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Embry-Riddle Interim President Dr. Karen Holbrook and Chancellor Of the Prescott Campus Dr. Frank Ayers join faculty, staff, students and special guest to sign a steel beam from the new STEM Education Center currently under construction. (Photo by David Massey)

Eagles Celebrate STEM Education Center and New Residence Hall

Gathered at the edge of a bustling construction site, hundreds of Eagles made their mark in Embry-Riddle history by signing a beam that will become part of the new STEM Education Center building.

Joseph Scrivens was among some of the first students to sign the steel beam on Thursday alongside faculty, staff, Board of Visitors members and local dignitaries. The aerospace engineering student is eagerly looking forward to working in the cutting-edge laboratories when the building is completed in the summer of 2017.

“I’ve watched the building go up for the last few weeks,” said Scrivens, a freshman, who started classes this fall. “It’s fantastic to be invited to be a part of its progress.”

The $21.5 million center promises to take education and research opportunities to the next level at the Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus. Featuring a variety of computing, simulation and robotics labs, and a community-friendly planetarium with more than 120 seats, the STEM Education Center will be a cutting-edge science facility for the 21st century. View construction via live camera.

Students will have access to the latest technology and equipment to translate information and ideas into real-world problem-solving skills. This research-rich environment will also inspire and enable students to pursue degrees and careers in high-paying STEM-related professions.

John Markham, a member of the Board of Visitors group and 1996 graduate, said the campus has transformed since his days a student. “The STEM building gives us new facilities to match the quality of students we have,” he said.

His daughter, an electrical engineering major, will have the opportunity to enjoy a new era in STEM education at Embry-Riddle.

The STEM building will also bring the community together in the coming years as local educators begin to take advantage of the assets at Embry-Riddle, Markham said, noting its potential to also be a significant economic driver for the area.

Earlier on Thursday, students, faculty and staff also gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Embry-Riddle’s newest residence hall, the Thumb Butte Apartments. 

Construction was completed this summer on the new residence hall – a three-story facility featuring 66 units with 264 beds at double occupancy. Featuring a lounge and patio area on the first floor, a community lounge on the second floor and a fitness center on the third floor, the hall also offers majestic views of the surrounding area including Granite Mountain, Willow Lake, Granite Dells and the city of Prescott.

Interim President Dr. Karen A. Holbrook said she is proud of the campus’ new addition.

“First-class students deserve first-class housing. It makes a real difference in your education if you have a wonderful place to come home to,” she said. 

The new building meets the significant student enrollment growth over the last four years, said Dr. Frank Ayers, Chancellor of the Prescott Campus. “Growth of our university is due to some amazing things. Our retention and our graduation rate is now the best in the history of the university and it is thanks to all 400 faculty and staff members. Everyone on this campus is part of our retention committee.”

Dr. Holbrook and Dr. Ayers also recognized the various organizations and individuals that have played a role in designing and supporting a building that will increase student success, such as the Board of Trustees, the Board of Visitors, the Department of Housing and Residence Life staff, and Rodney Cruise, Senior Vice President for Administration and Planning.

“I would like to especially thank Board of Trustees Chairman Mori Hosseini and the entire Board of Trustees for their wisdom and vision in planning these two amazing facilities,” Ayers said. 

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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.