Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens, which consistently ranks as a Top Regional College by U.S. News, was founded in New Jersey in 1932. Originally known as the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics, for the past 91 years the school has trained generations of pilots, air traffic controllers, engineers, mechanics, and more aviation professionals. Equipped with a model air traffic control tower, state-of-the-art flight simulator, and hangar full of airplanes, the college continues to prepare students for future-proof careers in the aviation industry.

Vaughn College
Image Courtesy of Vaughn College

You can get a glimpse of what it’s like to train as an airline professional on an upcoming behind-the-scenes tour of the campus with the school’s first female President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sharon DeVivo! This tour on January 26th is free for Untapped New York Insiders! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today and use code JOINUS to get your first month free.

Vaughn College Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Vaughn College flight simulator

In 1932, the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics was co-founded by World War I flying aces and aviation pioneers Lieutenant Colonel George A. Vaughn and Casey Jones, along with aeronautical engineer Lee D. Warrender. The school began in a hangar at Newark Airfield in New Jersey, the busiest airport in the world at the time. When the school needed additional space, it expanded into the upper floor of a Cadillac dealership in downtown Newark and later another downtown building originally constructed for the Standard Oil Company.

  • Casey Jones School of Aeronautics
  • Vaughn College Students
  • Casey Jones students

While serving in Europe during World War I, Vaughn and Jones became friends with Fiorello LaGuardia. During WWI, LaGuardia became was in charge of training programs for military pilots. When LaGuardia became mayor of New York City in 1934, he brought his passion for aviation and initiated improvements to the city’s aviation infrastructure.

One of LaGuardia’s main goals to give New Yorkers their own major airport. This goal was achieved in 1935 when Glenn H. Curtiss Airport in Queens became New York Municipal Airport 2, now known as LaGuardia Airport. To go along with the airport, LaGuardia felt New York City also needed a top-rate aviation school.

  • Academy of Aeronautics

He called on his friends Jones and Vaughn. In 1940, LaGuardia laid the cornerstone of a new building for The Academy of Aeronautics, the next iteration of the Casey Jones School. At the end of World War II, the Newark school buildings were closed and Queens would become the new permanent home of the institution. The school continued to grow and improve throughout the rest of the 20th century, adding an observation tower, new dormitory buildings, a hangar, additional classroom spaces, and upgraded labs.

  • Students working on a plane at Vaughn College
  • Vaughn College
  • Vaughn College

Another name change came in 2004 when the school became Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology. Since the school’s founding, three generations of the Vaughn family have been involved with the institution and that relationship continues to this day.

The Casey Jones School was originally conceived as a technical school for maintenance technicians, but the curriculum was soon expanded to include aeronautical engineering technology and the nation’s first aircraft design program. Today, Vaughn College trains students in all aspects of aviation, with associate, bachelor, and master’s degree programs in subjects from engineering to airport management.

Join the President and Chief Executive Officer of Vaughn College, Dr. Sharon DeVivo, for a special campus tour where you’ll see the hi-tech spaces where students train, and learn more about the institution’s high-flying history!

Vaughn College Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Vaughn College

Next, check out 10 Secrets of LaGuardia Airport