Today: Jan 20 , 2020

Embry-Riddle Celebrates 40 Years in Prescott

08 January 2018   Jason Kadah

Embry-Riddle celebrates 40 years in Prescott.

PRESCOTT, Ariz. – The year 2018 marks another milestone for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott Campus, celebrating 40 years in the Prescott community. A variety of on-campus and community events are in the process of being planned throughout the year.

Embry-Riddle’s Western campus opened for the 1978-1979 school year with 240 students and only two majors offered (Aeronautical Science and Aeronautics). Today, 2,650 students are enrolled in 26 majors. Although the university has its roots in aviation/aeronautics, other programs such as Forensic Biology, Wildlife Science, Safety Science, Space Physics and Simulation Science attract the best and brightest students from all 50 states and 38 countries. The campus is also home to the nation’s first College of Security and Intelligence, and will soon introduce a new School of Business.

“The vision of our first university president, Jack Hunt, of a robust Embry-Riddle Western campus with exceptional quality students, faculty, and staff has been fully realized,” said Chancellor Dr. Frank Ayers. “The amazing growth in student success, applied research, and high quality facilities, especially in the last decade is a testament to the effective partnership between the university Board of Trustees, the greater Prescott community, and the continued support of university leadership.”

The campus itself looked vastly different in 1978.

“In the early years, it was the little slump-stone buildings from Prescott College, and now we have state-of-the-art edifices and green grass,” said Sarah Thomas, Hazy Library Director.

There were even horse stables near Plant Operations and students were permitted—and encouraged— to bring their horses.

“We have paved parking lots now,” joked John Jenkins, Professor of Mathematics. “They were dirt when I first got here in 1978.”

Today, the old slump-block buildings that were originally residence halls have been upgraded and updated and house a variety of classrooms, labs, student projects, and offices. Additionally, a variety of new, modern facilities are visible around campus such as the Academic Complex (AC-1), the Hazy Library, the Aircraft Experimentation and Fabrication Laboratory (AxFAB), residence halls, the Activity Center and Eagle Gym, and the brand new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Education Center and Jim & Linda Lee Planetarium.

Embry-Riddle Prescott has graduated more than 10,000 students since opening its doors in 1978. The goal is to become Prescott’s—and Arizona’s—”STEM University.”

“Our partnership with the community is so very strong and we want to remind all that our new planetarium, our nationally ranked athletic teams, a variety of speaker series, and many other campus events are open to the public and we invite all to attend,” added Ayers. “The life of a university should be woven into the life of the community in which it resides, and so we welcome all to join us as we look forward to the next 40 amazing years here in Prescott.”

For a short then-and-now video from the perspective of two original Embry-Riddle employees, watch:

For a list of community events, go to:

Follow hashtag #PrescottProud on social media for photos, videos, and community events throughout 2018.

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. 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, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at