Allison Elliott-Shannon

Heroic Pilot Speaks on "Making a Difference" at UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging

Published: Nov 19, 2012


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2012) -- "Good enough…isn't," said heroic pilot Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger when speaking at the 2012 University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Annual Dinner. Sullenberger headlined the fundraiser, which took place Nov. 14 in downtown Lexington.


Throughout his remarks Sullenberger emphasized the importance of decisive action, also the theme of his most recent book, Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America's Leaders. In the book, Sullenberger profiles both famous and everyday Americans who have shown great fortitude in meeting challenges in their professional and personal lives.


"Sully" also noted the importance of remaining active as a mature adult, noting that in his 60s he has no intention of slowing down, and "hopes to have a lot of good left" in him.

Sullenberger is best known for safely piloting a commercial airliner through a harrowing emergency water landing in the 2009 incident which has come to be known as the "Miracle on the Hudson." He received international acclaim following his actions, including the Harvard Foundation Humanitarian Award, the Legion of Honor from the Republic of France, and being named one of the 2009 TIME magazine 100 Most Influential People.


Now an aviation safety expert and retired airline pilot, the resident of Danville, Ca., has dedicated his adult life to the pursuit of safety in flying. He is also the author of Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, a memoir recounting his experiences throughout his youth, military service and commercial aviation career.


“Sullenberger spoke of the moment when decisive action must be taken, when people must rise beyond good to great, and when the stakes are so high that nothing but the best effort will suffice. Whether piloting an airplane through a treacherous situation, or searching for a cure for the devastating condition of Alzheimer’s disease, his message of excellence and perseverance resonates with all those who strive to better the world,” said Linda J. Van Eldik, director of SBCoA.


The annual dinner is the premier fundraising event for the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA). Sanders-Brown was established in 1979, and received funding in 1985 as one of the original 10 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Alzheimer's Disease Centers (ADCs). Internationally acclaimed, SBCoA is recognized for its contributions to the fight against brain diseases that are associated with aging. In August 2011, SBCoA celebrated its 26th consecutive year of funding from NIH for its ADC. SBCoA has more than 100 faculty and staff pursuing basic and clinical research in Alzheimer's disease, neurodegenerative disorders, stroke and normal brain aging.


The SBCoA 2012 Annual Dinner featuring Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger was presented by Alltech.


A global pioneer in Alzheimer's disease research, the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has more than 30 years of published work and more than 700 study volunteers (some with Alzheimer's disease and some without). These individuals are studied over time, and plan to donate their brains for research upon their deaths. Research at SBCoA focuses on identifying problems in Alzheimer's and other brain disease as early as possible, before memory loss develops, in order to maximize opportunities for disease prevention or delay.

The ultimate goal of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is to catalyze innovative and outstanding brain research while ensuring a more rapid rate of progress toward new therapies to delay or prevent age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer's disease.


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