Loud cheers and applause greeted fall term 2019 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduates when they entered the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley Dec. 14.
The record fall graduating class included 244 students from 15 nations, who represented the ERAU-Prescott and Worldwide campuses. Further, 22 graduates were commissioned as second lieutenants — 17 into the U.S. Air Force and four into the U.S. Army.
Ceremonies were guided by ERAU President Barry Butler from the Daytona Beach, Florida, campus and ERAU Prescott Chancellor Anette Karlsson.
Karlsson praised the graduating class, saying they were among the brightest students ever to receive degrees from the prestigious aviation and aerospace university. This past year, almost 3,000 students were on the Prescott campus.
The commencement speaker was state Rep. Arlando S. Teller, a native of Chinle who was the first Navajo to receive a degree from the ERAU-Prescott campus in 1995.
Using the symbol of an eagle feather, a sacred bird in Navajo culture, Teller said it was appropriate the eagle was also the mascot for the university. He said, “The eagle represents the greatest, strongest and most powerful strength and harmony to the Great Spirit we can have. I have the same faith in the eagle as part of the ERAU educational process.”