Cessna CEO Under Gun For Degrees

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Near as we can tell, Jack Pelton hasn't broken any laws, lied, cheated or stolen anything or done anything that thousands of people don't do quite legally every day. But the Cessna CEO's job could still be on the line after a 60 Minutes segment on his alma mater, Hamilton University. The news program noted that Pelton was among thousands that have e-mail-order degrees from the now-defunct university that was, until the state changed its laws, based in Evanston, Wyo. Pelton had both a bachelor's and master's degree in aerospace engineering but CBS claims they aren't worth the paper they're written on. For now, at least, Cessna seems to be standing by Pelton. Although no interviews have been granted by Pelton or any other senior Cessna officials, Karen Gordon, a spokeswoman for Textron, Cessna's parent company, said, "We researched his background thoroughly." That background includes management of the Fairchild Dornier 728JET regional jet program and 20 years with McDonnell Douglas before joining Cessna as senior vice president for product engineering three years ago. "He was hired as Cessna's vice president of engineering based on the merits of his experience and accomplishments and has earned the title of president and chief executive officer as a result of his continued great work and strong leadership," Cessna said in a statement issued Thursday.