From the Hangars

Donor Spotlight: Whit Hawkins

Jan 30, 2018

W. Whitley "Whit" Hawkins

Whit Hawkins, former President and Chief Operating Officer for Delta Air Lines played an integral role in developing the airline as a brand both domestically and internationally. Hawkins served much of his career at Delta in Sales and Marketing, becoming Executive Vice President of Marketing, and eventually President of the company. 

Last fall our Archives team was able to visit the Hawkins home in Marco Island, Florida. Sadly Whit had passed away, but his wife Betty and his children were gracious enough to donate much of his collection to the museum in order to preserve his legacy with Delta. And what a collection it is! 


As a leader in the sales and marketing field, Hawkins helped forge Delta partnerships with other well know national brands and companies. These included the Walt Disney Company, rental car companies and sports organizations, such as The Kentucky Derby and the Professional Golfer's Association of America (PGA). 


Domestically, Hawkins not only brought Delta together with other companies, but also promoted service to new cities and stations. He was given this pair of custom Tony Lama boots with Delta branding for his work in bringing Delta to El Paso! 


Some of Whit Hawkins' most cherished achievements at Delta included the much celebrated merger with Western Airlines, the development of the Delta Connection program and the Worldspan computer system, and the acquisition of the Pan Am's shuttle and North Atlantic routes.  


The acquisition of Pan-Am's North Atlantic routes paved the way for Delta's emergence as a global airline in 1991. As Executive Vice-President of Marketing, Hawkins helped promote Delta's worldwide expansion and grow the company to what it is today. 

Many thanks to the Hawkins family for their generosity in donating Whit's collection to the Delta Flight Museum. We are very fortunate to have such an extensive collection of Delta's marketing artifacts.

Click the link to see and learn about all the objects in the Whit Hawkins Collection, and stay tuned, more of his collection will be showcased in a temporary exhibit later this year!   

Austin Coleman

Archives Assistant

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  1. Michael Pulli | Jan 30, 2018

    As Dist Mktg Mgr of ELP at the time, I proudly presented those boots to Whit.  Great man,  loved working for him!!!

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