Alumni

For most, a trip around the world is something dreams are made of. For Wendell “Jack” Long, B’81, that dream has come true … not once, but thrice.

“I’ve always been fascinated with this idea of flying around the world,” he said. “I think the root of that is it wasn’t in the cards for me to become an astronaut, so doing something aviation-related was pretty motivating.”

In 2015, Long piloted his Pilatus PC-12 — purchased after selling his interest in his startup PeopleAdmin, a higher education talent management software company — as he made his first circumnavigation via one of three routes recognized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the world air sports federation.

That eastwards circumnavigation was quickly followed by a 2017 over-the-poles circumnavigation and a 2019 westwards one.

Long, who earned his pilot and commercial pilot licenses while at UR, has logged more than 4,500 flying hours, many of those dedicated to philanthropic causes. One such organization is LightHawk, a Denver-based nonprofit that matches volunteer pilots with conservation partners in need of aviation support.

“My wife, Carolyn, and I are very passionate about conservation and the environment, and I’m very passionate about flying,” Long said.

On Lighthawk’s behalf, he’s flown orange-breasted falcons to Belize, Mexican grey wolves to Mexico, a red panda to Canada, and California condors and black-footed ferrets within the United States.

Despite his active philanthropy — among other causes, he also supports low-income students attending St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, through Emerging Scholars, his own nonprofit — Long considers himself retired these days.

But while he and his wife hope to spend more time traveling, one thing stands without question: “We’re not much just to go someplace and play golf or sit on the beach, that’s for sure.”