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While the students in Stetson University’s Executive MBA Cohort 8 were getting prepared to fly across the Atlantic to visit South Africa in a just a few days, their director was flying as well — but mid-flight, he jumped out of the plane.

Dr. Stuart Michelson, dean of Stetson’s School of Business and director of Stetson’s Executive MBA program, went for a skydive last weekend at Skydive DeLand to celebrate his birthday. Jumping out of a plane at 13,500 feet might be too scary for some people, but Michelson called it “fun.”

“This is something you just have to tell yourself you’re going to do and then not let yourself back out,” said Michelson, after his jump. “Like many people, I don’t like heights, so the first step out of the plane is the hardest, but once you’re out, it’s great. The free fall at about 170 mph is a tremendous rush, and when the chute opens, you have a very peaceful quiet glide into the landing area. You can see for miles.”

This wasn’t Michelson’s first jump, though. In May 2010, he and another professor, the late Monique Forte, and eight Stetson University students went skydiving together, the day before graduation.

What’s up next for this daredevil, of course, is the trip to South Africa, where the current students in Cohort 8 are visiting for their international trip.

“It all seems very exciting,” said Michelson. “I’m especially looking forward to visiting the Apartheid Museum, the Pilanesberg Safari, the Robben Island Tour (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned), the Cullinan Diamond Mine and Warwick Winery.”

Michelson and the members of the cohort depart Orlando International Airport June 16 and return 10 days later. We’ll be posting updates throughout the trip on this blog. Stay tuned!

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