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Delta today reaffirmed its commitment to its people-oriented culture and honored the legacy of principal founder and first CEO Collett Everman Woolman by dedicating a new Boeing 737-900ER aircraft in his honor.

More than 700 Delta people – including employees, retirees, former executives and family members of C.E. Woolman – attended the event to celebrate what would have been Woolman’s 125th birthday on Oct. 8 and remember his legacy that is foundational to the airline Delta is today.

Joanne Smith, e.v.p. and chief human resources officer, was the emcee for the event, while Delta CEO Richard Anderson and Woolman’s grandson, Stephen Woolman Preston, gave remarks on Woolman’s leadership philosophy and values.

“What makes an airline great? In two words – customer service,” Preston said. “Mr. Woolman knew that, and Delta lives its commitment to customer service today.”

“What is an organization’s most important asset? Simple – its people,” Preston continued. “Mr. Woolman put people first. The Delta family was not a bumper sticker he came up with. It’s a culture – a culture of employee engagement that continues today.”

“There are not many companies in the United States today that are 87 years old and are at the very top of their industry,” Richard said. “This is an important teaching moment for all of us at Delta about what makes this organization great.”

The idea to dedicate an aircraft to Woolman came from an Atlanta-based Airport Customer Service employee. He was also recognized at the event today with a replica of the C.E. Woolman aircraft for his idea and commitment to preserving the Delta culture.

The Woolman aircraft is ship number 3827 and will go into service later this week.

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