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Terry Cooney 1982

About me: In grade school I had a paper route, whereby I had to engage with a lot of people daily. Being a shy kid with buck teeth and glasses, this was a very important lesson. I benefited from this experience my entire life. I played football, basketball and ran track in high school. Through no fault of my own, I was my high school’s athlete of the year. I was selected all-conference defensive end in the fall of my senior year and scored fifth in the high jump at the track conference meet at the end of the year. I worked my way through college at Northwestern Steel and Wire in Sterling, Illinois. Many of my friends from the Illinois side of the Mississippi River who attended Central College worked in the same steel mill for our tuition money. I ran jack hammers, worked in the furnaces, shoveled a lot of slag and was an electrician’s helper. Working in a steel mill was a fantastic experience as it drove home the importance of getting a college degree.
Employment: I joined the United States Air Force upon graduating from Central. After graduating from officer’s training school in Dec. 1982, my career field was communications electronics. By January, I was in class at the University of New Mexico in the electrical engineering department with over 100 other Air Force officers. I completed the program and graduated in May 1984. I was then assigned to the Space and Missile Center in Los Angeles, California, where I worked and completed a master’s program at USC in May 1987. After leaving Los Angeles, I was stationed in Scandinavia, Japan, Belgium and Korea. I was privileged to have a job in the United States that also took me all over the world related to satellite communications. I traveled to places that included the Seychelle Islands, Panama and Newfoundland. My state-side tours included Mississippi, Alabama, California and New Mexico. My career field gave me the opportunity to supervise a lot of young Air Force enlisted members. I always enjoyed managing work centers in the communications squadrons and all the young people who manned them. Currently, I am employed by the Aerospace Corporation based in El Segundo, California. I aspire to remain with this great company and continue working in the defense industry.
Hobbies/Activities: While working in Los Angeles, I learned how to sky dive at an airport in Peris Valley. I jumped for several years until I decided to get my pilot’s license in 1992. I eventually attained my flight instructor’s certificate. I now exercise my flying skills in the Civil Air Patrol at Kirtland, Air Force Base in Albuquerque. I was an avid runner while in the Air Force and have incredible memories of running through many wonderful locations including the fjords in Scandinavia, the Sidney, Australia harbor bridge (Coat Hanger), Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany. My legs have found the point of maximum running and I now take Yoga in the morning and ride my bicycle to work.
What I’m reading: My reading habits have changed in the past few years. I do not find the time to sit down with a good book like I would like to. However, I do read a lot of magazines. One of my favorites is Psychology Today. I’d recommend this great magazine as it has taught me so much about people and myself. I am amazed what I learn in each issue.
Memorable Central College moments: My fondest memories are from my freshman year and being a proud member of the fourth floor, Hoffman Hall guys. There were a great bunch of guys throughout that dormitory and we shared a lot of laughs. I was on the football team my freshman and sophomore year. I ran track all four years and earned a letter jacket. Some of my buds from those years went on to become successful businessmen, musicians, teachers and members of the military including an F-18 Marine fighter pilot.
My life after Central College: I have had one fantastic experience after another, which include my overseas tours to becoming engaged. I met Ingrid at a music festival in The Hague in The Netherlands. She was Indonesian-Dutch and lived in the northern part of the country. I got to know her and her country very well. However, I could not convince her to leave, so we never married; we remain good friends. My current fiancé is from Ukraine and it has taken me a long time to find her. We met in Los Angeles and Julia and I have the same perspective on life and learning. My education and Central College experience has allowed me to continue learning, accepting new challenges, and seeing the best the world has to offer anyone who has a good work ethic and positive attitude. I could not have foreseen the wonderful life awaiting me when I was at Central but being there prepared me for a life of world-wide traveling and learning.

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  • sandi Adams


    8:43 am on June 2, 2018

    I am the oldest of the 5 Cooney siblings and my brother, Terry is the youngest. He may have run to keep up with us when he was little since our Mother was 40 when she brought Terry into our lives; but we ran after him from high school on. We followed his sports and his college and Air Force career. We walked the Golden Gate Bridge with him then ate Belgium Waffles daily at the Train Station when we visited him in Europe. Terry managed a great balance of discipline and fun in his interesting life. I was privileged to hear my brother deliver his Retirement speech after serving 20 years in the US Air Force. You had us all in tears Terry as you dug deep and shared poignant experiences from your rich career. My brother is ageless and never stops challenging himself and reaching for new information and new life experiences. He is tall and handsome, talented; he is so much fun and He is Loved!!!

  • Martin Sojka


    3:30 pm on June 1, 2018

    Great to see this article on Terry. Many fond times at Central with him. So glad some CUI have had such a great impact on the world unlike me who is just still a teacher after all these year.

  • Terry Cooney


    2:15 pm on June 1, 2018

    It was a privilege to be the alumni profile for this issue. I am sorry to see that one of my physics teachers and mentors, Dr. Al Moen passed before he could see this issue and the life he helped me find with my physics education at Central College. I am happy to hear from anyone that might comment on this article and wish to reconnect with me.

    Go Dutch.