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Released on Apr 3, 2024
Flexjet Chairman Kenneth C. Ricci to Deliver 2024 CSUILAW Commencement Address

Kenneth C. “Kenn” Ricci '86, Chairman of Flexjet and Principal of Directional Aviation Capital, will deliver the commencement address at Cleveland State University College of Law’s graduation ceremony for the Class of 2024. The ceremony will take place Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 1:00 p.m. at the KeyBank State Theatre.

“As our distinguished alumnus and a member of our CSU|LAW Hall of Fame, we are honored to have Kenn Ricci speak to 2024 graduates,” CSU|LAW Dean Lee Fisher.  “Kenn is an extraordinary leader and exemplifies how our graduates can use the legal and leadership skills they developed throughout law school to forge a successful career path no matter where their interests lie.”

For Ricci, his primary interest has always been aviation. His love of aviation led Ricci to found, acquire, or finance a broad range of aviation companies and ideas over his career. He has assembled one of the largest groups of private aviation companies which together account for over four billion dollars of revenue, operate over 300 aircraft and employ over 5,000 individuals.

Ricci began his aviation career as an Air Force ROTC cadet at the University of Notre Dame and soon thereafter, started his first company, Corporate Wings.  He is an airline transport pilot with extensive international experience and was Arkansas Governor William Clinton’s pilot when he ran for President in 1992. Ricci is the founder of Nextant Aerospace, the innovator of Aircraft Remanufacturing.

Recognized as both a leader and innovator in the private aviation industry, Ricci was honored as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of Year in 2000 and has been named one the most influential people in aviation by Aviation International News.  In 2015, Kenn received the Aviation Week Laureate Award, a benchmark of industry excellence, recognizing his work and development at Nextant Aerospace. In 2019, he was inducted as a Living Legend of Aviation. The “Living Legends of Aviation” are prominent leaders of remarkable accomplishment in aviation including entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, record breakers, astronauts and pilots.

Ricci has been widely quoted in print, online and on broadcast television including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox Business, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Robb Report and Worth Magazine. His management strategies have been featured in the Wall Street Journal and he is the author of “Management by Trust,” a book featuring practical management techniques for building employee trust and success.

Ricci is also known for his extensive philanthropic efforts and was named to Town & Country Magazine’s top 50 Philanthropists list in 2018. His philanthropic causes include Able Flight, which provides people with disabilities with a way to challenge themselves through flight and aviation career training. He was honored by the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for championing research and treatment of the disease.

A member of the CSU|LAW Hall of Fame, Ricci received CSU’s prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016.

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