One of the large campuses of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is located on Willow Springs Road in Prescott, Arizona. This campus is one element in a three-part University system, which includes a large campus in Daytona Beach, Florida as well as an extended campus with teaching sites in 36 states and five European countries. The current total annual enrolment is approximately 22,000. Approximately 1700 of those students are attached to the Prescott campus.
Because of the focus of the university, it does have several items on its campus that are of historical significance, especially in the area of aeronautical history and the history of technology.
History of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Aviation is, of course, a relatively new science. Two young, adventurous aviators, John Paul Riddle and Talton Higbee Embry, put their heads together in 1925 to form the Embry-Riddle aviation company in Cincinnati. The small company merged with another entity in 1930, but its founders again used their conjoined names as they changed their focus in 1938. They decided to train pilots in Miami, Florida.
These were late Depression years, and the national economic situation was far from ideal. However, the timing for a school of aviation was perfect. European nations desperately needed pilots when war broke out in 1939, and, of course, the United States also needed to expand its training when they entered the war in 1941. During World War II, the allied nations trained more than 25,000 aviators at Embry-Riddle's facilities, and the US used the facilities extensively again during the Korean Conflict.
By 1966 Embry-Riddle consolidated its offerings, and, with local and corporate assistance, moved its operations from Miami to Daytona Beach, Florida. The school had begun as an aviation training center, but after its move to Daytona Beach, school officials received accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and gained university status two years later. Totally refurbished, ERAU was running nearly at capacity when Jack Hunt, the president, began to look for expansion possibilities.
He found a perfect opportunity in Prescott, Arizona. Prescott College, which had only been in existence for less than ten years, had run into financial difficulties, filed for bankruptcy and was forced to vacate its campus late in 1974. Hunt discovered that the abandoned 510-acre campus was located within a pleasant, medium sized town, and it was only two miles from a functioning airport. The situation was ideal for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
There was only one problem; the City of Prescott, still smarting after one academic disappointment, was not eager to accept another post-secondary institution. However, several influential people, including aviator and then-Senator Barry Goldwater, a member of the Embry-Riddle Board of Trustees, helped to convince local residents that it would be ideal to locate an aeronautical center in the area. Goldwater also helped the school establish the ROTC program in Prescott.
In the fall of 1979, the new campus saw approximately 250 over-flow students who had decided that they wanted to begin their aviation and academic training immediately rather than waiting to get on-line in Daytona Beach. The Prescott Campus is currently in high gear and is planning a large expansion, with an intensive fund-raising campaign with which they hope to actualize an ambitious Master Plan.
The school is still committed to studies in aviation, but it has diversified somewhat over the years. ERAU added an emphasis on engineering fairly early on, and it now offers programs in areas like computer science, business administration, and Science Technology and Globalization.
The school does not have a museum as such, but one can find significant historical artifacts all over the campus.
VI: Tools and Equipment for Communication
Computer, Commodore PET 2001 Series, King Center
Computer motherboard, framed, part of exhibit on the evolution of the computer, in the King Center
Computer, Osborne Computer Corporation (very early PC), in King Center
Floppy, very early floppy made by Quiet Designs, A.E.S./Lanier flexible disk, King Center
Slide rule, Duplex slide rule, in special collections room, library
Tape, magnetic, Memorex MRFX GT tape, used in the 1960s for storing computer data, in King Center
Drafting tools, case: Eugene Dietzgen Co., Chicago, special collections room, library
Collection, various components of radio communication systems showing development over time, King Center
Oxygen meter, portable, in King Center
Tube, large collection of power vacuum tubes used in 1950s and 1960s in radio transmitters (12 small, two medium, one very large) King Center
VI. Distribution and Transportation
Actuator, for the Spruce Goose Plane, Library
Engine, aircraft, for the Spruce Goose, donated 1990s, 8 engines were made and only 6 were used in this plywood experimental plane, Robertson Aviation Safety Center
Plane, Lockheed F-104, Starfighter, #811, 13.6' high, 54'9" long, 21' span, maximum speed 1450 mph, dubbed the missile with a man in it, donated by NASA April 1990, on grounds
Collection, Willie Baca collection of materials associated with aviation, includes earplugs, goggles, and album of photos of historic aircraft, library display
Magazine, collections of 1930s volumes of QST "devoted entirely to Amateur Radio," 1930s (14) King Center
Drawing, framed design drawings of various aircraft: Supermarine Spitfire, Kyushu Shinden, Wolseley Viper, Focke Wulf, F16 Delta Dart, Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II, P-39 Airacobra, International Space Shuttle Orbiter, library
Model collection: The Kalusa Miniature Aircraft Collection, the "world's largest to-scale collection of miniature airplane models." The collection of "pre-flight, private, commercial, military and rocket aircraft models offers a history of aviation in miniature. The models represent aircraft and spacecraft from all parts of the world," (5,500 models) library
Photograph, donated by Vera Clark and Mr. And Mrs. Peninger, (5 frames with photos of early aircraft) ERAU
Photograph, Embry, T. H., cofounder ERAU, library
Photograph, King, Edward J., Jr., founder of King Radio Corporation, a leader in avionics radios and equipment from the 1950s to the 1980s, color photo approximately 18" x 24", King Center
Photograph, Hieronymus, Rod, small framed 8 x 10 photos taken by Rod Hieronymus, Air Traffic Control Specialist and Safety Officer, O'Hare, ERAU 1981 graduate, b&w (7) color (5), Library
Photograph, Riddle, John Paul, cofounder ERAU, library
Print, Leach Heritage of the Air Series, authentic full color depictions of air history, donated by Roy Blockinger, 1998 (8, 8" x10") library
Print, General William Spruance Collection of framed, signed, numbered prints of military aircraft history, each about 18" x 24", various artists: (16), King Center
Print, Peeples, Robert Jr., framed numbered prints 8" x10", 1982 (2) library
Print, Wartens, Ray, framed, numbered and signed print, Grand Canyon, 1985, approximately 2' x 3', library
Sculpture, "I have slipped the surly bonds of earth.... in memory of T. Robert Knuth, 1961-87," on grounds
Sculpture, 1981 bronze of Bucky O'Neil (numbered casting) copy of Solon Borglum original, 1907
Sculpture, Dobberteen, John L., Eagle, a study in metal depicting Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as "The Worlds Leader in Aviation Education," presented by artist, Captain John L. Dobberteen, 1981
Sculpture, Icarus, Bronze, 1991, in memory of Jacob Max Levine, "Fly on, fly on," approximately 4' tall on concrete base
Badge, NASA badges, framed display of NASA badges (3 frames) library
Badge and photo, framed display of STSW-5 Crew, photos, badge, library
Badge, pilot's bars, TWA model plane and hat, Douglas Alan Eshleman, 1961-96, ERAU graduate 1983, library
Personal Gear, Indian
Baskets and fiber weavings, unattributed (15+), some may have been found on ERAU site, Spruance House
Armaments T&E, Indian
Projectile points, Native American, several, unattributed, some may have been found on ERAU site, Spruance House
Food Service T&E, Indian
Pot, one almost complete polychrome, unattributed, may have been found on ERAU site, Spruance House
Textile T&E, Indian
Spindle, several, unattributed, in Spruance House
Multiple Use T&E, Indian
Axe head, unattributed, may have been found on ERAU site, Spruance House
Figurines and effigies, Native American, several, unattributed, Spruance House
Artifacts, Remnants, Indian
Potsherds, some quite large, unattributed, several in the collection, in Spruance House