Celebration Banquet

The Hoover Presidential Foundation Celebration Banquet came about in 2014 as a way to recognize and celebrate recent achievements of programs and activities on the Hoover campus during the year. The celebration continues, as each year more and more gets accomplished! This year, for example, we've seen growth in the Library's S.T.E.M. programming, new and increasing sponsorship of a variety of programs including the Uncommon Student Awards, Music on the Village Green, youth Hoover-Ball, author talks and special speakers, and other programs within the National Historic Site. As you can see, we have a lot to celebrate!

The Foundation works in support of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, and participates in programs led by the West Branch Community Development Group and the City of West Branch. Gifts to the Foundation are used in support of a multitude of projects where they fit the Foundation's mission and vision. The Celebration Banquet is our largest, most prestigious fundraiser of the year. Reserve your seats now, or a table for 10, to hear Col. (ret) Mark Tillman share his stories of piloting Air Force One during the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

The banquet is Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Coralville Marriott. A cash bar reception for all guests begins at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby. The doors open to the banquet hall at 6:15 followed by the program at 6:30.

A private VIP meet and greet reception with Col. Tillman also begins at 5:30 p.m. Enjoy a short chat and a photo opportunity with the Colonel, light appetizers and an open bar. VIP reception tickets are included with Presidential Table Sponsorships and a limited number are available for single purchase at $75 while they last. The VIP receptions typically sell out quickly, so order your passes soon while they last! VIP reception guests must also be registered for the banquet.


Colonel Tillman's speech is titled, Air Force One: Zero Fail Mission, and leaves attendees on the edge of their seats as he describes flying the only aircraft in the skies over the United States during the hours after the 9/11 attacks. He'll also talk about being the first pilot to fly the President into a war zone and how they kept the mission top secret. His presentation has been described as captivating, wonderful, heartfelt, genuine and entertaining - one you don't want to miss!


Colonel (ret) Mark W. Tillman was selected as President George W. Bush’s pilot and the commander of Air Force One in 2001. Col. Tillman commanded AF-1 on Sep 11, 2001 keeping the President and his staff well protected and invisible to those that would do him harm. His plan of escape and evasion while ensuring the President remained connected to first responders and key decision makers around the world was of critical importance.
Excellence and motivation in a zero-fail environment is the cornerstone of Col. Tillman’s success.  Shortly after the liberation of Iraq the President asked to visit the men and women of the United States Military in Iraq. Specifically, he wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner with the troops. Traveling to the other side of the world with the President of the United States is challenging in itself, but this mission required Col. Tillman to develop a plan that ensured complete secrecy with little to no help from the US military. Fooling the world, he orchestrated and personally executed a covert operation allowing the President to serve the US servicemen and women Thanksgiving dinner in war-torn Baghdad, Iraq without incident. Once again, flawless planning and execution of a mission with high stakes and zero margin for error won the day.
Col. Tillman’s distinguished career spanned 30 years in the United States Air Force. Utilizing his Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical Engineering (Tulane Univ ’79), he worked as a Rocket Propulsion Engineer upon entering the service but was bit by the flying bug and was selected to attend USAF pilot training. His flying experience includes time as a T-37 Instructor Pilot for undergraduate pilot training, C-130 transport pilot, VIP airlift as a pilot in the Gulfstream III and IV and Presidential pilot in the VC-25 or Boeing 747.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 2004 and promoted to Brigadier General by the President of the United States—the first military line officer to receive this honor (not confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee). Honored to have served the White House, proud to be a member of the United States Military, Col. Tillman’s career is filled with potentially life altering events—responsibility that few leaders have experienced. 
Col. Tillman continues to mentor others serving as a consultant in the aerospace industry and flying as a corporate pilot.