This is the first of five weekly installments profiling individuals who will receive Alumni Awards & Recognition on Nov. 11 during North Central College’s Sesquicentennial Homecoming Celebration.
Oct. 4, 2011—North Central College is honoring Col. Stephen Taylor of Lexington Park, Md., with a 2011 Outstanding Alumni Award.
Taylor and four others will be honored during the College’s Sesquicentennial Convocation at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville. This year’s event commemorates the 150th anniversary of the first day classes were held at the school on Nov. 11, 1861.
After graduating from North Central College in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Taylor attended the U.S. Marine Corps Officer’s Candidate School and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He was designated a naval aviator in March 1977 and was subsequently assigned to HMH-461, Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, N.C., where he flew the CH-53D aircraft. While in HMH-461 he was designated an aircraft commander and participated in several exercises in the Caribbean and North Atlantic.
In 2000, he returned to Marine Helicopter Squadron One, and in June 2001 he assumed duty as commanding officer and presidential helicopter pilot. He led more than 700 personnel in support of presidential and Marine Corps missions and flew more than 150 presidential flights. In 2003, he relinquished command of HMX-1 and retired from the Marine Corps with more than 28 years of service.
In 2003, Taylor joined Augusta Westland, Inc., as director of Navy and Marine Corps Programs where he was primarily involved in a program to replace the presidential helicopter fleet. In 2005, he accepted a position with Lockheed Martin and continued to work on the presidential helicopter program. He has been active in establishing the Vertical Lift Consortium, a group of more than 90 companies that have worked with the U.S. Department of Defense to advance the field of vertical lift aviation.
In addition to his bachelor’s degree from North Central College, Taylor holds a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.
Others being honored on Nov. 11 are Outstanding Alumni Award recipients Esther Benjamin of Mitchellville, Md., and J. Charles Eldridge of Wake Forest, N.C.; Wall of Witness honoree James Will of Arlington Heights; and Alumni Recognition Award recipient Ryan Dowd of Aurora.
North Central College’s yearlong Sesquicentennial Celebration commemorates the 150th anniversary of the first day of classes on Nov. 11, 1861, and the College’s role in helping to shape the fabric of the Naperville community. Throughout its history, North Central College alumni have distinguished themselves as leaders in the arts, sciences, business, education and many other areas of study. Numerous Sesquicentennial events and projects are planned throughout 2011 and into 2012. Visit northcentralcollege.edu/150 to learn more.