The John Paul Riddle Society

Cincinnati businessman T. Higbee Embry owned a plane but didn't know how to fly it. John Paul Riddle helped him earn his wings.

Riddle, born in 1901 in Pikeville, Kentucky, wanted to fly from an early age. He got an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis but was disappointed to learn the institution only wanted to train balloonists. Riddle became a cadet in the U.S. Army Air Service in 1921, and later, a barnstormer.

He met Embry and formed a fast, strong friendship. In 1925, the men signed a contract to open an aircraft distributorship in their names. The company founded a flight school that foreshadowed the development of today's Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

In honor of his pioneering efforts, we have established the John Paul Riddle Gift Society. It recognizes donors whose personal lifetime contributions to the university total at least $500,000 in cash, securities, real estate, bequests, or trusts.

Members of the society keep our programs current and our facilities equipped with the latest technology, so we can keep our students equipped with the latest knowledge.

We invite you to join the John Paul Riddle Society and help our students earn their wings as leaders in the aeronautic fields.

John Paul Riddle

John Paul Riddle portrait

The Riddle Society recognizes donors whose personal lifetime contributions to the university total at least $500,000.

See members



Opening Doors and Changing Lives

With eight university degrees and 30 years spent living abroad, Donna Roberts has always had a love of learning. “Education opens doors and changes people’s lives in tangible ways,” she says.

Roberts is a dual alumna of Embry-Riddle (2010), as well as associate professor and chair of the social sciences and economics department and chair of undergraduate research at the Worldwide Campus in Germany. She says she wanted to help students who share her passion for education, especially those in the military.

That is why Roberts and her husband, Sergio Del Bianco, recently made a generous planned gift to Embry-Riddle, creating an endowed scholarship in their names. The couple, who met in Italy and have been together 22 years, are also funding a term scholarship to immediately help undergraduate or graduate students with financial need.

“Valuing education so much, I wanted to give back to something that is meaningful to me,” she says.