Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University

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Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Seal.png
TypePrivate university[1]
Established1926; 95 years ago (1926)[2]
Academic affiliations
Endowment$172.4 million (2020)[3]
PresidentP. Barry Butler
Academic staff
2,396 full-time faculty and staff (2020) [4]
Students33,678 (2019–20) [5]
United States
ColorsBlue and Gold   
AthleticsNCAA Division II, NAIA
MascotErnie the Eagle

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is a private university focused on aviation and aerospace programs with its main campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, United States. It is the largest accredited university system specializing in aviation and aerospace.[6] It has numerous online programs and academic programs offered at satellite locations.


On December 17, 1925 Talton Higbee Embry and John Paul Riddle founded the Embry–Riddle Company at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. In spring 1926, the company opened the Embry–Riddle School of Aviation.[7] Following a merge with the Aviation Corporation (AVCO), the Embry–Riddle flying school was closed in 1930.[8]

The Fritz Hotel in Miami, Florida. Embry–Riddle occupied the building prior to moving to Daytona Beach, Florida.

In 1939 Riddle, John Graham McKay and wife Isabel re-established the school in Miami, Florida. Keeping the name, they partnered with the University of Miami to provide flight training under the Civilian Pilot Training Program, increasing the number of pilots immediately preceding World War II. Alumni of this school included future President of the United States John F. Kennedy.[9] Following rapid expansion, the school moved to the former Fritz Hotel.[10]

Preempting the announced closure of Tamiami Airport where then named Embry–Riddle Aeronautical Institute was conducting its flight operations, the school was moved to Daytona Beach in April 1965. Embry–Riddle became a nonprofit in 1959,[11] was awarded university status in 1968 and changed its name to today's name in 1970. Embry–Riddle started its worldwide program the same year and opened a second residential campus in Prescott, Arizona, in 1978.[8]

Though it began as a regional school for pilots and aircraft mechanics, the university enrolls more than 33,000[12] undergraduate and graduate students.[7]


The non-profit[13] university is accredited as a level VI institution by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the associate, bachelor, master's, and doctoral levels.[14] The university's programs in aviation maintenance, air traffic management, applied meteorology, aeronautical science, aerospace and occupational safety, flight operations, and airport management are accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI).[15] The bachelor and master's programs in business are accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).[16] All engineering programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) [17]

The programs in aeronautics, air traffic management, applied meteorology, and aerospace studies are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).[18] In July 2014, the university also became the nation's first FAA-approved training provider for student airline certification.[19]

Professional programs[edit]

ERAU hosts a variety of aviation-focused short-courses. All courses are offered in a classroom taught by industry experts.[who?] These courses – ranging in topic from Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Aircraft Accident Investigation and Management – are tailored for professionals involved in the operations, management, and supervision of aviation organizations.[20] The Worldwide campus offers courses either online, via video, or face-to-face globally and is headed by Gary Burke, Director – Office of Professional Education for the Worldwide campus.[21]

The Embry–Riddle Prescott Campus is home to the Robertson Safety Institute (RSI); a center for research, development, short courses, and corporate outreach in safety education. The campus has resources including the Robertson Crash Lab, Aviation Safety and Security Archives and immediate access to advanced engineering, scientific, and forensic resources.[22]

Collaborations with SUSS[edit]

The university collaborates with the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) on SUSS's Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance and Bachelor of Science in Aviation Business Administration.[23]


Daytona Beach, Florida[edit]

The Wright Flyer statue is the centerpiece of the Daytona Beach campus. The Jack R. Hunt Memorial Library is visible in the background.

Embry–Riddle's oldest residential campus (185-acre (0.75 km2)) and academic headquarters has been in Daytona Beach, Florida since the move from Miami in 1965. Built adjacent to the Daytona Beach International Airport, the campus is connected to an aircraft ramp owned by the university for flight training. The main campus consists of an aviation complex, academic quad and residence halls surrounding the student center and Jack R. Hunt Aviator Park. The campus has seven residence halls and one off-campus housing complex.[24] Athletic facilities, the Brigadier General William W. Spruance ROTC Center and the ICI Center are on the east side of campus.

