Inside USD

Sky’s No Limit for Dean’s Military Respect

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Paula Cordeiro, the dean for the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), has high praise for the men and women in the military who serve and protect the United States.

How high? Recently in Perris, Calif., Cordeiro, along with several educators throughout Southern California had the opportunity to jump out of a plane from 13,500 feet to experience skydiving with the U.S. Army’s Parachute Team’s Golden Knights squad.

Cordeiro, whose school at the University of San Diego provides military education opportunities for officers through its Army ROTC, Naval Science and leadership programs, literally jumped at the chance to sky dive for the first time.

“I remembered that George (H.W.) Bush celebrated his 80th birthday by sky diving and I thought ‘if he could do it, I, too, could do it.’” Oddly enough, Cordeiro’s assigned tandem partner for her jump, Staff Sgt. Aaron Figel (pictured, with Cordeiro), had been with Bush Sr. for his birthday skydiving adventure.

Cordeiro really enjoyed her experience, which lasted about five minutes, especially after the first few seconds.

“One second you’re stand at the door and seeing below you, but he pushes you out quickly and you can’t see anything because you’re going so fast. But once that parachute opens up, then it becomes magical.”

She executed her landing by pushing her legs out and sliding safely to the ground. Her mission complete, Cordeiro said she was immediately ready for an encore.

“The first time you do something, you’re anxious and you want to do the right thing. Now that I’ve done it once, I want to do it again,” she said.

This experience was made possible through USD’s strong connection to the military community. The university has been a home base for the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) in San Diego since 1982. USD, which has a Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) and the Seaman-to-Admiral (STA-21) Program, has a joint agreement with San Diego State (Army/Air Force ROTC) and affiliations with Point Loma Nazarene, University of California, San Diego and California State University, San Marcos.

“While I was there, I had the fortunate experience of getting to spend time with the young men and women who serve in our military,” she said. “It instilled in me a sense of pride and respect for what these young people, who are incredibly accomplished, do for us. I salute them all. We at USD should be so proud of the fact that we have military men and women that are students on our campus,” she said.

— Ryan T. Blystone

Photos courtesy of U.S. Army Parachute Team

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