It’s your time to reminisce! Help Embry-Riddle celebrate its 90th anniversary (2016–2016) by sharing your memories at alumni.erau.edu/ERAU90. Read some of your submissions below.
Then and Now
My husband, Stephen Vaughn Tate (’81, DB), and I met at the University Center (UC) at the Daytona Beach Campus during orientation week in 1978. Being one of about 50 incoming female freshmen, needless to say it was slightly daunting. Steve claims that he asked to sit next to me at the UC during orientation and I responded, “If you dare,” although I thought I said, “I don’t care!”
Fast forward 37 years later, we are still together. We have two daughters, one son-in-law, and both of our children have amazing careers in the aviation/travel industry. Steve is a former U.S. Air Force B-52 air crewman, now an American Airlines (AA) Captain on the B-737 based at Miami International Airport. I spent the earlier part of my career working as a dispatcher/supervisor at American Eagle, and then went to work for AA on the Sabre Automation Technology side. We have both worked for AA/Sabre now for the past 25 years.
Embry-Riddle’s dean of student affairs at the time believed that we were the first married couple to graduate from Embry-Riddle.
I and a dozen other veterans started the Embry-Riddle Veterans Association at the Daytona Beach Campus in 1968. Semper Fi.
My memories are of Roy Jones’ stories about his three tours of Vietnam. Also, my favorite flight instructor, Jim Harvey. I will never forget them.
Living most of my life in Cuba, a country where flying was and still is a luxury, I could only dream of being close to an airplane. In 1977, I enrolled in the telecommunication engineering program at the Technical University (TU) of Havana. I graduated in 1982 and became an engineer in charge of tools, test equipment and documentation for testing and troubleshooting of radio communication equipment in an aviation repair station servicing the military. That was the closest I came to aviation in Cuba.
Later, I became a telecommunication professor at TU, Havana. Looking for the human liberties that we were denied in my country, I immigrated with my family to the United States in 1999, and my life changed completely. My first job in this country, which I am proud to say I am now a citizen of, was as an avionics technician for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145 repair station. For the first time in my life, three months after I arrived in the United States, I was on a path to accomplish my dream. I was part of the aviation community.
Today, I am a graduate of the Master of Aeronautical Science program at Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus, and I had the privilege of walking at the graduation ceremony beside my youngest daughter, Diana Rosa Cobas (’14, WW).
I feel I have accomplished in 16 years much more than I did in the 40 years that I lived in my country. Presently, I work for the FAA as a safety inspector. I am a member of Women in Aviation, and I have a lot of plans for the future. Today, thanks to this great country, the only part of my dream that is still pending is to be a pilot. Although I think time is catching up with me, I still believe that I can do it.
That day, from the skies, I will be giving thanks one more time to this country for the opportunity to make my dreams come true.