Embry-Riddle Shares Milestone Anniversary with Birth of Aviation
December 16, 2015
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  • December 17 is a day well known by the aviation industry.

     It marks the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled aircraft near Kitty Hawk, N.C., by brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903.

     But on the same day, just 23 years later, barnstormer John Paul Riddle and businessman T. Higbee Embry laid the foundation for what is now the world’s largest and oldest institute of higher learning focused on aviation and aerospace. Thanks to their vision, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is now preparing to commemorate the 90th anniversary of that landmark day.

      What began as an air mail company in 1926 in Ohio with roots in military training has transformed into an expanding research institution that offers more than 80 degree programs, two residential campuses, more than 125 locations around the globe and serves more than 120,000 alumni who keep industries running safely, efficiently and on the cutting edge of innovation. Embry-Riddle graduates have gone on to drive innovation across the aerospace industry and beyond as pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers, mechanics, business leaders, astronauts and more.

     Throughout 2016, the Embry-Riddle community will engage students, staff, faculty, alumni and the public through social media campaigns on the university’s official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, in person at air and trade shows, and with a multi-state tour of a piece of the school’s history – one of its original aircraft.

     Celebration of the anniversary will culminate in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Oct. 8-9 with Embry-Riddle’s Wings & Waves Air Show over the Atlantic Ocean. Scheduled performers include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, Matt Chapman, the GEICO Skytypers and more. The show is free and open to the public.

      “As we salute the visionaries of our past, we are encouraging not just our own community, but anyone with a passion for aviation and aerospace to join us in our commitment to sustaining Embry-Riddle as the university of tomorrow,” said Interim President Dr. John R. Watret. “The time is now to ensure our continued leading role in inspiring and educating future leaders throughout the industry.”

     The university kicked off its 90th Anniversary earlier this year at its Prescott, Ariz., campus as part of the annual OctoberWest homecoming event showcasing one of its original aircraft, a fully restored 1928 WACO used in the school’s early days for flight training and air mail delivery. This one-of-a-kind plane is planned to take to the skies again as part of a Midwest and Southeast U.S. tour following its original air mail route as part of the university’s yearlong celebration of its 1926 founding in Cincinnati, Ohio.

     Recent record enrollment, construction and expansion at the university’s two residential campuses in Florida and Arizona as well as the announcement of a high-tech Research Park groundbreaking at its Daytona Beach Campus signify a year filled with milestones. Embry-Riddle has also solidified its reputation as a global leader through its more than 125 Worldwide campuses, a rapidly growing Singapore campus and new educational partnerships in South America and Australia. For the past 16 consecutive years, Embry-Riddle has been ranked No. 1 in Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering by U.S. News & World Report as well as being consistently identified as a Top Online Educator for Veterans by the publication.

    Earlier this year, in an ROI (Return On Investment) PayScale ranking of more than 1,000 public and private colleges and universities in the United States, Embry-Riddle’s Prescott Campus was No. 1 in Arizona and the Daytona Beach Campus was No. 2 in Florida in the category of Best Value Colleges.

     To view an interactive timeline of the last nine decades of Embry-Riddle history and explore the evolving footprint of Embry-Riddle’s campuses, go to erau.edu/90. Also at this site is information on how the public can be part of the restoration efforts of the WACO aircraft and anniversary events and programs.

     For Embry-Riddle’s 2016 Wings & Waves sponsorship opportunities, contact Evan Blass at (386) 226-7301; evan.blass@erau.ed.

     About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

     Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.