As a young Air Force ROTC cadet at The University of Texas, Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt was fascinated with the idea of flying, and at that point, it was purely an idea. Family travel during her childhood consisted only of cars, trains and busses.

She was 18 years old the first time she flew in an airplane, and from there, she progressed to a private pilot's license. "I started slow and worked my way up," Leavitt said.

Leavitt earned a degree in aerospace engineering from UT Austin, where she was also a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program. Additionally, she received a master's degree in aeronautics from Stanford before she began the Air Force's undergraduate pilot training, from which she graduated first in her class in 1993. At that time, women were not allowed to fly in combat, but Leavitt requested an assignment on a F-15E Strike Eagle.

"I never wanted to be first. I just wanted to be a fighter pilot," Leavitt said.

Alumna Maj. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt (B.S. Aerospace Engineering 1990) was recognized as the Texas Lottery Veteran at the Nov. 7 UT vs. West Virginia football game.

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