This university's eastern campus serves 6,740 undergraduates and 781 graduate students from nearly 100 countries.[25][26] All first-year students live on campus with sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Fifty-two majors are offered at this location for 2020–21.[27] The engineering physics program at the Daytona Beach campus is among the largest undergraduate engineering physics program in the country and the only one specializing in aerospace.[28]

The Daytona Beach campus has a fleet of 62 Cessna Skyhawks and 10 Diamond DA42-VI's. The ERAU Flying Club's two Cessna 172s and the two Cessna 150s of the Eagles Flight Team are also parked on the ramp.[29]

Embry–Riddle's Daytona Beach campus has one of the most extensive Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs in the United States and the nation's largest Air Force ROTC program.[30] The ROTC program frequently wins national competitions.[31][32][33]

Prescott, Arizona[edit]

Arizona campus

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott opened in 1978. The University's campus in Prescott, Arizona is 100 miles north of Phoenix. The high-desert climate offers nearly 300 days of sunshine a year. The campus has an enrollment of about 2,000 students and covers 539 acres of western terrain.[34]

The flight training center is at nearby Ernest A. Love Field. Facilities at the Prescott Campus include the Aerospace Experimentation and Fabrication Building, a wind tunnel lab with one supersonic and four subsonic wind tunnels, the aviation safety center with an accident investigation lab, library, the 48,000 sq ft. academic complex, the engineering and technology center, chapel, dining hall, student union and residence halls. The Prescott Campus features four academic colleges and offers 19 bachelor's degrees and two master's degrees, as well as educational programs for youths, students, and working professionals.[35]

The Prescott campus offers the only Global Security and Intelligence Studies program in the US.

The First Year Experience program is designed to help students transition to college on academic, social, and educational levels. Students in FYE housing are grouped together by major, when possible, and reside with a staff that is specially trained to handle first-year transitional issues. All first-year students who have graduated high school within 12 months of matriculation are required to live in University housing for their first full academic year. Exceptions are made for students who are over 21 years old, are married or have a dependent, have a permanent address in Yavapai county at time of application to ERAU, or students who have lived on-campus at another institution of higher education for at least two semesters.[36] FYE students reside in the Mingus Mountain Complex or the Thumb Butte Complex and are required to participate in the Dining Services meal program.[37]

Embry–Riddle's two Air Force ROTC detachments form the largest university-based Air Force commissioning source in the nation. Embry–Riddle's AFROTC detachments also produce more commissioned officers, more pilots and other rated officers for the Air Force than any other institution in the nation except the Air Force Academy. Army ROTC also operates a large detachment on the Prescott Campus.[38]

The Prescott campus is home to the Golden Eagles Flight Team, which competes in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association. Prescott's Golden Eagles Flight Team has won the regional championship each year for the past 31 years, and the team is also twelve-time National Champions winning in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, and 2018.[39] With their twelve national wins, the team has also been inducted into the San Diego Air & Space Museum's Hall of Fame.[40]

Worldwide campus[edit]

Sign Outside Worldwide Headquarters in Florida

Embry–Riddle serves more than 22,000 students online and at 130 campuses,[41] more than 90 on military bases and the option to take online courses.[42] It offers 40 degree programs covering many areas in aviation, business, communication, computers, emergency services, engineering, human factors, management, safety, security, logistics, and unmanned systems.[43] Classes are offered online, via video to a classroom or home, or face-to-face.

Embry–Riddle Worldwide campus was established in 1970 and became a network of more than 130 learning locations, including military bases. The largest worldwide location being Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University Asia campus in Singapore[6][44] Embry–Riddle Worldwide also provides a virtual "online campus". U.S. News & World Report ranked Embry–Riddle #1 Best out of almost 300 Online Bachelor's Programs in 2016.[45] Facilities with aviation functions are available for students not able to attend a residential campus. Programs of study are offered at the undergraduate and graduate level (as well as certificate and non-degree), including the rare Master of Business Administration in Aviation (MBA-A),[46] ranked #74 Best Online MBA Program (out of about 250) in 2015.[47]


