It’s been 30 years since I graduated from Embry-Riddle (1987), and I realized the other day that I was still looking up. Isn’t that how we determine the Embry-Riddle graduates in a crowd, especially when a jet is passing overhead? But instead of gazing at an airplane in flight, I found myself looking up at cranes dotting the landscape. These cranes signal the next step in construction for the John Mica Engineering & Aerospace Innovation Complex (completed in March), the new student union building at the Daytona Beach Campus and the new STEM Education Center and Planetarium at the Prescott Campus.
These facilities aren’t the only things rising on our campuses: Enrollments are up, our students’ grade-point averages are up, and our faculty and staff complement is also growing. Great things are happening at your alma mater.
I’m proud that our alumni are active contributors to their professions and to their communities around the globe — and that they are equally active close to home. For example, the alumni brothers of the Delta Chi fraternity at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus are making history this year as the first fraternity to build a house on Embry-Riddle property. The project started in 2016 and will culminate with a celebration in October.
I also look up to all of you who helped make this a banner year of attendance and generosity at our growing number of alumni events. To the hundreds of you who donated to your favorite Embry-Riddle cause while registering for events: Thank you. Your support makes a difference.
As I reflect on the immense positive impact of Embry-Riddle, I look up in appreciation and praise for the many Eagles, like our dear friend John Olsen (H ’16), who have recently passed away. Their legacy of service to university and country lives on, making our world a better, safer place.
As we progress through 2017 and beyond, I encourage all Eagles to look up; strive to achieve new heights; reach out to your peers and mentors and thank them for their support and friendship. During your next visit to Embry-Riddle, be sure to look up (and tour) our new state-of-the-art facilities.
I also urge you to look up (like a true Eagle) online the Embry-Riddle alumni gatherings in your area and find a way to attend one in the near future; return to campus for OctoberWest or Homecoming; and seek ways to help others fulfill their dreams at Embry-Riddle. To all of my fellow Eagles, thank you for always being the best that you can be … I LOOK UP to all of you.
Respectfully and Forever an Eagle
Bill Thompson (’87, PC)