There are unique journeys that bring business students to Ohio State — and then there’s Torrington Ford’s.

Homeschooled as a child, a community college student at age 12, and a first-year Buckeye at age 15, Torrington arrived at Ohio State wanting to pursue a lifelong passion for aviation. As a Business Buckeye studying aviation management and air transportation, he completed his first solo flight before he had his driver’s license.

Now, as a member of the Class of 2023 and soon-to-be Fisher alumnus, Torrington reflects on the support that turned his aviation dreams into a career.

Why did you choose Ohio State and Fisher?

I chose to attend Ohio State University because I wanted to receive my flight training at a Part 141 (FAA-approved) airport while completing my bachelor’s degree. In other words, I wanted a full, encompassing college experience from the standpoint of joining student clubs and organizations, attending Buckeye football games and sporting events, while developing lifelong friendships and networking with knowledgeable professors.

I chose Fisher because its aviation management specialization, supports my desire to become an airline executive and ultimately own a private aviation charter. If my only focus was flying airplanes, then I could have remained in the College of Arts and Sciences. Instead, I wanted to develop my business acumen, so I decided to double major in air transportation (Arts and Sciences) and aviation management (Fisher). Not to mention, Fisher has a stellar reputation from both alumni and current students. The relevant coursework and rigor of the business programs has prepared me for similar corporate situations I encountered in the workforce.

Torrington Ford as a child
Torrington Ford grew up miles from Andrews Air Force Base.

Why aviation?

I chose to study aviation management and air transportation due to my love and respect for the field of aviation and aerospace. I have family members who are Tuskegee Airmen (Red Tails), Marine officers, Naval engineers and Air Force officers. While living in the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area, I was exposed to flight aeronautics at an early age. My mom and I would visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and attend military airshows on Andrews Air Force Base where I watched the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds. I built water rockets for my homeschool science fair and flew remote airplanes and drones just to understand aerodynamics.

What have been some of your highlights as an Ohio State student?

Besides gathering for Buckeye football games and other sporting events, the highlights of attending Ohio State include the life experiences I learned by participating in Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) activities, the Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male workshops and retreat, the Morrill Scholar Program events, and PREFACE (an engineering summer bridge program).

These program administrators not only support you academically, but they are like family. They provide a listening ear, direction, and solutions to our problems as they guide us through our young adult years. These compassionate administrators facilitate specialized activities which allow you to interact with students from different states, diverse cultures, and diverse points of view. Some of these interactions lead to friendships, and some friendships become friends for life. For instance, I am an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated (a Divine Nine organization) where I have met a group of fraternity brothers who are my brothers for life. We have served side-by-side in community service events like tutoring, feeding the underserved residents of Columbus and mentoring youth. Who knew you could meet brothers who would stick with you during your highs and lows while gaining your college education, and that those brothers would become brothers for a lifetime? Attending Ohio State is a life-changing experience.

Torrington Ford at his internship at Endeavor Airlines.
Torrington Ford at his internship at Endeavor Airlines.

And some high points of your Fisher experience?

The highlight of attending Fisher has been applying classroom knowledge to real-world problems. As students, we sometimes think the lessons we are taught and the material we study for our countless exams will never be used outside the classroom. However, while working during my internship and part-time jobs, I have been able to apply my classroom experience with my corporate airline job requirements. Experiencing how our coursework shows up in business ventures and corporate conversations has been a real highlight.

Other Fisher highlights have included time spent making valuable network connections with new peers and professors and participating in collaborative educational environments where we exchange diverse viewpoints. Additionally, preparing for and attending the various college career fairs has instilled an additional layer of access and visibility resulting from Fisher’s valuable connections with global and domestic companies in multiple industries.

You’ve received quite a few scholarships. How has support from donors helped you here at Fisher?

Donors are the reason I have been able to complete my undergraduate degree, pilot license and study abroad experience. As a dual major and flight student, it takes more than four years to complete your studies. So, if it were not for the JPMorgan Chase Scholarship and the Heckman Memorial Scholarship, which funded my fifth year of education, the NetJets scholarship which funded my last year of flight school, the Fisher College of Business Promise Award and the Hrusovsky Family Scholarship, which funded my out-of-state internship, and the ODI Global Studies Scholarship, along with the College of Engineering, which funded my study abroad trip, I would not have had the funds to complete my initial career journey. So, I am eternally grateful for the scholarship donors whom God sent to bless me.

Donors are just one group of supporters you’ve had in your corner. Who else helped you get to where you’re at today?

Honestly, without the support from my mom, Tarita Ford, I would not have attended Ohio State University. As an out-of-state, 15-year-old student who was too young to live in the dorms, my mom sacrificed and moved to Columbus so I could attend Ohio State. Not only did she sacrifice by moving to another state, but she unselfishly equipped me with a homeschool education that was sufficient for community college admission at age 12 and a four-year college admission at age 15.

Torrington and Tarita Ford
Torrington Ford and his mother, Tarita.

My mother, like her mother, Constance Ford, are educators who sacrificed their lives and delayed their dreams to support their children’s dreams. In the ear of every successful person is the voice of someone who believes in them before they can believe in themselves. It’s like they protect your God-given vision until you can grab hold of the vision for yourself, which is when your passion develops, and you can equip yourself for the race. It brings tears to my eyes because I honestly would not have achieved my college dream without my mom’s backing. It's like she provided that gentle push when my mountain seemed insurmountable. Being able to lean on my mom for support has infused me with robustness so I could climb the mountains I thought were impassable. In addition to my mom, others have supported me during my college journey, including the Ford family, my Godparents, my extended family, friends from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area and my church family at Ebenezer AME Church in Ft. Washington, MD.

In addition to my family, I have received invaluable support from the ODI faculty: Associate Provost James Moore, III, Stephen Decatur, Dan Thomas and Ricardo Zamaripa; College of Engineering faculty: Assistant Dean Lisa Barclay, Edwin Lee and Ronald Parker; Fisher faculty Cynthia Turner and Aviation Studies faculty Brian Strzempowksi and Adam Beckman. As you can see, I may have taken the road less traveled, but God sent an army of supporters to get me to my destination. Lord knows I am grateful!

What are your plans after graduating?

Torrington Ford commencement at Fisher
Torrington Ford will graduate with a degree in air transportation and a business degree focused on aviation management.

As a technical flight student with flight certifications and a dual major in aviation management and air transportation, I have a few options. I am deciding between entering graduate school, where I can pursue a masters or my MBA with specializations in entrepreneurship and analytics. My second option entails working for an airline in the area of operations, strategic management, analytics, revenue management or route planning. If I choose the later route, after acquiring a few years of work experience with an airline, then I plan to quickly return to complete my MBA — potentially at Fisher!

What are some of your career goals?

My long-term career goal is to own an airline, a scheduled or private charter. In the interim, I plan to become an airline executive, potentially complete a few flight certifications, and possibly diversify my portfolio by investigating a few aviation-engineering concepts, like electric passenger aircraft.

What will you remember about your time here at Ohio State?

I will remember the moment I have dreamt about for a lifetime —  finally wearing my black robe and graduating with my bachelor’s degree.



Donors are the reason I have been able to complete my undergraduate degree, pilot license and study abroad experience.

Torrington FordClass of 2023