In a new year, it’s traditional to look back at the past year and to set new goals. I’m always looking forward, especially to getting those job announcements from our newest flock of graduates. Every time a freshly minted Eagle tells me about the fascinating and exhilarating new job they’re undertaking, I know I’m in the right job.
I get that same sense of achievement when I hear about your careers as alumni. Your successes across the world, your contributions to new discoveries and your personal commitment to growing and transforming aviation and aerospace are a daily inspiration to me. Your constant quest for innovation and excellence is what distinguishes Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and our people.
Our goal is ambitious: To advance the industry by sharpening the world’s brightest and most eager minds and helping them achieve their best. That’s true for our next crop of graduates and alumni who have been in the business for 40 years. A key part of reaching this goal is your involvement. There are countless stories of alumni reconnecting with Embry-Riddle and realizing a new passion for mentoring young Eagles. Our students, in their classes and independent projects are so inspiring, you will want to see firsthand their progress and their vision for aviation and aerospace.
At this year’s homecoming festivities at our Prescott, Arizona, and Daytona Beach, Florida, campuses, scores of alumni found a new perspective on their alma mater. That was particularly true as students briefed College Philanthropy Council members on their projects that entail building better, more economical rockets or helping NASA incorporate new ideas into future missions. Inevitably, these alumni and industry leaders become even more committed to supporting and nurturing the brilliant students they just met 30 minutes before. That’s the power of alumni and students working together.
That engagement offers real benefits: Since the inception of our Philanthropy Councils in 2020, they have awarded 35 scholarships and funded 62 innovative student projects. This fall, the Councils disbursed $108,583 across 22 student projects, and $10,083 was awarded in additional funding beyond council memberships. A proposal for a “Daytona Beach Propellant Feed System” received the most significant funding, $11,000 from the College of Engineering Philanthropy Council. The project will allow the winning students to test-fire their own rocket propulsion engines.
You will realize the maximum benefits of your degree through connecting with your fellow alumni and with your university. That can take many forms through joining our alumni network on LinkedIn, visiting your campus or joining us for a variety of online events. You enrich the lives of incoming graduates when you join or start an alumni network in your city. You can also support students through the One University Scholarship Fund at givingto.erau.edu/one. Whatever form of engagement suits your style, the goal is to nurture our connection to each other and to Embry-Riddle.
That connection is why we are still here, still effectively preparing future leaders, almost 100 years later.