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Aviation Entrepreneur Steven Udvar-Hazy Speaks at Embry-Riddle Commencement and Dedicates New Library
Prescott, Ariz., May 3, 2008
Steven Udvar-Hazy, founder, chairman and CEO of International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC), was the commencement speaker at the spring graduation ceremony held Saturday, May 3, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott campus.
ILFC is the worldwide market leader in the leasing and remarketing of advanced technology commercial jet aircraft.
More than 260 students attended this year’s graduation ceremony, including 15 master’s candidates who were hooded in a traditional ceremony.
Immediately following the commencement ceremony, Steven Udvar-Hazy and his wife, Christine, joined graduates and their families, faculty, staff, and supporters for an official building dedication of the university’s new library. Named the Christine and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Library and Learning Center, the new library honors two individuals who have established a powerful and lasting legacy of leadership and support for the aviation industry, education, and Embry-Riddle.
In 2002, the Hazys made a historic gift to help construct two of the Prescott campus’s most distinctive landmarks: the Library and Learning Center and the Academic Complex Building.
As the largest gift ever made to the university at the time, the Hazy contribution launched a new era of robust investment and infrastructure growth at the Prescott campus that came to be known as the “Prescott Campus Renaissance.”
Both Hazys have strong ties to aviation and education. As well as his role as an aviation industry leader, Steven Udvar-Hazy is an avid pilot, holding FAA instrument, multiengine, and commercial pilot ratings. He also holds an FAA airline transport pilot license and has type ratings in Learjets, Citations, and Gulfstreams. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in international relations from UCLA in 1968. In 1980, he graduated from the Stanford Graduate Business School’s airline management course. He has been awarded several honorary doctorate degrees, including one from Embry-Riddle.
Christine Hazy has been a lifetime advocate for children’s health and education, helping secure well in excess of $100 million to support children’s health and education. As a leading member of many hospital, university, and foundation boards – including managing director of the SKETCH Foundation, a nonprofit organization she founded in 1991 with her husband – she has raised millions to benefit children in Southern California in the areas of health, education, and the arts.
The Hazys also donated $66 million to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., to establish a new annex to the Air and Space Museum on the Mall. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Dulles Center for the Smithsonian Institution opened in December 2003 and is among the most visited museums in the world.The Hazys have two sons and two daughters, all of whom began their flight training through summer programs at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott campus.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. 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 http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.