Record-breaking fall enrollment marked the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic term at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityPrescott. ERAU President P. Barry Butler and Chancellor Anette Karlsson praised the faculty and staff for creating an educational atmosphere that continued to attract some of the brightest university students in the nation. They did so during the fall Board of Visitors meeting, Oct. 5 to Oct. 8, on campus. Butler, who had flown in from his office at the Daytona Beach campus in Florida, praised the Prescott campus for continuing to gain international recognition for its various programs during the OctoberWest festivities.
U.S. News & World Report Rates ERAU among Best
The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott campus was rated No. 1 in the United States in three separate categories in this year’s ranking of residential campuses. It also received other commendations: • Best Regional College in the Western Region.
• Best for Veterans in the Western Region (second consecutive year)
• Most Innovative Schools in the Western Region. It was cited as:
• No. 2, Best Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Programs for schools without the Ph.D. option
• No. 5, Best Value Schools
When combined with the Worldwide Campus program, ERAU was ranked No. 1 for Best Online Campus programs in the nation. Total fall enrollment was 3,166 students, 194 more than same time last year. By class, the breakdown was 744 freshmen, 718 sophomores, 647 juniors, 1,014 senior, and 43 graduate students. By gender, there are 2,287 males and 879 females. Karlsson said, “This is a record-setting year, the largest enrollment ever on campus. Our students enjoy the opportunity to learn in our experiential environment while working on scientific, technical and leadership challenges for the future.” She discussed the new five-year plan for growth and expansion that will soon be announced. She cautioned that plans are tentative as to when actual construction or renovation would begin. Supply chain breakdowns, in addition to building and construction material shortages and labor shortages have caused major price increases, with consequent slowdowns, she said. Projects include construction of a new wind tunnel to replace the one that has reached its lifetime. A new student union building is planned. At some point a new residence hall will be constructed to meet the increasing student growth. Renovation as well as demolition of some older buildings on campus is being considered. Also, considerable expansion of ERAU flight line facilities at the airport is under consideration.
Deans Describe College Growth
Deans of the four academic colleges — engineering, aviation, business-security and intelligence, and arts and sciences — talked about growth in those programs. Dean Ron Madler, engineering dean, described ongoing internships and partnerships students and faculty had with NASA and other major research and industry leaders in engineering. Aviation Dean Tim Holt shared numbers demonstrating that students training to become pilots had grown substantially. He anticipated 1,100 or more next year and has purchased more airplanes. Dean Tom Drape, business-security and intelligence, said the university is adding a degree program. It is the only college with its unique emphasis in the nation. Arts and sciences Dean Zafer Hatahet said his college also is adding new degree programs.
University on Solid Financial Base
Steve Bobinsky, executive director, Office of Development-Prescott, told board members that philanthropy support continued to increase for the university. He noted that the institution awarded $2.3 million in scholarship support to students and expects those numbers to increase. “Generous contributions help support undergraduate research, and also support networking and internship opportunities and STEM outreach efforts, especially in our surrounding neighborhoods and Northern Arizona and the greater Phoenix metro area,” he said.
President Shares State of University Address
President Butler said, “Our No.1 priority on all of our campuses and centers, is giving personal attention to student success. Our independent ranking by U.S. News & World Report demonstrates our unwavering commitment to prepare tomorrow’s leaders in aviation aerospace, business, cybersecurity, engineering and STEM fields.” Butler also said ERAU had received full accreditation from the Southern Association of College and School Commission on Colleges. Following a series of visitations and activities in various departments and schools across campus, OctoberWest weekend ended with an Eagle Alumni Award Dinner. Michelle Day, director of alumni relations for the western region, introduced six past graduates who were honored for their personal and professional accomplishments. The dinner was following by a “Drone Show,” which replaced the traditional fireworks display. As Chancellor Karlsson phrased it, “Fireworks are so 14th century technology. Drones more embrace what Embry-Riddle is about.”