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Commemorating Don Scott, KOSU's namesake

The Ohio State University Airport (KOSU) Don Scott Field was named in honor of former Ohio State student, Don Scott, an All-American athlete who died in a bomber crash in England on October 1, 1943, during World War II.

Ohio State aviation's military connection

Many students work on and surround a historic aircraft in 1918
Aviation at Ohio State in 1918 focused on military training

Aviation at Ohio State has military roots, being established in 1917 by the United States War Department to help produce qualified pilots for World War I. At that time the university's first pilots took off and landed from what today is the heart of campus. The following years, as campus grew, saw the university build two other airports and use local airfields to train pilots. By 1939, Ohio State was one of a number of universities taking part in the Civilian Pilot Training Program, sponsored by the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Administration, for the purpose of fostering private flying. By 1942 the university had trained 400 students in the federal program.

Don Scott: Student, athlete, pilot

Don Scott
Don Scott in 1941

One of the pilots trained through the Civilian Pilot Training Program held at Ohio State was Don Scott, an engineering student from Canton, Ohio. Not only was Scott a pilot, but he was also an accomplished athlete. His prowess on the football field garnered him accolades as a two-time All-American quarterback, an honorific title given to outstanding college and high school athletes.

When World War II began, Scott opted to serve in the military. His flight training allowed him to enter the U.S. Army Air Forces as a commissioned pilot, flying B-26 aircraft. Sadly, during a training exercise near North Weald, England on October 1, 1943, Scott perished in an aircraft crash.

New airport commemorates Scott's sacrifice

KOSU hangars 1 and 2 in 1943
KOSU's Hangars 1 and 2 in 1943

After Scott had departed campus, the university purchased property seven miles north of campus in order to open a new airfield.

It was stated in a Board of Trustees resolution that university president, Howard Bevis, advised that "because of the importance of aviation today and its even greater importance after the war, the University cannot afford to lose the position is [sic] now occupies in the training of pilots and aeronautical engineers."

Spring of 1943 marked the construction of the airport's first two buildings.

Fittingly, a month after Scott's passing, University Trustees named the new airfield Don Scott Field on November 1, 1943 (read 1943 – 2023: Commemorating 80 years as Don Scott Field). Today KOSU carries on Don Scott's legacy through our commitment to training the next generation of aviation professionals. Read more about Ohio State aviation's history here.

KOSU aerial view 1940s
In the 1940s KOSU was used to train World War II pilots. Other university students and aviation enthusiasts also utilized the airfield, which at the time was surrounded by farmland northwest of Columbus.


Don Scott kicking a football
Accomplished athlete
In addition to being a pilot, Don Scott was recognized as an All-American football player.
Don Scott 1938 football program
Success on the field
On the roster for the 1938 Ohio State vs. Indiana football game was KOSU namesake, Don Scott, then a sophomore engineering student.
Don Scott and crew in the military
From the football field to the air
Don Scott and crew in the military
North Weald monument in England
In spring 2023 an Ohio State aviation study abroad group visited a memorial recognizing the ultimate sacrifice of service members stationed near North Weald, England. Among those who lost their lives was Ohio State student Don Scott, namesake of Ohio State’s airfield.
Don Scott Trot publicity graphic
KOSU's annual Don Scott Trot: 5K on the Runway is an honor to its namesake. Click to read more.
Don Scott Ohio State sports hall of fame award
In 1988 Don Scott was inducted into the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame.