Southwest Surprises Paul Quinn’s Class of 2024 With Two Roundtrip Tickets Anywhere In The Country To Kickstart Their Journey


May 13, 2024

The graduating class of Paul Quinn College is ready to fly forward into a bright future thanks to a surprise gift from Southwest Airlines. During the May 4 commencement ceremony for the class of 2024, Southwest Airlines, the official airline for the Dallas HBCU, announced that they’d be gifting each graduate with two roundtrip tickets to any Southwest domestic destination.

“We want you to travel and experience the world as you embark on your next chapter in life. Be curious, stay adventurous,” Laura Nieto, Southwest Airlines’ Director of Community Outreach, shared with the graduates. “So, as a little graduation surprise from your friends at Southwest Airlines to celebrate your incredible journey, we have a special gift for you. To celebrate your accomplishments, Southwest Airlines would like to gift each of you two roundtrip tickets to any Southwest Airlines domestic destination.”

Under their seats, each graduate found a blue envelope containing the surprise flight vouchers. Cheers and tears and a standing ovation followed the surprise announcement. 


“We are so blessed to have people in Southwest Airlines that understand what it means to be a Quinnite. They understand what it means to advocate for others, to make room in our lives for different points of view,” Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell said of the generous gift.

Southwest Airlines has been in an official partnership with Paul Quinn College since Fall of 2022 to support Southwest’s Corporate Work Program. The program includes dedicated, paid internships specifically for students at the College and ongoing educational and workforce development opportunities. The program also allows students to significantly lower student loan costs, with students graduating with less than $10,000 in student loan debt. During the commencement ceremony, Nieto gave a special shout-out to Paul Quinn graduating senior Curtis Ferguson as the first Paul Quinn student intern at Southwest to accept a full-time position at the airline following his participation in the Paul Quinn Corporate Work Program. 


“Southwest Airlines has long believed that educated communities are empowered communities and continues to invest in workforce development programs that introduce students to a diverse set of career opportunities in the aviation industry,” the organization said in a statement following the commencement ceremony. 

Congratulations to the Paul Quinn College Class of 2024!

Cover Photo: Southwest Surprises Paul Quinn’s Class of 2024 With Two Roundtrip Tickets Anywhere In The Country To Kickstart Their Journey / Photo credit: Southwest media.


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