Embry-Riddle’s Fall Commencement Makes History While Honoring the Anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ First Flight

The largest ever fall graduating class at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach Campus participated in a commencement ceremony that saw 540 students from 49 countries receive diplomas, including the largest group of doctorates ever awarded at a graduation.

Following the processional and presentation of colors, Provost Lon D. Moeller opened the ceremony by welcoming students, faculty, staff, friends and families to the Ocean Center. 

President P. Barry Butler noted that 115 years ago today, in 1903, the Wright Brothers flew a powered aircraft to usher in the age of flight. Invoking the importance of teamwork, Butler said that because of this achievement, the Wrights’ mechanic, Charlie Taylor, became the first aeronautical engineer and the Wrights’ sister, Katharine, was the pioneer of aviation business. 

Butler also spoke of NASA celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program, and that when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, he honored the Wright Brothers and their team’s legacy by carrying with him a piece of fabric from the wing of the Wright Flyer. 

Embry-Riddle Board of Trustees Member and General (retired) Ronald Keys gave the commencement address and spoke of needing preparedness, passion and perspective throughout life. He reminded the graduates that they now belonged to one of the most respected, connected and trusted communities in the world – Embry-Riddle alumni – and that their fellow graduates would be there for support, to help them prepare, to share their passion and to help them keep perspective. 

Senior Class President Dwayne Ellis Clark, who received a Bachelor of Science in Global Conflict Studies, concluded his remarks by telling his fellow graduates to remember that, “for some, the sky is the limit, but for us, it’s just the beginning.” 

The Fall 2018 graduation class included 432 students receiving bachelor’s degrees, 93 receiving master’s degrees and 15 receiving doctoral degrees.




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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world’s largest, oldest and most comprehensive institution specializing in aviation, aerospace, engineering and related degree programs. A fully accredited university, Embry-Riddle is also a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. A nonprofit, independent institution, Embry-Riddle offers more than 100 associate, baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. The university educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through its Worldwide Campus with more than 135 locations in the United States, Europe and Asia, and through online programs. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.