Simply E R A U ,Eagles Soar!

As my blog says travel and anecdotes well it’s time to come back to a bit of a story on my past. We write about beautiful interesting places we visit and or live/d and I recount my every day living on my series Some news from …. but I have souvenirs never to be forgotten either ,such as my university days. Do you have university days stories to tell? I have plenty but let’s keep it clean lol! I will tell you a bit more on my university ERAU, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.

I was living in New Jersey where I grew up, and college time came in , my dream at those tender ages was to go into aviation and from a friend heard about ERAU= Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. One application form and I was accepted right away ,this was back in Augusut 1977 ::)

I have written a post early in 2011 on this episode here:
https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/01/12/my-college-days-in-florida-usa-erau/

Now I want to tell you a bit more on the University per se. Briefly, here it is the story.

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is a private university system offering associate, bachelor, master’s, and PhD degree programs in arts and sciences, aviation, business, engineering, computer programming, cyber security and security and intelligence. It is the largest, fully accredited university system specializing in aviation and aerospace, and has campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona, and other 22 locations around the world mostly in US military bases.

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. In 1939 Riddle, John Graham McKay and wife Isabel re-established the school in Opa-Locka airport near Miami, Florida. It is still there as a general aviation/business airport, webpage here: http://www.miami-airport.com/opalocka.asp

John Paul Riddle I had the pleasure of meeting him. He had admission to both the US Naval Academy and West Point and finally chose the first one. He met later on one of his former flying student now with some wealth Talon Higbee Embry and with a contract from Waco Aircraft both founded the Embry-Riddle Company in 1925! The only had two Jenny airplanes and a dream.

They won several air mail routes and eventually Cincinnati got air mail service By now the service was flawless and by 1927 was the only of two companies that could fly passengers, the other was the Boeing Air Transport Company. On a led by Gen Doolittle the flying school got to be one of the first instrument flight instruction in the USA. The Aeronautic Board of the Dept of Commerce gave the school the endorsement as a safe flight company, only five in the USA in 1929. As the business grew financing was found by W Averell Harriman and Co and Lehman Brothers to create a financial aviation company, Aviation Corporation of Delaware in March 1929. They purchase several smaller companies and this company later became the famous AVCO. By 1930, a new holding company was founded called American Airways (today still goes on as American Airlines)

In Florida, he came to continue his dreams by purchasing other companies in the aviation industry. In 1939, he founded in association with John G Mckay the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation, leaving the name of the original founder on the name of the school. the school flew even seaplanes on the McArthur Causeway in Miami. The school provided help to Great Britain in WWII, they were exposed directly as Europe had surrender to Nazi Germany and needed pilots to defend the island. they were shipped to Jacksonville (now major naval base at Mayport here: https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrse/installations/nas_jacksonville/about/history.html

From there ,they were transported by bus to the now famous fields of Carlstrom, Clewiston (no 5 British flying training school) , Dorr field, and the seaplane base in Miami. ERAU trainers did all the work on them, and later trained American pilots too! they have lease the Old Fritz hotel in Miami as headquarters located at NW 27 avenue or SR9. They trained pilots up to August 6 1945. By the time of the peace treaty more than 26K men and women had graduated their wings by the school.

In 1944 however, they have created the first flight training school in Brazil under the Escola Tecnica de Aviaçao in Sao Paulo, training 3500 Brazilians on how to flight before turning it over to the government. The School was now called the Embry-Riddle International School of Aviation. It signed contracts for training for advance flight to the Free French Republic pilots. By October 1947, the school finally moved to Opa-Locka.

The school contracted with the US Air Force to trained pilots there with more than 1500 graduating. Later, it continue training USAF pilots in the ROTC program ( Reserve Officers’ Training Corps). The school grew internationally training pilots from many countries including Cuba, China, Turkey, Belgium, England, Canada, etc. etc. By 1958 the 1000 students came from 21 countries and 44 US States. By 1963, the facilities at Opa Locka were too small for this growth. While the operations in South Florida the school trained over 40K students!

The new president (with John Paul Riddle on the board) became Jack Reed Hunt, he was famous as been the one piloting the first non stop round trip flight across the Atlantic in a US Navy blimp ZPG-2 in March 1957. The route was Massachusetts to Portugal, Africa, Puerto Rico, Cuba, to Florida. He received his presidential medals.

President Hunt (my school president during my time) did immediately the decision to move to bigger place a location needed to be found, candidates were Sebring, Fort Pierce, Plant City, outside Miami in Dade County ,and Daytona Beach. The city of Daytona Beach got going and did all it could to win the prize, and I am so glad they did!! Operation Bootstrap started moving the school ,setting up new campus there and all help from shoestrings by donations and help from the business community there. All was moved by ourselves and on trucks. Ormond Beach (where I later lived) decided against the move so the decision was to set up by the Daytona Beach Regional Airport (now name international) ,and also next to the Daytona Beach Speedway (NASCAR auto racing) on 185 acres of land. The school arrived at Daytona Beach operational on May 19 1965. Only 239 students including the 168 relocated from Miami.

By 1968, we had Cessna 150s, Piper Cherokee, single engine Aero Commanders, twin engine Beech B-18 and some biplane stearmen; by 1968 the school was accredited to the SACS or Southern Association of Schools and Colleges! By 1968 the first dormitory was built to housed 386 students, this was known as Doolittle Dorm 1 (my first dorm)!! three stories high. By 1970, the school was known as the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute earning approval by the FAA =Federal Aviation Administration. The info on the Dorm 1 Doolittle now see it here: http://daytonabeach.erau.edu/campus-life/housing/residence-halls/doolittle/index.html

Daytona Beach

By 1972, the school is known as we know it today , Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the one I came in on August 23 1977 to start classes! I visited many times President Hunt residence on the beach at Ormond by the Sea (now sold and gone a while back). This house we call it the Battleship as it look one from the distance, and we had the University Center where the cafeteria was at ,to eat and mingle you know. By my first year 1977, the school already counted with 2 725 students! me included lol!

