The Eagle bond is strong. It’s exemplified in the pride, friendships, business connections, shared passions, brotherhood and sisterhood that all Eagles share. When our alumni come together, this bond is especially prevalent. I’ve had the recent privilege of witnessing this collective Eagle spirit first hand:
- At the second annual Black Alumni Network Reunion, industry leaders told stories of hardship, persistence and success to a roomful of attentive students — and bonded together to establish a Black Alumni Scholarship fund.
- At the 25-year reunion celebrating the founding of the WIKD radio station at the Daytona Beach Campus, Eagle DJs expressed their shared love of connecting fellow students through music.
- At the Hockey Club reunion, a group of 25 alumni and friends reminisced about the bond they built over ice, sweat, beer and blood.
- At a Lacrosse Club reunion, former teammates celebrated the friendships they formed through bruises, teamwork and banter.
- At the NIFA Golden Eagles Reunion, aviators from the Prescott Campus reunited over their shared dedication to team, school and a winning legacy.
- And, at 150-plus other alumni gatherings held across the globe in 2018, Eagles shared their stories, laughter and support for their alma mater and each other.
As graduates, we are driven to excel in our professions on an individual basis, but we also help our own. Every week, I hear of an alumnus who was hired by, guided to or learned of an opportunity from a fellow graduate that advanced their career. An example of this is Team Zephyrus. Three of the founding members of this startup aircraft leasing company are Embry-Riddle alumni. And the company is poised to hire another Eagle, as its business grows.
It is amazing how often I hear stories of relationships that started with the statement: “You graduated from Riddle, too?” It isn’t about campus or program. It’s about shared experiences — and offering a helping hand.
As the years pass so quickly, we often take our relationships for granted, but I encourage all Eagles to reach out to one another, reconnect, say “hello,” “thank you” and “how can I help you?” In addition, reach out to your unit, team, club, sorority or fraternity and come back as a group for a reunion. The office of alumni engagement will gladly assist.
Our campuses proudly sport the best resources and facilities, but you — our alumni — are the bricks and mortar: the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood that have shaped who we are today as a university. Please continue to build and strengthen your Eagle bond, because the rewards are infinite.
God bless you, and remember, you are Forever an Eagle.
Bill Thompson (’87)