Lt Gen (ret.) Gene Kirkland
Executive Director, Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institute
After 34 years of service, Lieutenant General Gene Kirkland retired from the United States Air Force, where he held numerous leadership positions culminating with his service as commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
He joined the University of Oklahoma in December 2021 as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Aerospace & Defense Innovation Institute (OADII). In this position, he leads the institute’s efforts to connect with strategic partners in the aerospace, defense, and global security sectors, as well as strengthen OU research in support of Oklahoma’s aerospace and defense industry.
Gene holds master’s degrees in National Resource Strategy from National Defense University, in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, and in Administration from Central Michigan University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Florida, among other certifications and academic distinctions. Gene is also a Board Member of Special Olympics Oklahoma.