Annual FB&T Distinguished Speaker Series features former Air Force One commander


Col. Mark Tillman, who was chosen as the nation’s 12th presidential pilot and served as pilot and commander of Air Force One from 2001-2009, will deliver the program at the 13th Annual Farmers Bank and Trust Distinguished Speaker Series on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, at the Donald W. Reynolds Campus and Community Center at Southern Arkansas University.

Tillman was at the controls of Air Force One on Sept. 11, 2001, protecting President George W. Bush by keeping him out of harm’s way and connecting the airborne Oval Office to the nation’s first responders.

He was also the first pilot to fly the Commander-in-Chief into a war zone. The challenge was unprecedented; one mistake would have left the president open to attack and cost the lives of U.S. service members. Tillman himself flawlessly orchestrated and executed the covert operation.

His distinguished career spans 30 years in the U.S. Air Force. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 2004 and promoted to Brigadier General by the President, the first military line officer to receive this honor. A man devoted to serving his country, this captivating storyteller will give a first-hand account of remarkable moments in history.

The endowment created through this event provides scholarships that allow deserving students to experience outstanding educational opportunities at SAU.

A private reception will be held at 6 p.m. at the Main Branch of Farmers Bank and Trust, 200 E. Main St., Magnolia. Dinner and lecture begin at 7 p.m. in Grand Hall of the Reynolds Center. For more information, or to purchase tickets by phone, call the SAU Office of Development at 870-235-4287. Tickets may also be purchased online at by clicking the Make-A-Gift button .


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