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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.