Originally Published: May 13, 2016 6 a.m.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduated its largest class in campus history – 304 students, with another 37 graduates from the Embry-Riddle Worldwide Campus. Ceremonies took place on Saturday, May 7, at the Prescott Valley Event Center.
Graduates represented 10 international countries, and included 19 Prescott students receiving military commissions: 11 from Air Force ROTC and eight from Army ROTC.
“This year we are graduating the largest and highest-achieving class in our history. They are going on to significant careers in the areas of aviation, engineering, security, business and the applied sciences,” said Chancellor Frank Ayers.
The youngest to receive an undergraduate degree is age 21, the oldest is 53. The oldest receiving a graduate degree is 60, and the youngest 24. Students earning bachelor degrees totaled 292, with 92 graduating with honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude). Twelve students earned a master’s degree, with two graduating with distinction. Female graduates numbered 66, and males totaled 238.
Commencement speaker Gabriel L. Navarrete, chief security officer for Falcon Global Strategies, is an Embry-Riddle alumnus, graduating in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science; he was a member of the Golden Eagles Flight Team.
Tasked with creating a global corporate security program after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Navarrete now has more than 26 years of global security experience, including over a decade of protective security management. He is a former Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration and is a graduate of the DEA/FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.