Daytona Beach
While rooted in aviation, research at Embry–Riddle's Daytona Beach Campus has expanded to include a diverse range of areas, including engineering, cyber and homeland security, human factors, modeling and simulation, and business. The same technologies and expertise faculty have developed and applied to aerospace and aviation related research, they now apply directly to other areas – space systems, high-performance vehicles, unmanned and autonomous systems, robotics, alternative and sustainable energy, medical human factors, commercial space operations and more.[48]

The university is expanding its partnerships with industry in developing the Aerospace Research and Technology Park adjacent to the Daytona Beach campus. Supported by new research centers and laboratories, this park will not only foster research growth on campus, but it will also provide an ideal setting for cross-fertilization and innovation between the campus and its partners. Embry–Riddle also manages the FAA NextGen Florida Test Bed, where technology is being developed that will support the nation's expanding air transportation needs. Research will contribute to reducing fuel consumption and associated emissions, improving situational awareness for pilots, and providing safer and more efficient passenger service.[48]

In 2017, Embry–Riddle partnered with an Orlando non-profit, FireSpring Fund, to aid five startups in their research and creation process. FireSpring awarded each startup $25,000 and Embry–Riddle offered each entrepreneurial support, seed funding, mentorship and a home base at the new university research park. The startups were: Embedded Control Designs LLC, Myers Devices LLC, Censys Technologies Corporation, Weintraus LLC, and Sensatek Propulsion Technology Inc. They researched and designed in the areas of: gas-turbine stability, drone data processing and communications, medical safety devices and spacecraft transportation.[49]

At the Prescott Campus, $60,000 in Eagle-Prize (E-Prize) Grants is available each year for student teams participating in collegiate, national or international design or research competitions. Teams that participate in high-stature competitions, have a diverse membership and demonstrate a great likelihood of success with sound methodology and clear business plans are most likely to receive funding.[50]

Ignite Grants, part of Embry–Riddle's Quality Enhancement Plan, are available up to $48,000 annually for students wishing to participate in research and innovation under the tutelage of a faculty mentor.[50]


The university announced in July 2014 that it had been accepted into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II membership process.[51] Embry–Riddle began intercollegiate athletics competition on its Daytona Beach Campus in 1988 and has since transformed into a highly successful program that sponsors 19 intercollegiate sports teams, as well as coed cheerleading. Embry–Riddle fields teams in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, softball, ice hockey, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, and women's volleyball.[52]

The Prescott Campus competes in nine sports: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, women's volleyball, and men's wrestling.[53]

During their time in the NAIA, the athletics program at the Daytona Beach Campus won the Sun Conference Commissioner's Cup for 16 consecutive years.[54]


University rankings
Forbes[56] 294[55]
THE[57] 601–800
U.S. News & World Report[59] 11 [58]

Embry-Riddle earned three placements in the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best Colleges rankings in the Regional Universities South category.[60]

  • Regional Universities South -– Tie – 9th
  • Best Colleges for Veterans – Tie – 5th
  • Best Undergraduate Teaching – Tie – 20th

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report in several categories for 2020:[58][61][62]

  • Regional Universities – Tie – 11th
  • Best Colleges for Veterans – Tie – 4th
  • 2nd Most Innovative Schools and 42nd Best Value Colleges
  • Best Engineering Programs (at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) – Tie – 83rd
    • Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical (at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) – 4th
    • Best Graduate Engineering Schools – Tie – 111th
  • Best Online Bachelor's Programs – 1st
  • Best Online MBA Programs – Tie 113th
  • Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) – Tie – 59th

In May 2014, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Embry–Riddle Worldwide one of the nation's top online educators for veterans.[63]

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is also ranked by Forbes' list of America's Top Colleges for 2018[55] 294th among "Top Colleges", 205th among "Private Colleges", 361st for "Grateful Grads", and 272nd among "America's Best Value Colleges." The magazine also awarded the university a "B" Forbes Financial Grade.



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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°11′19″N 81°02′55″W / 29.18857°N 81.04871°W / 29.18857; -81.04871