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Tuesday, 10 May 2016 17:56

Celebrating 90 Years Flying High

Written by Interim President Dr. John R. Watret
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in Aviation and Aerospace Education

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When brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright launched the first successful flight of a self-propelled aircraft near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, they made aviation history. On the same day, just twenty-three years later, barnstormer John Paul Riddle and businessman T. Higbee Embry ensured aviation’s future as they laid the foundation for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, now the world’s largest and oldest institute of higher learning focused on aviation and aerospace.

What began as an air mail company in 1926 in Cincinnati, Ohio, with roots in military training, has become an expanding research institution with more than eighty degree programs, two residential campuses, one hundred-twenty-five locations around the globe and over one-hundred-twenty-thousand alumni. Those graduates have gone on to define innovation across the aerospace industry as pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers, mechanics, business leaders, and astronauts.

Throughout 2016, the Embry-Riddle community will engage students, staff, faculty, alumni and the public sector through social media campaigns while they attend Embry-Riddle hosted air and trade shows. In addition to several events that will showcase the school’s historical and contemporary importance, a multi-state traveling exhibit one of Embry- Riddle’s original aircraft will give visitors an up close and personal opportunity to experience the magic of flight.

This summer, the university will be the host sponsor of this year’s historic Women’s Air Race Classic, featuring more than one-hundred professional and college female aviators.

The event kicks off this June at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Arizona campus and ends more than twenty-seven thousand miles away at the Daytona Beach campus.

Celebration of the anniversary will culminate in Daytona Beach on October 8 through 9th with Embry-Riddle’s Wings & Waves Air Show over the Atlantic Ocean. Scheduled performers include the US Air Force Thunderbirds, the US Army Golden Knights, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, Matt Chapman, the GEICO Skytypers and more. The show is free and open to the public. Regarding the 2016 events and public interest they are stirring up, Interim President Dr. John R. Watret said,

“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.”

The university kicked off its ninetieth anniversary last fall at its Prescott Campus as part of the annual OctoberWest homecoming event. That event showcased one of Embry- Riddle’s original aircraft, a 1928 WACO used in the school’s early days for flight training and air mail delivery. This historic plane is planned to take to the skies again as part of a Midwest and Southeastern US tour following its original air mail route.

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 eighty baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security and Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, through the Worldwide Campus with more than one-hundred-twenty-five 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

Read 786 times Last modified on Tuesday, 10 May 2016 18:03