|The Embry-Riddle factor
When a highly regarded aviation university establishes multiple training facilities in
your back yard, it’s an affirmation of the role of aerospace in the I-10 region’s
If a region wants to be known as a hot spot for aerospace and aviation activities, it’s
helpful to have one of the world’s best-known aerospace institutions set up shop in
your back yard.
And it has, big time. Call it the Embry-Riddle factor.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide campus has had operations in the
Gulf Coast region for decades. It holds classes in New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile,
Pensacola, Milton, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview and Dothan.
That’s more than a lot of regions can say. Indeed, the first residence center was
established in the Gulf Coast region more than 40 years ago.
“Embry-Riddle Worldwide has an historical commitment to the United States military
and Coast Guard, which, appropriately, all started at Fort Rucker, Ala., in 1970,” said
Dr. Brad L Sims, chancellor of Embry-Riddle Worldwide.
“In addition to providing practical, unique, and quality educational programs to
Department of Defense and Coast Guard personnel, Worldwide serves commercial
aviation, aerospace, and other associated industries in this vitally-important, four-
state economic area.”
This year is Embry-Riddle’s 90th anniversary, and from its humble beginnings it has
grown to become one of the most highly-respected schools.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a non-profit, independent institution and the
world’s largest university specializing in aviation and aerospace. It has residential
campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and campuses at more than
130 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. And in a nod
towards modern learning, it also has online programs, which U.S. News & World
Report gave a No. 1 ranking.
Established in 1926 as Embry-Riddle Flying School in Cincinnati, Ohio, today it
awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and is accredited by
the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Programs in aeronautics, air traffic management, applied meteorology and
aerospace studies are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
For this region and elsewhere, a key program of the school is Embry-Riddle
Worldwide. Established in 1970, Worldwide has more than 130 campuses across the
globe, with 75 on military bases.
The largest employers of Embry-Riddle graduates are the U.S. Air Force and Army,
and it also can claim six graduates as NASA astronauts.
It’s also involved in research. It’s expanded its partnership with industry in developing
the Aerospace Research and Technology Park adjacent to the Daytona Beach
In the Gulf Coast I-10 region, there are Embry-Riddle operations at Panama City-
Tyndall; Crestview; Fort Walton Beach-Eglin; Fort Walton Beach-Hurlburt Field;
Pensacola-NAS Pensacola; Milton-Whiting Field; Mobile-U.S. Coast Guard ATC; Fort
Rucker, Ala.; Biloxi-Keesler; and New Orleans-Joint Reserve Base.
All those bases have aviation-related activities, but there are also many non-military
aviation activities in the region, including two NASA centers, an Airbus A320
assembly plant, an unmanned aircraft plant and more.
“Our density within the I-10 corridor characterizes our continuing commitment to
these groups, as well as a recognition of the economic value that this region brings
to the local, state, and national economy,” Sims said.
Embry-Riddle Worldwide serves about 1,400 students in the Gulf Coast region each
year. On average, there are usually 250 graduates a year from the Gulf Coast
Embry-Riddle Worldwide locations in Walton and Okaloosa counties in Florida
(Crestview, Eglin AFB, and Hurlburt Field) serve the largest number of students
within the region.
In the Gulf Coast region, Embry-Riddle has both civilian and military locations. At
civilian locations, Embry-Riddle Worldwide uses facilities that house classrooms and
administrative areas. At military bases, Embry-Riddle is located in the education
center with other schools.
Embry-Riddle Worldwide has partnered with the Okaloosa County School District to
provide students with a dual enrollment program through the Okaloosa Aerospace
Academy in the areas of aerospace, engineering, management and logistics.
Open to high school students in their sophomore, junior and senior years, the
academy offers fully weighted high school credit, three college credits per course,
FAA training, and relevant industry certifications from the FAA and in logistics.
Formerly known as the Aviation Institute, this program is currently offered at public
schools in Okaloosa County.
Embry-Riddle faculty members bring experience from the military, academia and
industry to the classroom. They design courses and curriculum in line with current
with trends and industry needs so students can immediately apply lessons learned
on the job. Many faculty members continue to work in their industries – whether
engineering, aerospace, aviation, military, corporate business or others – throughout
their teaching careers with Embry-Riddle.
“We are honored to play a large role in educating one of the most well-trained and
competent workforces in the United States,” Sims said.
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