Eagle Donor Q&A: Ron Fielding
Ron Fielding (’86, DB) is one of the rare Embry-Riddle students who had the privilege of being a student at both the Prescott and Daytona Beach campuses. He took the majority of his coursework at the Prescott Campus, but the aeronautical engineering program was not yet accredited there so he completed his last semester at the Daytona Beach Campus.
Perhaps I can’t donate millions, but I can certainly donate, and if we all donate, it will help the university prosper and maintain its position as a leader in higher education.
“They were both good but a little different,” says Fielding of the two programs. “Because I spent more time in Prescott and had an opportunity to meet more people, I felt more comfortable there.”
Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Fielding says his father would charter aircraft for ski trips and as a family they travelled extensively abroad, which helped spark his interest in aviation.
“Saskatoon is in the middle of a prairie and it’s a 500-mile drive to the mountains,” he says. “So we used to charter planes on the weekends, get a group of people together to share costs and fly out to go skiing.”
That early introduction to flight culminated in Fielding becoming an engineer at The Boeing Company in Seattle, Wash. He has worked in the bearings and fasteners group there for the past 28 years.
Fielding is also a longtime supporter of his alma mater. We spoke recently to him about his Embry-Riddle experience and the importance of philanthropy. His responses follow.
Why do you give to Embry-Riddle?
I give because I am grateful to Embry-Riddle for providing me with an excellent education, which I think has really enhanced my career at The Boeing Company.
What do you hope to achieve with your donations?
I want to help students going through college now, so that they, too, can prosper once they graduate.
What interests you most about Embry-Riddle?The university’s focus on aviation. The fact that it is the frontrunner in pilot training, aero-engineering or other aviation specialties, and that Embry-Riddle always seems to migrate to the top and be well-represented.
What are you most passionate about and why?
As an engineer, I am most passionate about technical excellence and doing the best job that I can.
What do you tell others about Embry-Riddle?
I share some of the experiences I’ve had, and tell them that it’s a top-notch school that is as good as it gets. The university is well respected within the aviation community. The professors that taught me were very knowledgeable and were able to pass on that knowledge and experience to their students. I wasn’t just a number.
What are your best memories of being a student at Embry-Riddle?
I have a lot of good memories. It was more than just a college – I met a lot of good friends and well-respected people in the aviation industry.
Why do you support the College of Engineering with your gifts?
Being an engineer myself, I would like to ensure that money is channeled into the engineering program. I hope the engineering students today will receive the benefits and training that I received.
What does philanthropy mean to you?
I would define philanthropy as giving to an interest or a passion that you may have. I usually associate it with extremely rich or successful people — like the Bill Gates of the world — but I think we can all do our part. Perhaps I can’t donate millions, but I can certainly donate, and if we all donate, it will help the university prosper and maintain its position as a leader in higher education.
What other organizations or causes do you support?
I also support veterans and wounded warrior organizations.
What motivates you to continue giving to Embry-Riddle on an annual basis?
I give to support the college. I am very grateful for the first-class training that I received. I can certainly see how it has benefitted me and my career. I give back to express my gratitude.
What would you say to encourage others to give to Embry-Riddle?
I would tell my fellow alumni to remember where they achieved their education and how it has played a part in their careers. In my case, I am grateful for the education that I received and it certainly is helping me to succeed. In order to continue this cycle of success, I think we should all be sharing and providing some support to the upcoming students who will be entering the workforce.