Dr. P. Barry Butler Named New President of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Board of Trustees has named Dr. P. Barry Butler, Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Iowa, as the sixth president of the world’s leading institution of higher education focusing on aviation, aerospace and research.

During a meeting Feb. 14 at the university’s headquarters in Daytona Beach, the Board unanimously appointed Dr. Butler to the position after he received across-the-board support from the Presidential Search Committee that included trustees, faculty, staff and student representatives and delegates from the university’s Daytona Beach, Prescott, Ariz., and Worldwide campuses. Florida-based Greenwood/Asher & Associates led the executive search and worked in conjunction with the University search committee.

“It is important to note that Dr. Butler received 100 percent endorsement from everyone involved in this search. From the members of the Presidential Search Committee and the Faculty Advisory Committee all of the way through the short list to the final approval of the Board of Trustees, there was one name that consistently rose to the top. And that was Dr. Butler,” said Mori Hosseini, Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee. “As a university, we thank Dr. Karen Holbrook for her interim leadership during the search for our president. We are confident that Dr. Butler will continue to take Embry-Riddle’s entire community to the next level.”

Dr_ButlerDr. Butler will assume his position as President on March 13.

“I’m thrilled to be named Embry-Riddle's next president and look forward to building upon the outstanding global reputation of the university,” said Dr. Butler. “The energy and passion of the faculty, students, staff and Board members I've met throughout the interview process made it clear I'm joining a very special institution.”

Dr. Butler joined University of Iowa faculty in 1984 as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and subsequently progressed to the rank of professor. Before entering administration in 1998, Dr. Butler served as a member of the Engineering Faculty Council, as well as University of Iowa’s Faculty Senate and Faculty Council. Other positions held by Dr. Butler at the University of Iowa include Department Executive Officer of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Interim Dean and Dean of Engineering, where he holds the rank of full professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

In his current role as provost, Dr. Butler has been responsible for more than 100 academic programs in the university’s 11 colleges, oversees the Division of Continuing Education, the Library and Art Museum and is responsible for a general education fund budget in excess of $700 million. He has been instrumental in advancing the university’s strategic plan, is responsible for coordinating the academic components of the arts campus rebuilding effort and provides leadership in the university’s recent cluster hiring initiatives in water sustainability, aging mind and brain, digital public arts, and humanities and informatics.

During his 10 years as dean, the College of Engineering experienced record growth in undergraduate enrollment, external research funding and private support for faculty development, programmatic initiatives, facility improvements and student scholarships.  To better prepare graduates for success in the global economy, Dr. Butler established the Hanson Center for Technical Communication, a resource center devoted to improving the oral and written communication skills of students, initiated the “Grabbing the Globe” lecture series to promote global awareness, and developed and implemented Virtual International Project Teams, an inter-institutional program that partners Iowa’s students with students from other countries on global design projects. Dr. Butler has provided leadership in a number of graduate programs and research initiatives including the establishment of combined BS/MS programs and the creation of two highly successful, multi-college research centers. He also has supervised 34 undergraduate research projects, advised or co-advised 18 master’s students and eight doctoral students, and has developed and taught 14 different courses.

“I enjoy connecting with students and have remained engaged in teaching and advising as my career has progressed through administration. I look forward to working with Embry-Riddle's outstanding students who are the lifeblood of the institution,” said Dr. Butler. “I also look forward to meeting with faculty and staff to hear their vision of the university's future.”

Dr. Butler earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979 and 1981, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 1984, also from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In addition, Dr. Butler is active in a number of aerospace-related instructional and research activities at University of Iowa, where he also serves as campus coordinator of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium, a state-wide organization funded by NASA for the past 21 years whose mission is to coordinate and improve the state's future in aerospace science and technology and to stimulate aerospace research, education and outreach activities throughout the state. He established a state-wide consortium (iawind.org) focused on research and curricular development that advances Iowa’s competitiveness in the field of wind energy with his own research in the area of non-ideal reactive fluid flow modeling. For the past decade he has worked closely with the automotive industry to develop advanced computer models for use in the design, development and analysis of occupant restraint safety systems. He has experience working as a visiting research fellow for the U.S. Navy and Sandia National Laboratories and as a visiting faculty member at Universite de Provence in Marseille, France. He has served as a professional consultant with Combustion Sciences Incorporated, Princeton Combustion Research Laboratories, Iowa Public Defenders Office, TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Automotive Systems Laboratory, Battelle Memorial Institute and Praxair Surface Technologies.

Butler currently serves on the boards of several state and national technology-based organizations committed to economic growth and advancing science, technology, engineering and math education. Butler also serves as the Governor’s delegate to the Aerospace States Association. As an active participant in Eastern Iowa’s Corridor STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Initiative, he has been a strong advocate for working with industry, community colleges and K-12 educators to promote STEM education.

He is married to Dr. Audrey Butler, a lecturer in Chemical Engineering, and they have three children: Ben, 25, Logan, 23, and Savannah, 21.

For information on the search for Embry-Riddle's next president, see the "Presidential Search Update" page.

Media Contacts:

  • Melanie Hanns, Director of Media Relations, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; (386) 226-7538; melanie.hanns@erau.edu
  • James Roddey, Director of Communications, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla.; Office: (386) 226-6198; Cell: (386) 846-1835; james.roddey@erau.edu

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.