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Embry-Riddle: Prescott's Shining Gem
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29 March 2017  

Embry-Riddle and the Prescott Airport are Prescott’s link to a brighter future. 

Embry-Riddle’s Chancellor Frank Ayers brought inspiring news to the Prescott City Council on Tuesday during their 1PM Study Session. From growing enrollment, and an increase in faculty hiring to new construction, Embry-Riddle is clearly on the upward track. 

As a matter of fact, this year’s graduation keynote speaker will be Governor Doug Ducey

Seven years ago, the fall enrollment at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) stood at 1673. In the fall of 2016, the enrollment had risen to 2439.

Next year, they expect the enrollment to reach the 2600 mark. 

“Our growth is at 46% in the last four years. Not only that, we’re bringing brighter people,” Ayers said. 

Ayers explained that some universities lower standards to increase enrollment, but not ERAU. “We’re raising standards and raising enrollments,” he said. “We’re getting better and larger at the same time.” 

In addition to the growth in enrollment, they’ve brought on more faculty with greater experience and specialized knowledge. 

Overall, the past seven years have shown an incredible amount of growth. 

Ayers proudly noted that the ERAU women’s golf team is now ranked 5th in the nation. ERAU competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and is part of the California Pacific Athletic Conference (CAL PAC). As a matter of fact, at the national level, both golf teams and their wrestling team earned top 25 national rankings. 

The men’s athletic teams offered at ERAU include: Basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, distance track and wrestling. Women’s sports include: Basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, distance track, softball and volleyball. 

ERAU has been in a perpetual building program since 2014, adding a new athletic complex, plus a new residence hall. Their new Science and Technology Building (complete with planetarium) will be complete in 2017. Already offering nearly 1200 beds, another residence hall is on the drawing board, adding about 280 more beds to the campus housing.

Plus, as Ayers pointed out, all this construction was done without any taxpayer dollars. 

Well-known for their superb aerospace program, ERAU offers much more to incoming students, such as training in high tech industries and the nation’s first College of Security and Intelligence program.

Sometime this summer, ERAU students will be placing their first satellite into space, and also sending up a rocket. 

Embry-Riddle isn’t just committed to improving their campus and educational opportunities, they want to make Prescott and greater Arizona better, too. “Our goal is to be a vital part of this community,” Ayers stated. “We are poised to grow with Prescott."

Not only is Ayers involved with the City and other educational institutions in the community, but the University contributes a strong economic impact. 

An important part of the Embry-Riddle contribution to the community is their partnership at the Prescott Love Field Airport. Not only is Ayers part of the committee for the Master Plan, he’s a valued voice for all things airport. Ayers firmly believes that the airport is the hub that can make a significant difference in the quad city area. 

After Ayers spoke, Dave Robb gave an update on the AOPA fly-in that took place last fall, and Legend Aviation’s General Manager Tom Juliani offered a perspective on the business of aviation. You can watch the entire presentation here: 

Later, during the Council voting session, Juliani was chosen to serve on and lead the new Airport Advisory Committee. Ken Foote was chosen as Vice-Chair. Other members of the committee are Jerry Kidrick, Michael Gjede and Kathy DeFraitis. 

Editor's note: Images courtesy of ERAU Powerpoint presented to the Prescott City Council on March 28.