

“I went to elementary and middle school in Buffalo with 12 students in my class, then I transferred to Woodward where I had 130 in my class. It was a bit overwhelming but I got to participate in lots more,” Quinby said. “I got to give speeches, be involved in leadership, served as president of my [FFA] chapter and ran for state [FFA] office.”

He made the decision to come to attend college in Stillwater, and once on campus, solidified his career plan.

“I was on campus for competitions and couldn’t figure out why I would go anywhere else. No other university supported those activities like OSU and it just made sense,” he said. “I started out as an Aerospace and Entrepreneurship major but knew I wanted to fly. I figured out I loved flying more than building airplanes.”

Quinby’s time at OSU has been well spent. He has earned a 3.884 cumulative grade point average and his leadership involvement from high school carried over into his collegiate career and helped land him coveted recognition as an OSU Outstanding Senior by the OSU Alumni Association and a Top 10 senior for the College of Education.

The Outstanding Senior award recognizes seniors who excel through academic achievement; campus and community activities; athletic or extra-curricular honors or awards; scholarships and work ethic during their time at OSU. The OSU Alumni Association selected the 15 winners after meeting with 49 of the Seniors of Significance selected in the fall of 2015 and reviewing their applications.

“It is an absolute honor to have been selected! These are things I never thought I would be a candidate for. In high school I was always told I would be average when I got to college. That the best of the best would be there, and even though I did well in school, I wouldn't measure up to what they would accomplish,” Quinby said. “Being selected as an Outstanding Senior and Top 10 for COE reinforces that even a farm kid from Northwest Oklahoma can do just fine with a little bit of hard work and service.”

Since OSU was the only school Quinby even applied to for his undergraduate program, his love for OSU has only been strengthened over the last four years.

“The faculty and staff in general have made my OSU experience great. They talk to you as an adult and care about you as an individual. They care about your well being and personal life,” Quinby said. “They don’t give you anything by any means, but they help you succeed. There is a sense of family here. I know everyone by name and it’s just an awesome place to be.”

Quinby, who is slated to graduate this week, will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Administration and Operations with an option in Professional Pilot and a minor in Ethical Leadership.

While at OSU, Quinby has been a facilitator for the President’s Leadership Council, served in four officer positions with Flying Aggies, as a university board member for the Oklahoma Pilots Association, as community president and senator for Hall Government and as vice president of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association. He has also been a member of Alpha Eta Rho, Eagle Heights Baptist Church and the Sea Plane Pilots Association. He has served the community for more than 470 hours through these organizations as well as with Into the Streets, Student Government Association Sustainability, Oklahoma Blood Institute and the Oklahoma FFA.

“Garrett encompasses so many positive and strong attributes. As a student, Garrett’s academic focus has been exemplary with a serious and mature focus to use his experiences as a student to not only benefit himself in his pursuit of professional employment, but to also support other students and the academic program when these opportunities presented themselves,” said Chad Depperschmidt, associate professor in aviation and space education. “Without question, Garrett truly stands out as one of these few outstanding students who have excelled above others in my interactions.”

Quinby will continue his education at OSU in pursuit of a master’s degree in aviation and space. He plans to become a pilot for a commercial airline and eventually work in airline administration.