Connie Luhta to receive Distinguished Alumni Award from Lake Erie College


The National Alumni Board (NAB) of Lake Erie College is proud to declare alumna Caroline “Connie” Luhta the 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding community service and personal achievement.

Presented at homecoming weekend each year, this award recognizes one alumnus/a for his or her outstanding career achievements and distinguished service to Lake Erie College. Members of the National Alumni Board (NAB) select each year’s recipient based on reviews and recommendations submitted by alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the College.

The NAB selected Luhta based on her record as a remarkable role model in her community.

“Connie has demonstrated outstanding achievement in her career and distinguished service to her community,” said Janeane Cappara, president of the NAB. “Whether she is independently operating Concord Air Park, meeting with her fellow Concord Township trustees, or volunteering for the International Women’s Air and Space Museum where she serves as president of the Board of Trustees, Connie constantly makes her alma mater proud. We are thrilled to present this award to her.”

This distinguished alumna, passionate about civil service and her career, embodies the mission of Lake Erie College. Having persevered through several fruitless political campaigns, Luhta emerged with an open seat on the Concord Township Board of Trustees in 1992. Now, the 49-year resident of Concord Township is eight terms and 25 years into her service as a trustee, now chairwoman.

A plethora of community organizations have counted her among their faithful volunteers, committee members, trustees, and chairpersons. The Lake County Farm Bureau, Board of Elections, Northeastern Ohio General Hospital, Lake County Bar Association, Community Improvement Corporation of Lake and others have benefitted from her diligent service.

Moreover, Luhta is celebrated for a unique aptitude. Not one for idle flying, the alumna and longtime pilot has competed in 12 international air races, 17 proficiency races and 10 national coast-to-coast air races.

She still enjoys taking to the sky in her Piper Cherokee 180. Notably, Luhta operates Concord Air Park, established by her late husband, Adolph. The Concord Air Park hosts monthly meetings for the Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 118, of which Luhta is vice president.

Her career has taken a number of turns. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1952, Luhta worked as a senior research chemist for Standard Oil Company of Ohio for 16 years. She knew that managing the airport might someday fall upon her, so she earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a major in business administration at Lake Erie College in 1977.

Fearless in her pursuits, Luhta has secured life memberships in Silver Wings and Ninety-Nines, an international organization of licensed female aviators. She is a published author and nationally known speaker for aviation.

She still emboldens young aviation aspirants through her service as president of the board of trustees at the International Women’s Air and Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland. Alongside Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart, Luhta was even featured as the two-of-hearts card in the Museum’s deck of notable female pilots.

In 2016, Luhta was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, joining more than 450 individuals to receive the honor since 1977.

Luhta notes she is honored to receive this NAB award.

“The courses I took at Lake Erie while majoring in business administration have helped me in innumerable ways over the years,” she said. “I am very honored to be included as one of the College’s distinguished alumni.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Manor House as part of the College’s annual Homecoming/Alumni Weekend festivities. Attendance is by advance reservation only. Register online at For more information, contact that Lake Erie College Alumni Office at 440-375-7040.

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