Daytona Beach

By 1979, Times Magazine called us the “Harvard of the sky” And before that in 1978, we purchase Prescott college in Prescott Arizona to serve as our western campus. The International Campus was started ,now call the Extended Campus with over 100 locations many online. Now the Daytona Beach and Prescott campuses have both about 5000 students. President Jack Hunt passed away of cancer in January 7 1984 RIP. He said, ” it may be easy to get in to Embry-Riddle, but it is not easy to get out” amen.

As the new team took over the school continues to grow and influence the world of aviation. In 1986 , the school was awarded the management training of the FAA and a specific center was opened in Palm Coast.

Ok not all is goody goody, the Administration announced in July 2014 that Embry-Riddle has been accepted into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II membership. Embry-Riddle began intercollegiate athletics competition on its Daytona Beach Campus in 1988. Well not really, from the photos you will see that I participated in the NCAA Div 2 soccer program already in 1978-1980 playing against much bigger schools like FIU, Univ of Florida, Univ Central Florida, South Florida Tampa, etc with good results, winning records. However, the school decided to leave sports in 1981 and even with petitions by students the decision remained until starting again in 1988. The unfortunate thingy here is that those who participated before are not been recognized in school records!!! We had , also, baseball, tennis, and golf teams.  And of course, we had intramural sports and I did volleyball and softball, photo. The special site for athletics is here: http://erauathletics.com/index.aspx

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach

The school has won several prizes in aviation flight competition; these are call NIFA/SAFECON , and remain the provider of about 50% of US Air Force pilots the best flyboys in the world! Following a short illness, on April 6 1989, John Paul Riddle passed away at his home in Coral Gables, near Miami he was 87 yrs. old. RIP sir. His last airplane ride took place on April 10th when following funeral services and a memorial service at the University, his ashes were sprinkled over Biscayne Bay and in the Oak Ridge cemetery at Arcadia, Florida.

Information gathered from memories, yearbook Phoenix from graduation 1982,(and my yearbook photo!)  and the book “The Sky is Home”, and the Alumni directory of 1998 all jealousy guarded by yours truly.

 

Daytona Beach Daytona Beach Daytona Beach

There is an ERAU alumni network, that has tattled with lack of support for a long time. I was on the first meeting to do an alumni network at Harley Hotel in Atlanta, GA back in 1984; then another try from Florida at the city hall of Hollywood Fl back in 1994, and finally as the Director of Alumni relations in France where we have over 60 French students graduated from my university now working French aviation/Aerospace industry, some of them quite well designing the wings for the A 380 to test pilot on maiden mission Toulouse-Hamburg, to working on the Arianne rocket etc. I helped organized the Paris Air Show of several years back believe it was 2013 with a dinner organized by me at the prestigious Aviation club de France ; but nothing of support so I decided to leave the organizing back in early 2017, and the position still vacant. More on the alumni ERAU here: https://alumni.erau.edu/s/867/index.aspx

Another organization that does not exist no more and I was very active was the Management Club; I was the Treasurer 1981-82 and helped created the club as a non profit organization with the help of Accounting professor Mr Campbell and created the first scholarship fund to helped students pay for their book with the help of my Finance professor Mr De la Rosa back in 1980.  Both with the help of our councilor professor Mr Knabe.  These pictures are some of the souvenirs of this period;

Daytona Beach Daytona Beach

I, even kept some photos from class trips this one visiting the Hartfield Atlanta International Airport on a thrill bus ride and fun antics in the Days Inn hotel we stayed, location forgotten but the actions did not ::) The planes are Lockheed 1011 from Delta!

Daytona Beach Daytona Beach

Some more facts: Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is ranked by  U.S. News & World Report magazine in several categories for 2017:

Regional Universities South – Tie – 12th;  Best Colleges for Veterans – 8th; Best Engineering Programs (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) – Tie – 84th;   Best Graduate Engineering Schools – Tie – 104th;   Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) – Tie – 16th;  Best Online Bachelor’s Programs – 1st;   Best Online MBA Programs – Tie – 100th;
Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) – Tie – 55th

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is also ranked by Forbes’ List of America’s Top Colleges for 2016:

Top Colleges: 480;  Private Colleges: 319;  Grateful Grads: 381;  Forbes Financial Grade: B
America’s Best Value Colleges: 280

See the link info by the US News magazine here: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/embry-riddle-1479

And Forbes’s both campuses here: https://www.forbes.com/colleges/embry-riddle-aeronautical-university-daytona-beach/

https://www.forbes.com/colleges/embry-riddle-aeronautical-university-prescott/

The main webpage for ERAU here: https://erau.edu/

The ERAU bookstore online: https://www.bkstr.com/embryriddleaeronauticalstore/home

The ERAU lift magazine publication here: https://lift.erau.edu/

Still call the Avion campus newspaper here:  http://theavion.com/

And last but not least the story of the school via youtube video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gB4Ke5FrHU

Back in August, 2009, I visited Florida with the family and did pay a visit to ERAU as to show my boys the thrill of college non existent in France. We got a nice ride from the Alumni office to all of us, memories of young at heart.

Daytona Beach

Enjoy it the memories you have, they will follow you all over and the friendships made will stay with you forever. Happy Sunday, Cheers!

 

 

4 Comments to “Simply E R A U ,Eagles Soar!”

  1. Wow! That’s impressive! Are you a pilot too?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. it was but the job went other directions as one thing is the diploma and another the paycheck ::)

    Like

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