About Parks College

Founded as America's first federally certified school of aviation, Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology has forged a path of innovation in all the disciplines we serve. From robots to rockets and everything in between, we’ve developed future-focused programs address the current and future needs of the profession and society.

History of Parks College

Historic photo of Parks College pilot.
The Parks P-1 aircraft with an OX-5, 90 horsepower engine on the Parks flightline in 1929.

Founded by Oliver "Lafe" Parks in 1927, just two months after Charles Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic, Parks College became the first federally approved school of aeronautics.

During the World War II era, the aviation college and its subsidiaries were responsible for training one of every 10 Army Air Corps pilots, plus thousands of aircraft mechanics. After the war, Parks realized that future aviation leaders would need a broader, more academic education. He felt the best way to ensure this breadth was to seek affiliation with a major university. In 1946, he gave Parks College to Saint Louis University, and with that, the holder of Air Agency Certificate #1 became part of the oldest university west of the Mississippi. Over the years, Parks added programs in aircraft maintenance management, avionics engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering and civil engineering.

In the fall of 1997, after seven decades in Cahokia, Illinois, the college moved into McDonnell Douglas Hall, a state-of-the-art building on the University’s St. Louis campus, as Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology.