In July 20, the world celebrated a legacy: the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo moon landing. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, the first people to walk on the moon, at once made history and became legends.
This summer, we at Embry-Riddle also celebrated, as two legendary administrators took off for new horizons. Together, Chancellor Frank Ayers (’87) and Dean of Students Larry Stephan (H ’15) helped build the legacy that is today’s Prescott Campus. Frank stepped down after a decade as chief administrator of the campus to return this fall to the classroom, once again, as professor for the College of Aviation at the Daytona Beach Campus. And, Larry, who moved to Prescott in 1979 to be the campus’s director of recreational sports and became dean of students in 2009, retired after more than 40 years of service.
I have had the good fortune to work with both of these legends.
Since moving to the western campus 10 years ago, Frank and his wife, Debbie, have mentored and managed their Prescott Campus “Homestead” and its family members with incredible respect, hard work, discipline and tender loving care.
The result: new facilities, increased enrollments, new degree programs, greater student and faculty diversity, seven new athletic programs, and six (more) National Flight Championships, to name just a few. Thankfully, Frank’s servant leadership will continue at Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach.
Nearly every Prescott Campus student has heard Larry call their name as they crossed the stage to accept their diploma. A regular commencement announcer, his and his wife Brenda’s positive influence extended beyond the athletics program that Larry built from the ground up. In 2015, Larry was named an honorary alumnus of the university for his leadership and contributions to the campus community. In addition to the unwavering support they’ve given students and families over the years, Larry and Brenda created the Larry K. and Brenda S. Stephan Champions of Character Endowed Scholarship. To support the scholarship: givingto.erau.edu/stephan.
Growing Eagle Graduates
This past spring, the office of Alumni Engagement welcomed more than 1,700 graduates into the Eagle family — our largest collective class of graduates to date. If you ever have doubts about the future of our industry and its leaders, attend one of our commencement ceremonies. I assure you that you will be impressed and encouraged.
I am proud to announce a new series of Embry-Riddle podcasts — featuring your fellow alumni. To listen, search your favorite podcast app for “WIKD Studios,” the student radio station at the Daytona Beach Campus. For more information: alumni.erau.edu/podcast.
Additionally, we will be hosting Lunch and Learn lectures at various locations throughout the country in the coming year. Let us know if you have an area of expertise you’re willing to share.
As you review this issue, I hope that you can see the difference that Eagles make in and for the world. We look forward to seeing you and hearing about your successes. Please call, stop by the office or come to an event. OctoberWest (Oct. 3-5) at the Prescott Campus and Homecoming at the Daytona Beach Campus (Oct. 10-12) are just around the corner. I hope to see you there!
Forever an Eagle,
Bill Thompson (’87)