Commander of First-Ever All-Civilian Space Mission to Address Grads at Embry-Riddle Commencement

Embry-Riddle alumnus Jared Isaacman
Embry-Riddle alumnus Jared Isaacman (’11), who led the all-civilian Inspiration4 space mission and, next, will serve as commander of the Polaris Dawn mission, will deliver the keynote address at the Worldwide Campus commencement ceremony, May 14, in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo: John Kraus)

Nearly 2,000 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students will earn degrees at the spring 2022 commencement ceremonies for the Daytona Beach, Florida; Prescott, Arizona; and Worldwide campuses this May. Members of the media are welcome with RSVP, and live streams of each event will be available for those who cannot make it in person.

Worldwide Campus

The Worldwide Campus will welcome alumnus Jared Isaacman (’11) — who recently led the first all-civilian space mission and is currently preparing to serve as commander of the Polaris Dawn mission — to serve as the keynote speaker at this year’s commencement ceremony, to be hosted Saturday, May 14, at the ICI Center on Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.

In addition to previously leading the Inspiration4 mission, which raised more than $240 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Isaacman is also CEO of Shift4 and founder of Draken International. The Polaris Dawn mission will similarly work to advance scientific research to improve human health on Earth, and it has partnered with Embry-Riddle to develop a multi-camera system to capture the first commercial spacewalk in human history. Isaacman visited Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus last month to tour campus and talk with students.

A total of 471 students will earn diplomas at the Worldwide Campus commencement ceremony, 252 of whom are graduate students and 219 are undergraduates.

“Having an alumnus of such esteem as Mr. Isaacman speak at commencement will be a real privilege for this year’s graduating class,” said Dr. John R. Watret, campus chancellor. “Beyond being an Eagle, Isaacman has broken corporate boundaries, made commercial space history and recently expanded his relationship with Embry-Riddle to offer current students a hands-on role in the Polaris Program. He is living proof that there are limitless opportunities out there for those who dream big.”

The Worldwide Campus ceremony will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14. The Master’s Hooding will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, May 13. More information and links to stream the event live are available online

Daytona Beach Campus

Honorable Charles F. Bolden Jr
The Honorable Charles F. Bolden Jr, former NASA administrator, astronaut and U.S. Marine Corps Major General, will speak at the Daytona Beach Campus commencement ceremony. (Photo: Charles Bolden)

The Honorable Charles F. Bolden Jr, former NASA administrator and U.S. Marine Corps Major General, will serve as the keynote speaker at the Daytona Beach Campus undergraduate commencement ceremony. During his career as an astronaut, Bolden flew on four space shuttle missions, logging over 680 hours in space. He piloted Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986 and Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990 – the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. He also served as commander on Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1992, and Space Shuttle Discovery in 1994.

Dr. Kevin Adkins, associate professor of Aeronautical Science and director of Embry-Riddle’s Unmanned Vehicle and Atmospheric Investigation Lab, will deliver the keynote address at the graduate hooding ceremony.

A total of 1,026 students will walk the stage in the Daytona Beach Campus commencement, 876 of whom will earn undergraduate degrees, 140 of whom will earn master’s degrees and 10 of whom will earn doctoral degrees. Twenty-nine ROTC cadets from Embry-Riddle will also commission into the U.S. Army at the event; 36 will commission into the Air Force; 14 into the Navy; nine into the Marines; and one into the U.S. Space Force. 

One especially notable graduate is Angel Thomas, an Aeronautics major who has transcended extraordinary circumstances in her personal life to become a role model for young girls. As an infant, Thomas was abandoned by her birth mother. Today, she is set to earn her diploma as president of her graduating class.

“You have to stay positive and learn to love yourself no matter what your situation,” she said. “Because it’s not where you’re coming from, it’s where you’re going to.”

Read more about Angel Thomas.

The undergraduate commencement ceremony, for bachelor and associate degree-earning graduates, will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 9, at the Ocean Center, in Daytona Beach, Florida. The graduate ceremony, for master’s and Ph.D. students, will be held at 4 p.m. in the same location.

More information about the events and speakers is available online. A livestream of both ceremonies will also be available.

Prescott Campus

Ryan M. Hartman
Ryan M. Hartman, president and CEO of World View, will deliver the keynote address at the Prescott Campus ceremony. (Photo: Ryan Hartman))

Ryan M. Hartman, president and CEO of World View, a stratospheric exploration and space tourism company, will deliver the keynote address at the Prescott Campus commencement. Prior to his time at World View, Hartman held leadership positions at Insitu and Raytheon, and he is a veteran of both the U.S. Air Force and Navy.

A total of 465 students will walk the stage at the Prescott Campus commencement ceremony. That number includes 21 Worldwide Campus grads, nine of whom will earn their master’s degrees, and four master’s degree students from Prescott. Twenty-nine ROTC cadets will also commission as officers into the U.S. Air Force, and 11 cadets will commission into the U.S. Army.

Winner of this year’s Chancellor Award, Global Security and Intelligence Studies major Danielle Jamieson will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and minors in both Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, and Business Administration. She is a scholar-athlete on the Embry-Riddle Women’s Softball Team, a Senior Campus Ambassador, has served on many boards and led a community-outreach initiative that raised over 1,000 items for Stepping Stones Agencies’ emergency shelter. After graduation, Jamieson will start her career as a threat detection and response analyst with Mitsubishi Financial Group in Tempe, Arizona.

“There’s no day more energizing, fulfilling or full of hope in higher education than commencement,” said Prescott Campus Chancellor Dr. Anette Karlsson. “This year’s graduating class has endured extraordinary circumstances and gone on to thrive in spite of them. I have no doubt that the future of aviation and aerospace is in capable hands.”

The Prescott Campus spring 2022 commencement ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Findlay Toyota Center, in Prescott Valley, Arizona. More information is online. If you cannot attend the event in person, a live stream will also be available

To RSVP to any Embry-Riddle commencement ceremony, contact Director of News and Media Relations Mike Cavaliere.

Posted In: Institutional News | Space