From left: EMU Lancaster aviation graduates Noelle Yorgey, Ivy Kreiser, and Cienna Stover speak to a reporter from Fox 43 before their surprise helicopter flight to Commencement on Friday night. The three graduates are the first to earn degrees in leadership and organizational management with an concentration in aviation. (Courtesy photo)

EMU aviation graduates make surprise helicopter flight to graduation

Three Eastern Mennonite University graduates made a surprise flight to their Commencement ceremony on Friday evening. They arrived by helicopter – a symbol of their distinction as the first graduates of the Lancaster-based program – in an adjacent field to The Junction Center Performing Arts Hall in Manheim, Pa. The degree program was launched in 2018.

The event was covered by several area news outlets, including Fox 43 News.

The graduates earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Leadership and Organizational Management (LOM) with an Aviation Concentration. In addition, they have earned all the credentials to begin their professional flying career. Each student has earned their Private, Commercial, and Flight Instructor certificates, with Instrument and Multi-engine ratings.

“It’s a great time to be a pilot. Boeing’s workforce outlook for the commercial aviation sector alone is that 612,000 new pilots will be needed worldwide over the next 20 years,” said Director of Aviation John Sibole. “Ivy, Cienna, and Noelle have completed a demanding program in academics and flight training. This degree program has prepared them to become leaders in aviation. As industry demand grows, the sky’s the limit for them.”

Read more about their senior internships.

Cienna Stover (top left), Noelle Yorgey and Ivy Kreiser (right) at their internship sites in spring 2022

Students fly on Day 1 of their first year in EMU at Lancaster’s aviation program. In partnership with Aero-Tech Services, an FAA-approved Part 141 pilot school with a training facility at Lancaster Airport, students benefit from small class sizes and in-person instruction, an integrated and collaborative liberal arts approach that positions students for leadership roles in the industry, all academic classes in one day each week, three guaranteed flight instruction periods per week, and qualification to test for the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate at 1,000 hours of flight time.