Embry-Riddle and City of Prescott dignitaries gathered alongside students, faculty, and staff to celebrate the official opening of the western campus’ newest residential hall, Thumb Butte Suites. The ceremonial ribbon cutting coincides with the annual OctoberWest celebration, made all the more special as the University commemorates its 40th anniversary in Arizona this year.
The week of homecoming events gave all in attendance the opportunity to reflect on the work and effort that went into not just the construction of a new residence hall—but on the success of the vision of a western campus laid out by Embry-Riddle’s first president, Jack R. Hunt.
“The partnership between Embry-Riddle, the City of Prescott, our construction partners, and the Board of Trustees who make all this happen for us, just couldn’t be any stronger,” said Prescott Campus Chancellor, Dr. Frank Ayers. “This building is a testament to the growth and the strength of this University and Arizona, and it doesn’t come easily. It comes by a lot of hard work, and a lot of people in this crowd who have helped make it happen.”
The construction adds 278 beds to campus, and provides stunning views of Prescott, along with impressive communal and recreational areas for its student residents.
“You hear stories of the facilities on campus from 40 years ago, and when you look at it today, and you look at what’s behind us here—it’s an impressive time for us here at this campus,” remarked University President P. Barry Butler, PhD. “When you have a building like this—with the type of common space, the views, and the ability for students to interact with one another—that’s what it’s all about. They’ll be talking about this at the 80th anniversary.”
Also on hand for the ceremony was Board of Trustee member David Robertson, who advocated for the residence hall’s construction, and was present on the Prescott campus at its beginning 40 years ago.
“This is growth. Growth driven by the number of students, which is why we’re still here and thriving,” said Robertson. “It’s growth driven by the programs that bring students here. So having a place for more students is a pretty neat thing, and I was a happy guy when I got to raise my finger and vote ‘yes’ for this building. I’m proud to be here.”
Mayor Greg Mengarelli and other Prescott City Council Members were in attendance, and have partnered with Embry-Riddle in a number of local pursuits, including bringing United Airlines service to the community, and joining efforts to co-sponsor this year’s Wings Out West Airshow event at Ernest A. Love Field.
“This building is really a showpiece for our city,” remarked Mengarelli. “To me it signifies excellence and growth at Embry-Riddle. On behalf of our City Council, we just want to say that we’re thrilled with your success—we’re thrilled to be a part of what you’re doing out here and it’s such a great asset to our city. Thank you for allowing us to play some small role in seeing all this happen. Congratulations on 40 years.”
Student Government Association President Zoe Crain then cut the ceremonial ribbon, officially ‘opening’ Thumb Butte Suites for visitors to tour and enjoy.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Ayers concluded, “The residence hall is open!”