45th Reunion Class Gift Project               Restoration of the Air Gardens  /  Endowment of Contrails

Rendering by Joel Gray, © 2016. Used with Permission of the Artist


Classmates, at our 40th Reunion, the class formed and charged a Gift Committee to select suitable gifting to the Academy for our 45th Reunion.  Accordingly, classmates Fariss, Beesley, Pyatt, Hennek, and Smith-Harrison selected two gifts that were endorsed by our class officers: Endowing Contrails and Restoring the Air Gardens. We wanted gifts that would last for our lifetimes, are important to the Academy, and affects all past, present and future cadets. After considering over 20 candidate gifts, we unanimously selected these two iconic USAFA treasures.   

Contrails is still heavily used in fourth class training but the funding for publishing it has proven problematic for the Academy over the years. The class that gifts this publication not only helps the Academy but makes a lasting mark on every future cadet entering USAFA. The Class of 1975 will be recognized in each future edition with our class crest and an address to the new class on a cover page.

The Air Gardens are not what we remember. Over the years they have suffered from lack of attention, with reduced water features, deteriorated vegetation and broken marble strips. The desire is to restore the Air Gardens with the fountains and landscape as close to the original design as possible. The Class of 1975 will be recognized for their contribution in this project with a permanent oblast mounted plaque placed on the grounds of the Air Garden. 

Our "stretch goal" for this gift is $1,975,000 with the first $200K funding the Contrails endowment and the balance applied to the Restoration of the Air Gardens. We intend to measure the success of our campaign by class participation, not a dollar amount but we wanted to know if we were at least in the right ball park. So we validated the stretch goal by contacting 30 classmates to gauge class interest. Their response for these two iconic gifts was overwhelming as this small sampling have already made pledges totaling $800,000!

We will conduct a class wide funding campaign commencing April 2017. This will be done with a classmate in direct contact with each classmate. Both projects will be completed before the Class of 1975’s 45th Reunion in 2020 when we will be able to stroll through a restored Air Garden and be recognized together, as a class, in Falcon Stadium for providing one of the best gifts in Academy history!

Thanks for the opportunity to serve our class, respectfully yours,

The Class of 1975 Gift Committee: Larry Fariss / Mark Beesley / Rick Pyatt / Rod Hennek / Leon Smith-Harrison


Concept Drawings of Restored Air Gardens. Final Design Details Still To Be Determined. (©2016 Joel Gray Used with Permission of the Artist)


The Air Gardens Through the Ages


United States Air Force Academy

Dan Kiley, Landscape Architect

National Park Service

National Historic Landmark Nomination


10 March 2017

Checkpoints Magazine featuring the Class Gift Air Gardens Restoration Project

7 March 2017

Class Gift Update (Above)


24 February 2017

Initial Public Announcement of Class Gift.

Release of Dedication Page, Contrails, Class of 2020.